• Editor's comment

An inauspicious start

ESPNF1 Staff
March 14, 2010
Michael Schumacher in parc ferme at the race's finish © Getty Images
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Given the pre-season hype and the general air of expectation, there was always a danger the Bahrain Grand Prix would turn into a damp squib. But few were suspecting it would be as damp as it was.

Judging by the feedback we received in the hours after the race, F1 fans, other than the Ferrari diehards, were less than impressed with what they saw. There was precious little overtaking or even memorable incidents, a situation widely blamed on rule changes in general and the ban on refuelling in particular, which meant drivers were forced to conserve fuel and tyres at the cost of risk-taking.

When the drivers themselves are doing more than the usual backside-covering moaning post-race, then the authorities have to listen. Jenson Button, who tailed in right behind Michael Schumacher said: "You could follow cars then, you could slide up the inside, you could race. It's very different now" and team-mate Lewis Hamilton agreed the new regulations "didn't make the racing more exciting in terms of overtaking". Schumacher, who has seen a plethora of rule changes in his long career, went a step further and said overtaking is "basically impossible" under this year's regulations.

It is early days and we have had only one race on one of the less exciting circuits on the calendar. But the signs are worrying, and if the Australian Grand Prix turns into another procession then the omens for a season which began with such an air of excitement will not be good.