F1 Winter Break
Alonso wins, show is criticised, but there is an answer
Alonso wins, show is criticised, but there is an answer
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Mar 2010   |  5:01 pm GMT  |  383 comments

Fernando Alonso won the first Grand Prix of the season at Bahrain today, leading a Ferrari one two ahead of Felipe Massa with Lewis Hamilton third for McLaren. Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel led for most of the race, but ended up fourth after an exhaust problem on his Red Bull.

After the race Alonso said that the races this year are likely to be dull because the result will always be decided by qualifying and the first lap.

And as the front runners are always likely to choose the soft tyre for qualifying and then make an early stop to the hard, there is a risk that all the races will follow the same pattern as today and become very dull.

The reaction of many fans today has been disappointment that this season which promised so much with the most competitive field for a generation, was largely processional due to the limitations of the new rules banning refueling.

This is something that Formula 1 was well aware of when it made the rule changes. The risks of processional races were discussed at length over the winter and the idea of a compulsory second pit stop was considered at length before being voted against.

Tonight many team principals are talking about it again and FOTA is looking at it, but the problem will be that it requires 100% approval to be voted in for this season. It also makes the sport look a little silly, if it makes changes so soon because it miscalculated its own rule changes.

Would it get 100% agreement? Possibly, but there is always the risk that one of the smaller teams might hold out, wanting some concessions from the others in another area. And some of the teams on the fringes of the top ten might vote against because they might feel that having the option of starting on the harder tyre might give them a competitive advantage.

Take Adrian Sutil, for example. If he had not tagged Robert Kubica at the start of the race today, he would have finished 5th for Force India. From 10th place on the grid that might not have been so easy with two compulsory pits stops.

With the system as it is there is always a chance for teams who qualify around P9-P13 to get ahead of the established front runners, so they might not want to change the system.

My proposal would be more simple than that and would not require unanimous agreement. It is for Bridgestone to bring tyres which are closer together in performance, rather than two steps apart as at present. This was done last season and it improved things, but now they have gone back to bringing super soft and medium to the first race. Because the soft is so much faster, around 6/10ths and degrades more quickly, it will always be the qualifying tyre, which then leads to an early first pit stop for the medium, which is the better race tyre.

With tyres that are closer together, the performance difference is less and so are the wear rates and it is more attractive to try a different tactic. I’ve asked quite a few engineers tonight and they agree that it would be a step in the right direction without disadvantaging anyone.

“It would be bad if we don’t react, ” said Mercedes CEO Nick Fry. “We need to look at what we can do on the technical side and the sporting side. The most important people to consider are the fans and the customers who pay to come .”

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my opinion is to remove the requirement to use both tyre compounds durin the race.

let the teams choose wats the best for them.


what should happen is FIA should supply all the teams with basic front and rear wings. teams should not be allowed to produce winglets of any kind just simple yet powerfull and effective race cars like the Turbo era cars of 1988 .

the Bahrain F1 Gp was a total disaster and SHOULD not be allowed to repeat itself in Asutralia or even M Shumackers return cannot save F1


Sorry Muzzy, I also think this is the worst thing that F1 can do, I love this sport because it is not about just drivers, but about the combination of Driver, Designers, Engineers and Strategic decisions during the race.

All ideas are welcome, in this case I think we are suffering from too much structure and rules around a formula that has been built on innovation and the rewards that this can bring.


@ Muzzy The FIA should most definitely not supply the teams with standard wings. The very last thing any self respecting F1 fan wants is a spec formula. Get a grip you've lost it, obviously it was the race that did it to you but please give your head a shake.

I ranted last year about allowing Bridgestone to make smaller front tires instead of larger rears, when the best thing F1 can do for itself is increase the importance of mechanical grip while lessening areo.

Bridgestone could possibly help out by making the tires less durable incresing the likely-hood of stops however safety is a concern


markus0027 ,

mate its only a suggestion , it does not mean all the cars are the same all it means is every team will have a basic front and rear wing ( this will reduce aero downforce)

then you would make the tyres much wider,

maybe even go back to steel rotors in place of carbon brakes to lengthen the stopping distance this will encourage late brakers and produce passing !

your comment that bridgestone should make less durable tyres will never happen either as bridgestone will never allow its name to be associated with tyres that dont last !


I totally agree. If the two compounds rule goes away, it fixes everything. It becomes about setup and driving.

The ban on refueling was a good first step. Now let's go all the way.


I agree as well. The less rules the better.

What is wrong with giving the teams the freedom to qualify in any configuration they see fit; start the race on any tire, regardless of what tire was used for qualifying; and pit as many times as they wish, or not at all, and use the tires of their choice?

Wouldn't this freedom create a greater variety of strategies thus mixing up the field as said strategies individually unfold over the course of the race?


Definitely agree with you.

I wish they'd stop making everything so artificial by making everybody do this, everybody has to do that, agreements not to develop KERS, etc. etc. Variety is the spice of F1!

Jim Mangiaforte

How about just one compound. That's it no other choice


That would be even worse, it would be more like yesterdays race without a pitstop. YAWN!!


Yes. One compound, with the compound designed to be marginal - so that teams normally need to change tires twice.

None of this, forcing drivers to take a certain number of stops; just get Bridgestone to deliver tires that won't last as long.

Plus get rid of the bogus first ten qualifiers must use same tires for the race. Either have all cars required to start on the qualifying tires, or none of them.

george cowley ci5



I agree; the race was more like Snore-mula 1 - I literally fell asleep around lap 30


Lets face it the biggest problem is the lack of overtaking. We need to bring back KERS and make it compulsory.

1. It specifically tackles the aero turbulance issue.

2. It also brings 'green' technology into F1.

3. It also helps the teams introduce this into road cars, look at Ferrari with their new KERS road car which will be launched in 3 years.

4. After a year or two, the KERS needs to be frozen like the engines are.

5. If everyone has KERS it won't balance itself out which was a criticism of KERS, this is because some drivers will have saved more KERS, use it at different points, etc...

James please talk about this in your Financial Times column. We need support for the KERS from the fans, media, and teams for the issue to be given priority.


1 - Chop the wings off.

2 - Fire Hermann Tilke.



1. No it doesn't. Extra power has nothing to do with aero.

2. No it doesn't. Battery manufacture and disposal, come on.

3. LOL, Toyota has had electric motors and regen for ages on some models.

4. Absolutely not, if I want a spec series I'll watch something else.

5. No, it's the same as the car vs driver argument. The best system will allow any driver to exploit its benefits.

The only thing I agree with you on is James talking about it!! A view of what the engineers want compared to what they get in 2013 would be interesting.


Bringing back KERS is like bringing back the Black Plague. Remember what an expensive nightmare it was for anyone.

Team managers would rather go to the dentist rather than think of KERS


Could you explain the gain of KERS? One will be trying to overtake another one - to defend, both will be using KERS at the same time - any advantages? Probably the same situation as we have today.

Two, three pitstops won't solve the problem, more rules regarding tyres - same thing. All F1 needs - less difusors, less knee activated feeds for rear wings and so on - just mechanical grip.


Completely agree Alex - need to reduce the areo (which is coming in 2011... although I am sure they will find new ways of getting just as much downforce without a punctured defuser) and raise the need for mechanical grip.

I think the top ten tyre rule is daft along with enforced pit stops is daft and having to use X amount of tyre combinations each race!!

You need to simply bring tires that wont last more than say 15-20laps, then it will be up to the drivers and teams to know when to push or not, how many pit stops they will need etc... the tyre technology is so advanced and has been the deciding factor in many ways in formula 1 for the last 15 years or so.


I agree with all your points about KERS except the last one. Teams will work out the optimum parts of the circuit to use it, maximising lap times and nullifying the desired effect of a performance differential.

I'm sure its easily resolved, ban wings and bring back steel disk brakes allowing slipstreaming around corners and increasing braking distances making outbraking moves at least a little more likely. But then again, a wing is such a lovely place to put a large logo, and you run the risk of motorsport's premier category actually being slower than GP2.


Bring back KERS but do not put a limit on the power it can bring, yes it will increase the cost but it will bring back innovation and development to a sport that desperately needs more freedom...

Thing is about all this is that just possibly, even with all the problems it might bring, limiting the teams budget and removing technical restrictions might be the way to go....


A version of it will be back in 2013 as a basis for the new engine formula


2013? They'll have to act quicker than that.

Totally agree with Mani - the problem is not the lack of pitstops but the lack of overtaking.


Agree, very dull race. It is a car racing without overtaking. So something is very wrong here. Getting to understand Kimi Raikkonen.


