Rule changes reduce overtaking say F1 drivers

Fernando Alonso's victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix exposed potential problems with Formula One rule changes, which some drivers think could make the season more dull than exciting.

F1 introduced a ban on refueling in order to reducing racing costs and in a bid to encourage more overtaking, but Alonso's win seems to have reinforced belief the spectacle could be damaged as the sport goes into a highly anticipated championship fight.



Sebastian Vettel's engine failure allowed Ferrari driver Alonso to overtake in Bahrain, but seven-time champion Michael Schumacher believed there is very little drivers will be able to do to make up positions.



Drivers will tend to be more cautious, ensuring they have enough fuel to finish the race.



"Overtaking was basically impossible unless somebody made a mistake," Schumacher said after his first race back in F1 after three years. "That is the action we are going to have with this kind of environment of race strategy."



Schumacher finished sixth after starting seventh — Red Bull's Mark Webber dropped back with an engine worry after the start.



Lewis Hamilton, who finished third behind Ferrari pair Alonso and Felipe Massa, took advantage of Vettel's engine problem to pass, although he had earlier passed Nico Rosberg to get back to fourth.



"It is a different challenge," the McLaren driver said. "It definitely didn't make racing more exciting in terms of being able to overtake."



Massa thought GP races this season could well be predetermined by the Saturday qualifying sessions, when a car's pace and position on the grid could dictate its final result.



"Obviously the qualifying and the starts are maybe the two key points this year," Massa said. "After the first corner more or less the positions will be settled."



Apart from Vettel's failure, that was the case on Sunday. Although former champion Alain Prost said teams would eventually adapt and learn to take advantage, a sentiment Schumacher echoed.



"The drivers have never experimented with that before, so they are a bit confused, even the teams," Prost, a four-time champion, said. "They need to get used to it. It may take some races but it will be better."



Hamilton said the in-race ban on refueling made tire management more important.



Drivers must use one set of hard tires and one soft option during the race, which means one pit stop is mandatory. But even those made no difference on the desert track as all teams executed their stops with great precision.



"Bit by bit everybody is learning how to use the tires," Hamilton said. "I think that is probably the most interesting part, trying to understand the tires, trying to conserve your fuel load and know when to attack and not to attack. I think this is a real challenge."



Even Schumacher was learning to adapt his style to the new rules in his comeback from retirement.



"Everybody has to cope with (it) — I struggle a little bit with those," he said. "But after three years I guess it's natural you have to find your way into new bits and pieces."

Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003