• Bahrain Grand Prix

'There is no panic, no crisis' - Ecclestone

ESPNF1 Staff
March 16, 2010 « Renault confident of points in every race | »
Bernie Ecclestone signs an autograph in Bahrain ... but he was much less popular in the aftermath of the race © Sutton Images

A meeting of the F1 teams' association FOTA later this week is expected to discuss the fallout from what is widely considered a boring start to the 2010 season in Bahrain.

While many inside the sport, as well as fans, have called for change, Bernie Ecclestone wants to wait three more races before deciding whether to make any changes. "There is no panic, no crisis for F1," he is quoted as saying by the Times, explaining he had already met with some of the teams. "I tried to explain to them what our business is about - racing and entertaining the public, not about playing with computers and going fast over one lap.

"I won't listen to them complaining that you cannot change the cars. It can be done, but you cannot have the teams in any shape or form having an input to the sporting or technical regulations, because their job is about winning for themselves.

"The problem is that you cannot really have teams in any shape or form having a part in the sporting or technical regulations. You cannot have the inmates writing the regulations. An outside body should draw up regulations to reduce downforce, which currently stops the cars getting close behind each other and is preventing overtaking and then give the teams two years to implement them.

"I'm not happy, far from it," said Ecclestone. "It was the kind of race we have had in the past because of the way the cars are designed. The teams knew this would happen when re-fuelling stops were banned, but they created the regulations.

He proposes that independent engineers write the rules in future, but 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve is urging caution rather than knee-jerk panic.

"The rules are fine," Villeneuve said. "One race doesn't mean anything. The worst thing would be for sudden changes before everybody is sure what they want."

Lotus technical boss Mike Gascoyne, and former GP winner Gerhard Berger, agree. "What we don't need right now is a knee-jerk reaction. Whatever happens, we must be sure that any changes improve the show," said Gascoyne, while Berger added: "It was boring but it was the first race and it's too early to make a verdict. I think it will work out."

Sir Frank Williams told France's Auto Hebdo that not only the rules and the cars are to blame. "There is no magic formula one, but a change that would help would be to have longer straights with bigger run-off zones."