I can't remember the last time I fell asleep watching F1 GP, but last night, I nodded off several times! Woke up to see if anything exciting happened, then dozed off, when I woke up again, the cars were still circulating without much incident apart from Vettel's car losing power and the procession continued.

Just not the same without Kimi.. and to those who harp on about him being boring, unemotional and unmotivated, honestly, Kimi will always be more exciting than this season's F1 will ever be in his own "dull" and ineloquent ways!


It might be more than a coinsidence that when Kimi leaves the races are less exciting. I'm sure even if Kimi was driving he would have fallen asleep at somepoint.


This race indeed was a huge disappointment in terms of excitement.

I think the new rules simply require too much multitasking from the drivers: they're concentrating on not wearing the tires out too soon, keeping fuel levels in check, fiddling with the front wing flap and making sure the car doesn't overheat (Massa couldn't attack because that would overheat his car? I mean, really?!).

That's not what we need: we need drivers to be on the absolute limit 100% of the time. They should be focussing on overtaking and racing!

Bluntly said: we need the balls in the cars and the brains on the pit wall. Let the Brawns and Neweys of this world figure out the strategies and have the racers be pure racers.

The best thing would be to allow refuelling overnight; it's not like the cars couldn't handle less fuel and it would prevent the destruction of the greatest grid since the nineties. I can see how teams on the cusp of the top 10 (single lap speaking) would be disadvantaged, but nobody fares well if the whole sport gets wrecked.

The potential excitement is now in maths, not in pure racing. It's a true shame.


I agree too. When Ferrari came on the radio to Alonso saying "dont get too close to Vettel you'll overheat the engine", I basically lost all interest. No racing, too many constraints and issues taking away from it.

The inability of a car to slipstream the car ahead is the only real problem i see right now. Everything else is immaterial as far as i am concerned.

Seriously, im just a casual fan in that I dont know all the technical stuff, but these teams fit all manners of aerodynamic bits on all over the car. Surely it can be integrated into the rules to enforce the air a car leaves behind them does not adversely effect a chasing car?

No refueling, 2 forced pitstops. These are all just placebos to the real problem in F1.


No way the drivers need to be doing more not less!!


I totally agree, Rasheed, well said!



Other simple solution is to abolish rule that forces drivers to start the race with tyres from qualifications. We heard today many times in team radios: "save tyres! save tyres!". No one is going to ovretake with present rules.


What a dull race ?! I'm really shocked, not only overtaking isn't any easier. Moreover, drivers are looking after their tyres, their fuel consumption, their brakes with all that extraweight, etc... So they are going even to take less risks trying to overtake.

We can be sure of one thing, after the first couple of laps, the first part of the race is garanteed to be dull.

Afterwards, there's a big chance the race will keep on being dull unless someone manages to kill his tyres or with how difficult it is to overtake you can take it very easy on the twisty sections and go for it right before the straits and nobody's gonna overtake you.

At least Formula 1 races might help people having troubles to sleep !


You forgot to mention running out of petrol too, now that would be exciting!!



Seems like an easy fix to me too. Just bring soft and super soft and two pit stops will be the norm.


Few things about a big disappointed start of the season:

1:Big time difference between cars,last season qualy were great,3/10 of second meant you were 16th or advanced to q3.

2:Q3 is boring,just one lap per driver,looks like the end of the 80's,everyone sitting in the garage until the last minute,and we do not have Senna now.

3:during the refuel seasons true is that the strategy was too important but at least you knew that drivers drove flat out whole race,and now the just nurse the tyres...

And finally, very but VERY few tracks are good for overtaking,situation could not be worst for us,the fans.


James, forgive my lack of knowledge in having to asking this question. But does FOTA have any say in the rules that the FIA lays down for Formula 1 other then voting on them?

I know that any new ideas would need 100% of votes from the teams to be implemented this season. But to make the sport more entertaining and closer in racing, do they work hand in hand and offer insight to what should done/changed/added to the rules or are they just told about them when its all been decided?

Regarding the race, I agree with most people that it seems that anyone who sets the best qualifying and 1st lap will stand a chance to win the race. Maybe things will be different once we get into the European races with the different climates, Im going to try and remain objective for now, until we have a clearer picture.


Well yes they do, although they don't have ultimate power to vote things through, they are a union of all the teams so can get things agreed and team agreement is necessary to make changes


I think FIA messed up big time when going against the recommendations of Overtaking WG and making the DD diffuser legal... I remember all the teams (involved in OWG) were screaming about lack of overtaking as a consequence and the results are apparent now when everyone has maximized the developement..

ironically Mr Fry cared less last year and now seems to be very vocal when his team is at the back of the grid!!!


Mandatory pitstops have no place in F1. It's bad enough that there's the nonsense of having to use both compounds. Just let people use the tire that suits them best.

This is F1 not NASCAR.


well said


Few things about a big disappointed start of the season:
1:Big time difference between cars,last season qualy were great,3/10 of second meant you were 16th or advanced to q3.
2:Q3 is boring,just one lap per driver,looks like the end of the 80's,everyone sitting in the garage until the last minute,and we do not have Senna now.
3:during the refuel seasons true is that the strategy was too important but at least you knew that drivers drove flat out whole race,and now the just nurse the tyres...
And finally, very but VERY few tracks are good for overtaking,situation could not be worst for us,the fans.


It's very sad that this has become the big talking point after such excitement in the build up to the season.

But the very fact you can confidently say that Sutil would be fifth after 49 laps if he hadn't spun on lap 1 says it all.

I've never been as excited before the start of a season as I was this year, but I was bored by lap 20 (and Martin Brundle had to practically plead for people to stick with it).

At lap 24 my 80 year old mother declared "this isn't as exciting as it used to be" (but happy Mother's Day all the same mum!).

In fact, this one race has made my mind up - for the first time ever I've decided not to work my weekends around the Grand Prix calendar. If the sun is shining, I'll go out and enjoy it and watch the highlights later on iPlayer.

Very disappointed.... so much so I don't have the patience to give it a few races to see how it pans out. Wake me up when it becomes interesting again.


I feel the same, I've switched my shifts for the next three races and now I wish I hadn't gone to the trouble! But Bahrain is a duller than average track so maybe the show will improve. Fingers crossed some of the races will have showers, that always improves things!


i agree with all the comments about overtaking and heavy cars, however i also found what made it worse was the lack of 'atmosphere' at the Bahrain track! It just loooked like a empty track, hardley any fans, not great for a season opening track! We need 'traditional' track to open with, James why was Austalia moved to put Bahrain first up? Its also disapointed to finish on another 'new' track rather than Brazil which is full of fans and great atmosphere. I guess it just comes don to who can offer Bernie the most money?!


Bahrain needs something to distinguish itself now that Abu Dhabi has come in so strongly


My 11 year old son and I got up at 01:00am in the morning here in NZ to watch the GP. My son is a F1 fanatic, and was so excited. He was waiting for the tyres to degrade, or something to happen. As we know, it didn't. We have the best grid in a generation, the fans are waiting, but the show is nowhere. I'm not saying going Nascar wherein homogeneity rules, or with copious safety cars to artificially bunch the cars again.

The 1 second gap / dirty air, as has always been the case, appeared to be the problem. Deem the double diffuser illegal and bring in KERS. I didn't mind the drivers having to watch their tyres and / or petrol consumption -- it was something I could relate to! Things like bringing in a second pit stop only paper over the fundamental cracks i.e. F1 cars can't overtake.


Why don't you watch the IRL races, (the street and road circuits, I mean, not the ovals) plenty of excitemant there.



Hi James, I'm a fervent reader of your blog and your non partisan style makes for an excellent read. Please do keep up the good work.

I rarely post as I'm not an expert, merely an avid fan but todays race.....dear God!

I simply don't understand how decision makers with significantly more knowledge than me can implement a set of rules which set us up for the processional bore that was todays race. These people are supposed to understand these things!

I was looking forward to the start of the season with an anticipation that bordered on fanatical. At least four teams with competitive cars, three brand new teams, four world champions on the grid and of course Micheal Schumachers return.

What did we get? A monumental snooze fest of numbing proportions.

I'm not informed enough to make suggestions as to what went wrong but my contention is "How did the powers that be not know that this was going to be the outcome?"

I'd really like to hear you view on this as todays events have left me slack jawed with amazement and hugely dissapointed.

I live in the US (though I'm a Brit) and I've been talking up F1 in the close season to my US friends who were unconvinced at best. I invited some of them around today to watch with me and I was a laughing stock. There's no way F1 is going to make it in the States with shows the like of which it put on today.

All the best to you and the other contributors.


Hey TravellerDog,

Anyone who invited anyone around to watch the GP would have been laughing at the person who invited everyone around. It was one of the dullest GPs in living memory.


Same. All looks too much like what IRL or Nascar would come up. Was a delight to see the earlier cars before the race today.


Don't forget the Mickey Mouse ciucuit also contributed to the boreing race!



Yeah, i don't know how it's all went so wrong

I also have been telling people to watch it this year, as it was going to one of the best years, how wrong i was

I feel as if F1 has been destroyed


Hi James

Nice idea, but i don't think it really is the solution. Martin Whitmarsh and Jensen Button both said that they could have run for 25 laps on the softer tyre, so much difference if the other tyre is closer to it.

The problem is also compounded by the need to conserve engines, as they have fewer this season.

Given the problems with overtaking, caused by circuit and aero design, we need the drivers to be agressive and full on for as much as possible. The changes are a disaster and this needs sorted - fast. Otherwise I'm afraid I and many other fans will be turning off. The recession may have caused alot of advertising space, but a fall in viewing figures could make it much worse.



Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion

I must be the only one who likes things like are right now. No refuelling. Pure racing and nothing more to be anxious. I mean. I like much more to see a driver making 2:02 a dozen of laps, one after one, that a dozen of silly overtakings that doesn't tell me a thing about how good or bad a driver/car is.

I've always thought that Formula 1 was far beyond popular entertainment. This isn't roman circus with tigers, cristians, centurions and blood in the arena.

But I know I'm on a class of my own, so I'll enjoy this short time paradise, and prepare myself for the bad times coming again.


I don't have a problem with overtaking being a lot of work - and I'm not someone who demands 'more overtaking' at every opportunity, but the situation that we've had in prior years, with the dirty air and the difficulty to overtake has been exacerbated hugely by the new tyre and refuelling rules, to the point where I think now, yes, we do actually need more overtaking.

Let's see what Melbourne serves up.


Pure racing? Exactly when did that happen, did I miss it? The so called pinnacle of motorsport is now in a terminal tailspin. The party is over.


Roger, you are obviously a purist. The trouble is that there just aren't enough of you. This race was unusually dull to behold, honest appraisal. Not exciting, not engaging... People will have better things to do when the sun's shining later in the year. I'm not going to waste my time. The concern is that there won't be the 100% will to do anything this season with the teams having invested in their current designs...F1 teams do not have a shining record of altruistically abandoning advantageous positions. F1 has been called dull by non-fans for years - but this is different, this is serious tedium for anyone other than the 1% real die-harders... Very worrying for the sport. Someone needs to let go of the reigns a little bit and for godsake end this infernal love affair with aero dynamics. I want to see plans to sort it this week, right now, so I and no doubt many others have a reason to tune in for Australia.

Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion

I'll try to give you some hope, maybe thinking that what is wrong now with this formula is the tilkodrome itself. I mean, these stop and go Tilke tracks, designed with one single idea to make overtakings easier, they do not suit to the ¿new? regulations. I'm pretty sure that medium/high downforce traditional tracks like Spa, Nurbugring, Barcelona, will be more challenging and give a far better show. 200 kgs of fuel will be harder to manage and won't forgive a single error from the driver, making overtakings a reality. But we need to give it a try.

Another thing in mind is that teams have been overcautious on this season opener, because they didn't know where the limit of the tyre is. You can bet your money that they will be far more aggressive and try to push the tyres harder, if they find that there are seconds to win. And that will lead to maybe two or even three pitstops.

On the other side, I find really disgusting the tyre rules and compounds choosen by Bridgestone. Get out of the two mandatory compounds rule too. It's silly and keeps the small teams with no escape.


yes you are.


If tire management is going to be the drivers major concern, instead of pushing to maybe make a pass....then boring parades....until Vettel's exhaust header broke, is what is in store, for what could have been one of the most exciting season in the history of F1.



Totally agree - I think that the excitement has totally been taken away. Even with Schumi back (big fan) - they need to get the battle and adrenalin back. For the drivers, teams and the paying fans!!!


Here here! For the first time i and my partner have bought tickets to Spa GP this year (i have wanted to go to a race for years) however after sundays bore-fest i'm really worried i've wasted my money this year and should of waited till next year?!


Well if any track could produce a good race, Spa has to be up there.


Very True! I'm still hopefull! I'm sure that the FIA will have ammended a few rules by then?!


Listening to Alonso a few weeks ago, I had the impression that he wasn't very enthusiastic about the ban on refuelling. I think he said something like the race loses interest on the strategic side.

Did you get the same impression?

Another question: was Alonso's move to pass Massa safe, or too risky (considering they are team mates)?

I give you another idea to improve F1: "reduce it to one lap." (just kidding) 🙂


You could make them grid up at the end of each lap and perform another standing start each lap. Guaranteed side by side action every two minutes. At Bahrain there are two places for grids so you could use both.

Teams could skip one start to replace busted wings/punctures. Any more than that and the car is out. With the thirty seconds waiting on the grid the quick cars might potentially overheat, causing more failures to watch.


Not a bad race, for a first one of the new format. A bit processional, but the new teams provided plenty of interest and there were some good scraps down the field - and even some overtaking!

Regarding future reforms, the restoration of fuel stops for next year, which is at least possible, isn't enough. What about a couple of sets of soft tyres for qualifying but only one set for the race? This would lower tyre costs and might tempt Bridgestone to stay, or new firms to come in and it would make interesting watching as the race played out, with some drivers/cars making their rubber last and others going for a big enough lead in the early stages to hold the rest off to the end.

Since we wouldn't need so many people to change tyres, the pit staff could be fewer, so lower costs again.

OK, shoot me down by all means, but let's hear some other suggestions.


Long time reader, only second time poster. I've watched every race since 2000, and that was without doubt the most pathetic excuse for a "race" I've ever seen. America 2005 even out rates it!!

Who's bright idea was it to take out re-fuelling? By taking a random element out of the equation, yet another component of the race weekend is standardised, therefore leaving less scope for differences between the cars and thus fewer overtaking maneuvers. Blind Freddy could see that a race track full of fat, lazy F1 cars carrying around a belly load of petrol all afternoon wasn't going to lead to exciting racing, which is exactly why re-fuelling was introduced in 1994 in order to spice up the action!! Talk about history repeating itself.

As Martin said during commentary for the German GP last year when this plan was unveiled, if you want to carry around a belly load of fuel all day and care for the tyres over a long stint, go sports car racing. F1 should be about pushing the boundaries constantly, not driving 7 seconds a lap slower than the pole time all race, resulting in a race time approximately 10 minutes slower than last years'!

James, I remember during the commentary for the 2005 US GP that even though there were only 6 cars on the track, both you and Martin said you remembered more boring races back in the 80's, because back then with all the fuel on board everyone just settled in for the afternoon, which is exactly what we are left with now!

Who makes these rule changes?


I guess its not the re-fueling ban but rather the dirty air coming out from the highly optimized DD solutions at the back of each car...

even when there was refueling, most of the overtaking was done in the pits which added a bit of excitement yes but pure racing no

i would like to see them scrap all the DDs and keep the rest of the rules as it is... we should see lot of overtaking on the track!!!


I read your article with interest, and I see the comments by the team managers. I do not believe they are interested in the watching public. If they were they would look at IRL and NASCAR which has better access to the drivers and teams, closer racing and bigger crowds at the circuit. We need to get rid of all the complex aerodynamic packages. Drop barge boards get rid of diffusers ban all the rest of these wings and winglets simplify the front wing. We all know aerodynamic make the car go faster on t's own that is well proven now. What we want to see is wheel to wheel racing not the most complex aerodynamic package going!


Absolutely right, Jon, I totally agree! Btw, did you watch the Brasil IRL race? (just finished) Now that was exciting!



I agree that changes need to be made. There is no way the season should continue this way. Passing is even less likely now that the drivers worry about ruining their tires and thus race for one position.

Making two mandatory pits will allow the teams to push more and be more aggressive. After all this IS NOT endurance racing. I feel the tire option is ok but it still would not change the teams strategy. They would still qualify on the softer tire, pit early and nurse the car home. Racing may only happen in the last few laps along with the first lap.


Something has to happen because today was dull as dishwater. There have been a couple of cracking seasons on the bounce and now we're here, with such a stunning line-up, it risks being disappointing.

Coulthard's suggestion on the forum to make the tyres much more marginal seems practical. Bridgestone have engineered fantastic tyres that can take the punishment but they're too good. I never would have expected the harder tyre to last 35 laps but it did - mainly because that was the only game in town today.

Forcing extra pit stops seems anti-competitive and at the end of the day won't, I think, actually change anything.

Cars should stop when they need to stop. With no refuelling, that going to be because their tyres have degraded beyond what's manageable (think Lewis in China in 07). That means the tyres have to be less good so even the best cars will destroy them in the end, more than once a race preferably.


Will never happen Bridgestone are way too conservative for that.


James I think money might make the difference this time.

Bridgestone are leaving the F1 but they might reconsider if there is an injection of cash in their favour.

F1 has a need of producing more exciting races and Bridgestone could suggest to produce more marginal tyres and stay for at least another couple of years in return of a fat cheque from Bernie !!!!

I know I am sceptical but I think it will be the final solution of both so called problems.

Bridgestone at the moment has the upper hand on Bernie, just for the moment !!


Why were pitstops in the 80s/90s much more variable in terms of their timing? Is it because of advanced computer modelled strategies nowdays?


well, you would expect that: it´s their reputation down the line. only way is tire competition.


Hi James, thanks for the reply. Is Bridgestone being too conservative not a big part of the problem then?

Formula One will quickly lose all of the good faith it's built up with three seasons which have seen good racing and championships decided on the last or penultimate race.

The tyres today made it way too easy for the drivers and still encouraged them to do nothing but protect themselves and their existing position.


I agree with Tim here, though James's suggestion is probably more realistic.

However in Bahrain, super softs went to lap 20, softs would probably have made the remaining 28 laps - lighter fuel etc, so I think it's questionable whether the compounds that Bridgestone brought to the circuit would have made a difference?

The specific problem that could be addressed in time for Australia is that the tyres used are too hardwearing. There's no reward for looking after your tyres better than the others (JB, sauber etc) because everybody can take their softest tyres to a point where a single run on the other compound is a very real possibility.

Without being too picky, there hasn't been much overtaking in the last few years but there was a lot of order changes, induced by refuelling strategy. Whilst not comparable with overtaking, working out how these strategies may shake out was an enjoyable part of the show (for me at least).

I don't like the mandatory 2 stop idea, but I do want to see some strategy coming back in. If the situation arises where some teams need to stop twice whilst others can make do with one stop then that could at least lead to some order changing within the field and therefore improve the show.

Could Bridgestone help the sport it's leaving by bringing softer tyres for the rest of the season? It's a conundrum, on one hand they won't want to appear like they can't build a tyre to last a race, on the other hand there won't be many people watching, on TV at least, by the end of the season if they don't.

Other solutions, reducing aero etc, just are not going to happen mid season.

I think Bridgestone are the key to saving this season. I just hope they're sporting nature over rules their understandable conservative business nature.


Why are we all moaning about overtaking in 2010 when in 2008 we were celebrating as all sorts of dubious politically motivated reasons were being used to strip Lewis of wins and podiums resulting from sublime overtaking moves? We the fans cheered this monster 2 years ago - we are getting what we deserve.


F1 destroyed at the stroke of a pen! We don't want to go back to the days of watching Senna and Prost battle races out. The last two seasons were brilliant, close racing and always wondering how one team would use strategy to outwit another. Sometimes team bosses decisions would seem absurd at the time, but brilliant by the end of the race.


I've supported the sport all my life (I'm 57) but a couple more races like todays will see me switching off on Sunday afternoon.

Dave Rylett


It's already becomming a third world sport, Dave, what with boreing tracks in new countries at the expence of most of the traditional proper race circuits that you and I grew up with!



How about go a step further and just bring the soft and super soft to ALL the races of the season, regardless of wear rates. That way at some tracks, both the tyres will be very marginal putting a premium on management.

I was not impressed when I heard Button say that it is easier without refuelling because you don't need to push as hard throughout the race.


I can't believe how much of a disappointment this race was. After all the build up, the return of Schumacher, the intra team battles of Alonso, Massa, Hamilton and Button, what do we get? Zzzzz. Something needs to be done ASAP. Bringing in tyres that are closer in performance could help, in a way it's glossing over the main problem which is that it's impossible to overtake in F1.

Hopefully FOTA and the FIA make some changes and quickly. I actually have confidence in this happening with Todt at the helm. Fingers crossed...


I cant agree more. The let down today as I watched was horrendous to say the least. Jean Todt please dont get caught up in the politics game and sort this before the whole world switches off. F1 has always been a complex laughing stock to those on the outside. In the interest of the long term future of the sport that I love with such passion, Bring in some emergency rule changes before its too late. As many posters have already stated we have the best mix of ingredients for years don't waste this chance.


Bringing closer tires would be better. So would eliminating the IDIOTIC requirement to start on the qualifying tires. Then at least you may see a variation in strategy with some starting on hards.


"With tyres that are closer together, the performance difference is less and so are the wear rates and it is more attractive to try a different tactic."

Correct me if I'm wrong but I got the feeling from listening to interviews after the race that both types of tyre were lasting very well.

Jenson Button made the comment that his option tyres would have been good to last to lap 25, and if he'd stayed out for longer would have counterbalanced the new tyre effect from the medium tyre users around him. Thus giving him an advantage when making his stop.

So if the tyres were only a step apart wouldnt that only make difference between tyre compounds negilable?


Don't forget that most of the drivers were saving fuel, that would have made it easyer on the tyres, between saving fuel and saving tyres and saving engines, I don't see the racing ever being exciting!



to add to your point, drivers need to save gearboxes too.

next time i'll hit the snooze button a couple of times!


So it will be like that? Once again the reality fails to live up to the hype.

We're in for a season long single file procession of heavy elephants with GP2 cars registering faster laps.. We're in for a season of watching who blisters their tires first. We're in for a season of waiting for mechanical failures to decide the outcome. Snooze fest nearly in slow motion with these heavy cars. I for one don't think tires will help at all. It's a qualifying show now more than ever.

I sure hope I'm wrong. But it doesn't appear that it will be the case.


Disappointed in the "race" as a spectacle.The only overtaking I saw was Kubica in the Renault and Heike in the Lotus.

If the Red Bull of Sebs had not been unwell then he would have won the race.

Congratulations to Alonso and Massa (particularly Massa for returning to F1).

As a life long F1 fan this season could be dull - I will still watch/follow but its the less fanatical fans that may be turned off.

Ironically Jenson and Hamilton gained places by their pitstop tactics (which is the same as the previous years where pit stop strategy won the day).

I only hope we dont see processional races all through the season.


I can't believe the hysterical overreaction and the misguided nature of the complaints from some people here and all over the internet, blaming it on the refuelling ban.

That race was no more processional than many other races last year, I thought the race had its moments it definitely wasn't the worst race ever. I personally can't wait to see them at a much more interesting track in Melbourne.

The lack of action was down to the same reasons as the last few years - the need to "conserve" engines, and the extreme over-reliance on aerodynamics by the cars.

Get rid of the draconian regulations and you will see action again.


well said!!!

FIA should have thought more when they made the DD diffuser legal last season..


I absolutely agree. The problem is that aero works in a way that a car cannot follow another car. Make it more simple. The cars do not need to go very fast as log as they can engage in a battle there will be fun.

I also think Melbourne will be better.


Albert Park in Melbourne is a fantastic setting for a grand prix. Close by the city centre with the skyscrapers in the background. A race in one of the world's greatest cities. A city which was once the richest in the world. An incredible city indeed and an incredible location.

However, the circuit hasn't the best for overtaking if you have been watching F1 over the years. With the street circuit nature of Albert Park there is more scope for a safety car, which may add some spice. But in terms of being easier to overtake than Bahrain, I suspect yes, like that the tight right hander where Vettel and Kubica collided last year. But it still will not be easy.


Well said!! My thoughts exactly.


Not even close to the race I was hoping for. For all the "exciting" changes that have been made in the last two years, its been progressively disheartening to watch the most expensive cars with the most talented drivers, circulate like scalextric slot cars - on one slot!

Twenty years of watching formula 1, the very first time I've considered seriously against spending 2 hours watching this crapola.


Yeah, you really loved the US GP in 05. Much more than this.


A once-off farce - my point is why would I want to watch the coming races this year when we're dished more of this. I had hoped that things could be turned around.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Hamilton did a superb job. He is without a doubt the class of the field at the moment and just keeps getting better each year.

I don't get the BBC here in Colombia. Does Martin Brundle still do hos "driver of the day" thing? Who was it today?


It was Vettel from memory (with Alonso getting a mention as well).


I would suggest the opposite, no compulsory stops at all.


I agree, get rid of the silly 2 tyre compound per race rule.


The greatest partnership in recent F1 history: Adrian Newey and Fernando Alonso.

Too bad for Vettel.

Zobra Wambleska

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Alonso has never driven a Newey designed car. Vettel is!


He was being sarcastic (About Neweys cars reliability). However James mentioned that it was a spark plug problem, so maybe it should be the Alonso/Renault partnership ....


THere was a lot of charring of the rear bodywork as well


Maybe the way I phrased it was a bit vague....

I mean Newey designs the cars for Alonso's rivals to drive, they break down, Alonso is gifted the wins. Perfect. It happened with Kimi and now FA will be gifted another wdc looks like.

If Alonso and Newey aren't married they should be.


They should probably go ahead and re-introduce refueling for 2011 early on, so no-one can complain about being upended while the car was already in its design phase.

Btw James, how do you figure Sutil would've gone ahead on the hard tyres? It's not like his pace was better than the MGPs at any point during the race.

I don't see how starting on hard can be a winning strategy, quite frankly, as it's clear that using the later gives you the better tyre for ~1/2 of the race, the softs add another 1/5 on the front, and your opponents fresh softs for the last quarter wont give him the advantage he needs to pass you, not by a long shot.

One stop, as early as possible, switching to primes - it's the only sensible strategy under the current rules.


Look at Liuzzi's progress from P12.


I think the hype is well deserved!

I can easily see them securing 5th in the Constructors championship as Williams don't look as competitive, Sauber have been a big letdown, and Renault, at the moment, only have 1 driver who can score points.

While neither Sutil or Liuzzi are as strong as Kubica, together, they can overhaul Renault to take 5th.


What is all that hype about Force India this season and Sutil especially James? Look at Kubica's progress from P23 to P11. Sutil's 13 seconds gap to the Pole at the finish line doesn't prove your estimations. And wait... it was Sutil AGAIN who caused an accident on the track?


Sorry James but what progress?

He was ninth after 2nd corner and finished the race on that position.

Sutil would be either 9th or 10th at the end without collision at the start...


Honestly speaking, this is merely a "Band-Aid" to a deeper problem. The question here is how much honest are the teams to provide "Real racing" and real spectacle rather than these "doctored" solutions. The root cause of the problem as Jacques Villeneuve correctly pointed out is way too reliance on Aerodynamics in Modern F1. Its time the aerodynamics gives away to mechanical grip.
Refueling in race and reliance on Aerodynamics were complementary of each other, since drivers role in that scenario was only put in consistent lap times and let the Pitwall outsmart other teams (and hopefully his team-mate)in Pitstops.

Past few years there has suddenly a great concern of all and sundry about lack of "On track racing" in F1 and processional races, but the solution as highlighted above is not in all these superficial band-aids.

PS - I am not at all Tilke Fan and love my Suzukas, SPAs and Monzas but its the aerodynamics and not Tilkedromes that have killed "on track racing".


Totally agree. I've been against FIA-spec aerodynamics but now is the time, especially as it'll slash budgets. Look at the Indycar race today.. plenty of overtaking on a street circuit, all thanks to simple aero.


Simple aero! That is it. You nailed it all here.


And the nature of the track! Yeah, it was good eh!



I'm with you guys on this one. Aero seems to play a big part in this, no point in trying to cook your tires if it requires a huge amount of effort to overtake someone. Double diffuser evolution and all the extra little trick aero development has put everything back to square one in terms of actual racing. Like Michael said the race in the IRL was great because the cars are designed to allow for overtaking. Sometimes people in F1 are too smart for their own good I think.

I think James suggestion to improve the racing makes the most sense for a quick fix solution.

Kevin McCaughey

As a fan of over 25 years I am absolutely dismayed at what has happened. This was as dull as it gets and it seems like they have come up with the perfect formula for uniform dull races all season. After what could have been this is such a let down.

They MUST do something about this. And it's not just the tyres, the cars need to be able to overtake each other, which they can't due to the rear wing situation.

How could the FIA and the teams have botched this so badly??

I am not even sure I want to bother watching next week - I've never felt that bored of F1 before 🙁


you will be bored next week as there is no race, although an omnibus of eastenders is looking like an entertaining sunday now.


Wouldnt only having 1 step between tyre compunds dumb things down further? Many of the drivers said how surprised they were that the both compounds offered good performance right the way through stints! If the compounds were closer surely they still pitonce but at half distance instead of earlier on in the race???

Maybe we should give it another couple of races before changing things as Bahrain isnt a high tyre wear circuit anyway, and things could be very different at other circuits where tyre strategy is more prolific?


I was never in favour of the refueling ban as I was affraid of races like this. There are no more speed differences as everybody has the same weight and when 1 guy in the top stops for new rubber, the rest of the field follows one lap later. 2 mandatory stops won't help. the only difference it would make would be that there are 2 bandwagon rushes to the pits in a race.
I never undestood what was wrong with refueling, it was great. If it was about the fuel consumption they could have easily kept refueling. They could have easily inforced a maximum amount of fuel a car would be allowed to use in a race.

Today's racing was just sad. 2006, 2007 and 2008 had many fantastic races. Why have people been messing with those rules?


Dude, you're making judgement of an entire season based on one race. You're comparing one race to 3 entire seasons. 06 had crap races, 07 had crap races, 08 had crap races. It happens.

Instead of overreacting like every other F1 fan in the world, what about waiting till the season's end to assess? No, fans want change now. They always do. Nothing's ever agreed upon by anyone.


On the tyres, James, great idea. Got to be worth a try for all our sakes.

Zami from Melbourne, Australia

I was looking forward to going to the Melbourne Grand Prix this season. But after watching the first race I have cancelled my plan. this is the first time I won't be in Albert Park in 7 years. I wonder if FIA thought about the fans at all before coming up with the most outrages rule changes I have seen since I started watching F1 at the age of 6, I'm 25 now. It is understandable that each team will save around £300,000 per year as a result of the refuelling ban. But when the TV ratings go down significantly, then half of the current field will be struggling to make it to the end of the season. If there is no race at all there neither is any spending or pollution. That will save hell of a lot of money for the sponsors at least. I have got only one word about the first race, “RUBBISH”.

My own race analysis (correct me if I’m wrong James): Vettel was in prime position from the beginning to win the season opener. Alonso took advantage of Massa’s cautiousness in the first corner. 1,2,3 decided, game over. Oh there’s the most exciting part of the grand prix, RedBull is still not reliable enough to win the world championship!!! So, Lewis Hamilton is 3rd and Vettel is 4th, now game over. Agreed on changing tyres and everything else has been analysed. Why should I go to the Grand Prix James? Just to see the faces of some famous people? I know F1 is an entertainment business. But I couldn’t find any entertainment in the season opener & looks like the racing pattern is set for the season if an immediate step isn’t taken. So why would any fan go to a live F1 race or even turn on ONE HD when you basically know the result after the first lap? Drivers weren’t even pushing hard enough to pass anybody. Plus the radio conversations were the clear indication of the teams ordering the drivers to look after the tyres or engine or something else. In other words, you can’t pass the guy in front of you unless he is unlucky. What a race!!!


By the way James, it was good to see you taking interviews of drivers & giving your own analysis on the race weekend holding the ONE HD microphone. I’m very used to watching Peter Windsor over the years doing the job you are doing. I was gonna ask you if you have more videos to post, as we don’t get enough of those because of the lengthy commercial breaks. But after watching the first race I don't have any request anymore. Good job though mate, was looking forward to meeting you in Melbourne in person if possible. Maybe I will when I get to enjoy F1 again. This is my last post for don’t know how long. It has been pleasure discussing various issues with you over the off season. Until next time cheers to you, your family and everybody that posts in this blog regularly.


Man i can't believe how dramatic everyone is being. Like James said it's only been ONE RACE. why don't we let it play out a bit before we start acting like a 13 year old girl who just found out that her favorite Jonas Brother got married


The solution is simple & would cost next to nothing and could be implemented before the next race.....................FORCE ALL TEAMS TO BLOCK THEIR REAR DIFFUSER'S.

If the FIA/FOTA/FOM/CVC or whoever forced this through we'd all get to see some overtaking.

Agreed it was a really RUBBISH race even for the likes of me, an F! fan since the late 60's!



But races last season were boring too. Bringing back fuel strategy after one race would hardly make much difference.


Let's not get carried away. It's only one race and we have to give the thing time. Apart from anything else the blog needs your input, you can't let me down! Don't give up on F1, give it a chance..


Spot on James. It was a dull race but some comments here are as if we didn't see duller races during the refuelling period.

I think everyone expected a bit more excitement given the build up to the season we've had.

I don't make much of the new track layout. The long laps didn't help at all. The track isn't as interesting as Spa which makes a 2 minute lap much more fun.

I bought your book recently James. Thanks very much for signing it. I notice it's now sold out so it seems as though I got one of the last ones! Halfway through it and its a great read. Will you be doing another one for 2010?

Oh just something I wanted to ask...I was watching Martin Brundle's gridwalk on the BBC - he mentioned how the drivers were unlikely to be there as their physio's couldn't get passes - this was a bit disappointing. Is that going to be the case at all races or just in Bahrain?



I have to say I completely agree with the sentiment. I feel just as let down today after months of anticipation.

We've already decided to cancel our plans to go to Spa based on today's performance - we shouldn't have to give them time to improve the show and with so many demands on time from friends/family/holidays etc. being an F1 fan is a hefty commitment. I'm not prepared to give it more than a passing interest until they do something to woo me back based on what I saw today.


James, I thought about not saying anything....and to simply stop watching. But I realize I need to say it because I used to love F1.

2010 should have been and was expected to be a revolutionary year...probably the best year in the history - look at all components: 4 World Champions, Schumi is back, strong drivers in strong teams and best teams have equal chance of winning - what else you need for a show? And still rules made racing impossible...this race was so boring and the pain was even stronger because of the media attention and marketing that we have all heard during the winter. We are being constantly lied that it is going to be better....

After 2009, with rules being so unclear - some teams with DD, some with KERS, etc...I thought I will give it another chance in 2010. This race showed to me that F1 has no hope....something has to change dramatically!

I am tired on marketing - I will watch it again when it will deserve my time and my passion. For now I am happy to simply read your Blog and check results after the race weekend. It is much more interesting here....

I can't believe it went so-so wrong....


The real problem with F1 is too many rules, rules that in almost every way hinder racing, be it with looking after the engine, controlled tyres,front wing flap 6 degree adjustment (why only 6 degree)? the list just goes on and on.

Free up FI, let the designers innovate and the teams manage their teams as they see fit and we'd see racing again.

If the FIA can't do this then FOTA should break away & make F1 entertaining again.


I don't think today's race was THAT bad. There was potential for an interesting last few laps with Alonso hunting down Vettel but for the broken exhaust on the Red Bull.

I think making the tyre wear more marginal could be the answer. I don't like the idea of using the rules to force teams to take two stops - this feels really artificial, but what could be more interesting is if Bridgestone could be asked to bring softer tyres. Give the teams an option between soft rubber and 2-3 stops and hard rubber and fewer stops. Then a careful driver (Button?) could try to look after his tyres, saving himself a pitstop.

Michael Balthazar

James, what about offering more than just 2 tire types at a race? Remove the requirement that you would have to use two different types of tires.

Okay I could see the situation where everyone went with the super-softs for qualifying every time. But if someone felt they could qualify alright on a harder tire and make it last and hope to overtake by running without a pit stop. Or is the performance differential among the tires so big and the pit stops so short that this would never be able to work?

Or someone could try to run the super-softs for the whole race if they felt they could manage the wear without too much a degradation of performance, then they could try it.

I felt that for as much as "Strategic flexibility" was lauded before todays race, we didn't see much...


Logistical cost would be too high, shipping all those tyres around. Especially as Bridgestone are planning to exit F1


What about in the 80's? They would have compounds A,B and C and you could even run different combinations at once (eg C's on the left of the car and B's on the right).

If people want strategy I think there's a huge well to draw from here.


Still convinced that this is the right answer. We need cars on different strategies (as well as sorting out aero).

Why don't the teams declare their choice of tyres before they leave for the race? No additional logistical costs.

Mind you if they could transport a wide range of tyres before (when f1 was cheaper) makes you wonder why they can't do it now.


Oh dear, what has happened to my favourite sport. Not even a sniff of a true overtaking move.....very, very dull. I am amazed that this was allowed to happen considering all the sports pundits predicted this. Who cares if the sport is critisized for immediate changes to rectify this, something radical has to be done and very soon.


James, any interesting solution but it doesn't solve the underlying issue - that modern Formula One cars have too much downforce and cars can't get past when stuck in the wake. The work of the OWG has had little effect, possibly as the work was done by current F1 designers, who probably knew they could undo all the concepts they were suggesting? Surely it's time for the FIA to introduce a standard spec front or rear wing, whichever will have the largest affect on the wake. Without this we won't see any great increase in wheel-to-wheel racing.


Well OWG never had DD diffuser as legal but was made legal for whatever reasons.. i wouldn't blame OWG as all the teams involved in that dint do so well last season !!!!


This was the first time in the many years of watching F1 that I can see that enthusiasm drifting away. It was as plain as a pikestaff that carrying all this weight would detract rather than aid racing. Take away any rule that negates racing and does not reduce safety. Give the drivers no excuses for not racing because the brakes are going off, the fuel is running low or what ever. The aero needs to be looked at to improve overtaking but that is a separate issue. Trying to inject more excitement by manufacturing failure modes may result in cars changing places, but it is not racing. Just remove any of the current rules which stops a driver not attempting an over taking manoeuvre, not this positioning of land mines of rules to generate excitement!


lol what a hilarious overreaction

you'll be watching Melbourne. I'll guarantee ya that.


I won't be. I'll guarantee you that.

I'm a fan - i've invested several thousand pounds on attending numerous European races over the past 5 years.

I will continue to visit this excellent site and when I hear on the grape vine that things have turned a corner I will happily return. You can call that an overreaction if you like but retort by saying i'm genuinely quite angry that such liberties have been taken with the entertainment value of my favourite sport. The race on Sunday was a pisstake of the highest order and this is the only protest I can make.


I'm inclined to agree.

I'll only know for sure when the alarm goes off at 6.30am a week on Sunday, but at the moment I'm not inclined to get out of bed for it.


It really wasn't that bad. Hungary 2004 was far worse, or anything from Circuit de Cataluyna.


For me the race was a big let down with everyone being overcautious at the start to conserve their cars against incidents to being overcautious at the end to save their cars, engines and gearboxes! If the first race was at Australia and not Bahrain I would have fallen asleep after the 1st lap (could still happen in 2 weeks time)



I'm so disappointed I had never wanted a season to start with twitter really kicking it off this year and even made testing interesting. I think testing was more interesting than the race today.

I went to the Sid Watkins lecture at Autosport International and Adrian Newey implied that the refueling ban was to help save money as the rigs wouldnt need to be shipped around.

I know Bahrain is normally a dull race but if they dont do something what should of been a competitive season has been destroyed 🙁

The only good thing I take away is that McLarens new website is great providing telemetry of its cars, where they are on the track and radio messages.

I hope FOTA can do something but I dont think two pit stops will fix it

One big disappointed F1 Fan



Surely the season opener was as dull as it could get. I just hope this isn't the sign of things in the rest of the season.

I think, any amount of external influences to make overtaking easier will not be effective. It looks like the re-fuelling ban is making the sport really boring.

The option you suggested is definitely better than the compulsory second pit stop. But I think that teams should be able to carry out strategies on Sunday rather than letting everything decided on Saturday.



oh my goodness gracious … F1 needs KERS very badly. Bring on 2011 🙁

Not so sure if I enjoyed the Bahrein GP. Everyone was driving so cautiously. Good to have Michael and Lotus back though.


Well, I hope something is done because that was one of the most boring races after a long wait for the new season to begin which was full of hope. I actually felt myself wondering if I could be bothered to watch for the whole season if the next couple of races feature the same level of tedium. It really feels as though the championship will be decided by nothing other that reliability and a modicum of driving talent this year.

Such a shame.


Sounds like a good idea James, but will this avoid the drivers driving conservatively to protect the tyres, this seems to be affecting the quality of the racing from what I saw today.

Just looking at the races fastest laps:

1. Alonso 1:58.287 on lap 45

2. Sutil 1:59.393 on lap 49

If you’re not in a Ferrari (or a Red Bull actually) you’re in trouble. People may say that Alonso took an easy win and to be honest he could have won that race in his sleep. If only Vettel hadn’t had his problem, I wanted to see Alonso attacking Vettel for the lead over the last 10 laps like he said he was planning to do in the press conference. With races of that nature that’s probably what we’ll be seeing through the season, if 1st and 2nd are close like Vettel and Alonso, the guy in 2nd will hang back out of the dirty air and look after the tyres then come the last 5 or 10 laps providing the tyres are in good shape that’s when they’ll be attacking for the lead.

For 2011, they’ve banned the double diffusers, which is a step in the right direction, but with this nature of racing like we saw today it’s still not going far enough. The aero under the car needs to be minimized, the front wing aero minimized, just a single plane front wing without all the little winglets and intricate crap just above that main plane, the end plates minimized as well, just one surface for the end plate. No turning vains on the side of the car and a single plane rear wing. Also I’d ban the shark fins. The focus needs to be on getting the tyre manufacturer(s) to push with the competitiveness with the tyres. Perhaps rather than push for aero performance the focus should be more on the mechanical side and perhaps have the teams developing their tyres with the tyre manufacturer. Mechanical grip over aero grip, too much aero is ruining the racing! Tell me are you Pro Mechanical Grip or Pro aero grip?

The refueling ban is good for safety, but most teams have built their cars to conserve the tyres over long stints, so therefore drivers are gonna drive conservatively aiming for one pit stop, which isn’t good for the racing. The teams aren’t going to agree to having a mandatory 2 pit stop rule, especially Ferrari as they seem to be the best at conserving the tyres, so they need introduce that next year otherwise the racing will just be about conserving tyres rather than pushing the limits and racing.

Just my opinion, but I guarantee this will improve the racing.


Banning the double difuser is actually the wrong step, Jasper, it's reducing the ground efects and placing more reliance on the wings and upper body aero for downforce which means more sensitive to turbulent air, resulting in less passing! I reckon they should increase ground efects and reduce wings to encourage slipstreaming and passing.



I don't see how banning the double diffuser is the wrong step! Sure there's turbulence from the rear wing, but that’s not as big a problem as the warm air that’s getting flicked out and upwards by the double diffusers, right onto the car directly behind! The air from the rear wing is generally flicked upwards and over the following car depending on the wing angle. Perhaps if the cars could adjust the rear wing so it’s fully flat on the straights (Monza levels) would mean the following car would be getting a pretty clean airflow which isn’t disturbed as much as before.

The reliance on grip needs to be coming from the mechanical grip of the car and the tyres, then we'll get some overtaking, then the cars will have trouble not overtaking. Are you Pro Aero or Pro Mechanical?


I'm pro mechanical, Jasper, but we have to remember that at the speeds a lightweight F1 car achieves it's going to be inherantly unstable without control of the air flow over, around, and under it, so imo if we used under-car air flow to create a depression to hold it down/resist the lift, and relied less on downforce from big wings which direct air upwards and creates major turbulence behind the car, then we're reduceing the size and efect of that turbulent area therefor alowing the following car to be closer before being effected so much, therefore improveing the chance of a passing move. (The efect of the difuser/ground effects on turbulence is far less than that created by the wings). PK.


Refuelling will have to come back, also the cars sound like drones since we lost the V10's. I mean this is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor sport and the two time world champion race winning driver even feels it'll be boring, I mean come on. Honestly, the best part of today's coverage was James' press conference.


I have to say I don't understand the clammer for compuslory stops, this isn't BTCC and we shouldn't be overregulating in an attempt to create exciting racing. I think the ban on refueling is great, the problem is with tyres.

Because they're restricted to two types of tyre and a compulsory stop there is no incentive to think outside the box. If they were 4 different compounds as there used to be, with one being a Super-soft sprint tyre which would only last for a relatively short stint and you could get a far greater variation in strategy.

My friends and I watching it today were surprised that somebody didnt try a last stint burst on the soft tyres for 10 laps. If someone had pitted, costing them around 23 seconds and then proceeded to set lap times 2-3 seconds faster than those on the medium they would have gained the time back and possilbe gain a place or two if they could pass.

I think people are being far too quick to judge the refueling ban and far too concerned with "the show". Its not a show its a sport and I for one am sick of the year on year overhauls in regulations. The fewer rules the better and it would be daft to try and rectify the problem of bad tyre regualtions by a mickey mouse compulsory stop regulation.


I have to admit that I slept for about half of today's procession. If this is indicative of the racing for this year then I am one fan who will probably just switch to watching the highlights programmes after watching most races live for the last 20 odd years.

The worrying thing is that the Bahrain track had been changed to improve the racing, can't wait for Hungary.


Would there be the chance of similar tyres reducing overtaking even further? Some of the passes today were down to the compounds being so different.


The race was really boring, imagine what will it be at Monaco and some of the narrower tracks?


I agree that today's race was boring, actually having got so excited during the off season I feel somewhat robbed that today was such a let down!

Something clearly needs to change. and I am inclined to agree that Bridgestone could play a big part in mixing things up a bit. Maybe a totally stupid idea and I have no idea the depth of rubber on an F1 tyre but maybe they could look at 5mm less tread (although I guess the regs probably specify against it), failing that something else to see the tyres de-grade quicker.


I say remove all the tyre restrictions by letting the teams choose their own compounds 4 weeks before they arrive at the circuit. Also allow the teams to run different compounds together on the car (maybe medium on the rear, soft on the front right and super soft on the front left).

This would create a lot more interest in the tyres and might even persuade Bridgestone to stay?


I would hate the compulsory second stop.

The new rules mean we will have maybe boring first halves of races but interesting finishes, like today.

The new rule is a step in the right direction, eradicate artificial overtakinh methods (ie pitstop overtaking) and return to real, on track overtaking.

Instead of thinking abt tyres and so on FIA should consider ways to make the aero packages easier on the car that follows, enabling the following car to pick up and use the "toe" and overtake.

this is the way to return to real races. Please please please no more silly tv journos getting hysterical over a guy overtaking someone just 'cause of a oit stop!


Hi James, thanks for all the great coverage and blogs. More power to you!!

Issue of tires.

Reading from Martin Whitmarsh's interview (http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/82145) it seems that tire degradation wasn't that serious (...)

They simply brought Hamilton in an attempt to overtake Rosberg in the pits, and NOT because that he was suffering tire wear on the soft (drivers are also trying to look after them quite cautiously, perhaps too much). He said the teams could have basically done another 25 more laps on the soft tires, and could have even done the entire race on mediums.

Hence if this is the case, it will negate the benefit that you suggest would come from two more closer compounds of tires. Because as it stands, Q3 drivers can push MORE, use their tires more aggressively and it will still hold on fine till the first round of pit-stops (according to Whitmarsh, Button, Alonso). The faster lap-time or increased number of pit stops would also be enough to oversee the advantage gained by Q2 drivers on mediums.

Issue of Overtaking.

a) Circuits

Despite whatever regulations that has been thrown at F1 in the last 20 years (my viewing lifetime at least), it seems that races held at certain circuits like Monza, Spa and Montreal have rarely ceased to entertain. Whatever it is that might be about these circuits, the parabolica into start-finish straight into the Rettifilo at Monza, the downhill into Eau Rouge into Les Combes at Spa, or the back straight into the final chicane and the 'Wall of Champions' at Montreal. NEVER a race without excitements at all these places.

I can't believe how on earth will anyone manage to overtake in 2010 Bahrain using the any single one of the past decade of F1 cars? Seriously. Even if they were to race here with cars from the 70s, 80s, and did manage to have a lot of overtaking and changing positions, but laptimes would be so much longer! (due to the lower aero grip available from those cars, lower aero grip).

Therefore if you ask fans like us, scrap all these boring, races at all the recent Tilke tracks, you know - watching you guys covering the race for us from there, we felt uneasy for you guys, rotting in the desert heat, at a place where somehow F1 didn't seem to belong! Actually its not even the fault of the nation, or the fans, its simply - the circuit design! the lack of charisma, lack of history!

b) Aero Grip

Aerodynamics is the main factor for the speed of the current F1 car. - But it is also the main factor for the death of overtaking. I'm not a rocket scientist, and I don't know how to address this issue, you guys are more qualified. However ..

c) Mechanical Grip.

I agree with you and Martin Whitmarsh. More 'racier' tires, more mechanical grip. Multiple pitstops made mandatory, hence more incentive for the driver to push! However, somehow I also feel bad for Bridgestone, remember that they're already providing tires for free, the culprit for the lack of spectacle should be the aerodynamics and circuits and others, sort of feels like making them a scrape goat to blame for other deficiencies.

d) Creative Freedom

However, all the issues like strict regulations on tire size, engine specifications, limited number of this (engines, gearboxes) or that (tire sets), one begs the question that how are you going to promise us a race of grandeour and magnificence if they are tying the hands and creative potential of engineers who actually make the cars.

Aerodynamics provides grip and speed, but effects overtaking. Therefore there must be other areas which must be freed and allowed to assist. However, all these other areas are 'suppressed', be it for budget reasons or downright incompetent technical regulators.

As a fan, I understand the FIA too, for trying and their reasons, banning slicks because cars got too dangerously fast and then unbanning them, limiting engine revs, removing driver aids (TC, AS), then allowing them back, and then removing them again, trying out KERS, trying out one-shot qualifying, trying refueling ban, and so on.

What if -- instead of all this, time travel back to the late 80s and early 90s, or whatever time in between.... and say F1 !! "Do whatever you want, as long as certain safety features are met and the technology isn't autonomous (removes the contribution of the driver). Just do it! So we can have the fastest laptime of all motorsports, and yet be able to provide great overtaking.

ON A POSITIVE NOTE -- Its great at least something's being done..


Nice comment Alias, and i would underline the Tracks issue... if Monza, Spa, Montreal, and i would add Silverstone, ALWAYS have great racing, then the answer's in the track and not in the rules.

And its a tragedy to see F1 cars all alone in the desert. No people, just tarmac and sand.

Bring back f1 to its people, to Europe. 80% of races should be in EU and on historical, proven tracks.

Problem fixed.


Thanks but please keep posts brief


How can you say that, there is so much wrong with the sport, the fastest car can't win, he can't get close, might be conserving tyres therefore won't get close and is carrying an anvil in the back. What a farce.


It doesn't matter what tyres they use, the cars cannot follow each other and now that we've gotten rid of refueling they can't even wait for pitstops.

If a car is < 1s faster than the one in front, it doesn't matter what tyres Bridgestone brings, they can't pass.


Hi James,

I have to say I can’t ever remember been so disappointed by the first race of the season the refuelling ban seems a disaster for the sport. I’m too young to remember much about Formula prior to 1994 so I really only have today’s race to base my views of the refuelling ban on. I dread to think how bad the races at places like Valencia or the Hungaroring will be this year. I think they need to make the tyre compounds a lot softer so that the soft tyres suffer a massive performance loss after 10 laps or so.

Also, please can you find out from Bernie Ecclestone as to why he scheduled the first race of the season to take place at lunch time on Mothering Sunday? It must have resulted in many people having to record the race rather than watching it live.

I really enjoy both the blog and your book.




Why don't they set a 10/15 lap limit on the better tyre for a little 'boost' during the race? Then there's the option for one or two stops if used at the beginning or in the middle of the race. Teams get whatever they want, Bridgestone don't have to change their tyres. Quick and easy fix that would hopefully make it more interesting.


Wow. That was one of the most boring races I have ever watched! Normally, the first race is full of surprises. Not this year! I guess the only exciting thing is to see Schumi back! Let's all hope we can find a solution! Otherwise, we are in for a very uneventful season.


They should have never allowed double diffusers for this season.


After the first race of the season I asked myself: -What was that? An endless parade of extremely expensive racingcars going round and round like kids on a carousel! And as interesting as watching paint on a wall dry.

Seriously, the Bahrain race was really boring to watch. Actually, it was too boring, so I am considering to stop watching Formula 1 this year. I have decided to give this season a couple of more chances though. But if there is no improvement in the next two races, I am giving it all up. There are so much more fun and interesting things to do.


I have to disagree. I don't see any problem with the show format. I enjoyed the race, there were some overtaking in a circuit that clearly doesn't provide a good show.

Were races boring before 1994? I don't believe so, James.

The answer is making the cars less dependent on aero and, of course, give time to the teams to adapt.

I believe some drivers could have taken the risk to put a set of fresh soft tyres for the last 10 laps today. The cars would lap around 4 seconds faster, which could outweigh the time lost in the pits...

Let's see what happens in Australia. Changing the rules would be a mistake. F1 is now as true as it can be... but, of course, that's just my opinion.


Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion

Now we are two on the same opinion. I don't feel alone in the dark 🙂


The best thing is to keep FOTA away from the rule book, they don't put the wider interests of F1 before their individual teams.


I would have thought making the tyres more marginal would have been the way to go, but there is the risk that it makes F1 and Bridgestone look very bad.

How about giving all of the teams their entire tyre allocation for the season and letting the teams choose whatever tyres they want for the GP, while still having to use at least 2 types of tyre for the race? Like the engines, the teams would have to manage how to last their tyres for the season. Probably too late to do this now, and it would be a logistical nightmare.


I guess there's always 2011 and the banning of double-diffusers to look forward to.

For some reason I like the banning of refueling, as it means the drivers are forced into overtaking. It's slightly annoying that we were robbed of Alonso having a go at Vettel, but then Adrian Newey cars have often tended to be fragile.

The most worried team should be McLaren; they're 1 second off the pace in qualifying and at least half a second off the pace during the race. By the time Formula 1 lands in Europe they could be completely out of contention. I don't suppose anyone has heard if they have upgrades on the car planned for the near future?


Hello, Great article James!!! I totally agree with you, so much anticipation, I expected, rookie crashes, extreme tyre degredation, drivers being lapped, the front runners being caught up in traffic, but none of this materialised, I actually think it was one of the most boring races I have watched... ever. As you would imagine I am extremely disappointed...!!!

Something needs to be sorted out and fast!! I am hoping that the track played a significant role in the lack of excitment...!!! Roll on Australia.


Well dear Nicola, a rookie did crash and drivers were lapped. So some of those things did materialise.

Agreed though - it was one of the most boring races of all time. When someone like Webber has a fast car and has no hope of overtaking no matter what, it is a dark day. With refuelling at least he could have tried something like a long middle stint, etc. They even robbed us of the quickly released car in the pits, just in front of the oncoming car with some new '55metre rule' or something like that. That's why Button got in front of Webber. Great new regs guys. Great new regs.


They are always changing the rules every year, its stupid

It's got to be admitted, the race was boring for the fans and the drivers, something has to be done

As Alonso said the race is decided in qualifying, only for vettels problems the race order changed, and added abit of interested

I even found qualifying strange, with such big gaps in time between the cars, then in the race the cars seem to spread out alot and cant get near each other

F1 should be about the fastest car and driver, but now its all saving tyres and fuel, thus very, very little racing


As for the race and results, Ferrari owned it. Red Bull can't afford to carry on with these gremlins. Alonso was flawless, Massa was right there as well, but he had to back off. I doubt they will NOT win the WCC.

Lewis came home with a very good result. This was not McLaren's weekend or track, but they got best of the rest and a podium. Bodes well for the rest of the season, as long as they don't let the Ferrari duo slip away before it's too late. Button needs to step up, for his and the WCC's sake. But let's not hang him, it's neither fair nor wise.

The Australian GP should be better. The track is shorter, meaning qualifying will be even closer, and I doubt it will upset McLaren, or any other car, as much as Bahrain did with the ridiculous go kart bumpy S2.

But then, if Alonso takes another comanding win...


I actually found the unknown of the level of tire degradation of the various cars to be quite exciting. If Vettel hadn't had a problem, we likely would have had a very exciting conclusion - Alonso's laps toward the end of the race were tremendously quick. I have a hard time believing he wouldn't have pushed Vettel quite hard. That he backed off earlier when following Vettel doesn't necessarily mean that he wouldn't have tried to challenge him again.

I think we should let these regulations play out over a half-season before we make any rash changes.

I also find it a tad odd that now that the regulations seem to suit Alonso's conservative driving style we are in a huge rush to change them. Martin Whitmarsh realizes that Hamilton's greatest flaw is his inability to manage his tires and will do anything to set the regulations to suit his star.


Ahem... are we perhaps being a little paranoid?


Your proposal certainly makes sense, but I think it's a bit early to make changes, let's wait until the Spanish GP to see how the next few races pan out.


Its a step in the right direction, as would mandatory two stops or more 'fragile' boots, but the reliance on aerodynamics would remain.

Do we enjoy the minute body work nuances? Do we want drivers conserving fuel and preserving tyres rather than racing?

I'd propose a standardised aero package and allow the creativity to be based on innovations based on non-aero engineering. For example, I believe the Williams fly-wheel KERS is being investigated or used outside the sport.

Allowing engineering genius to flourish and promoting mechanical grip whilst minimising aero reliance could improve the spectacle for the casual viewer and the technically savvy alike.

Controversial and I expect to be shot down in flames....


Don't expect Bridgestone to do anything marginal on tyres. They are a VERY conservative company


Good point James and thanks for the insight.

Have just been arguing with a friend that we're as likely to see a walrus nose on a road going beemer as we are to see an exciting and high octane race in the near future, which ties in with my point about aero-engineering being of little value to 'racing' or the real world. However, if mechanical engineering were to be promoted we are more likely to see innovations like diverse KERS systems, fuel efficiency and weight saving measures.

PS great blogs as ever 🙂


Oh dear that was dreadful !!

Something will have to be done and quick, bring back refuelling and let lollypop man have his own release back.

As many tyre stops and as many refuels as you want but not refuel and tyre change at the same time though...

If its too expensive to haul rigs around do it NASCAR style, 2 tyres at a time and shoulder mounted drum dump for fuel and alcohol running.


OMG that was so dull. What has gone wrong? It was such an economy run, everyone was "conserving" tyres fuel and effort. It should be a constant on the limit drive. Alonso was the deserved winner with the fastest car, what I find so rediculous is that he was so much faster than Seb, but couldn't even get close to overtake.


No he wasn't. Vettel was more than a match for Alonso's Ferrari. How do you explain the fact that Alonso was 5 seconds off Vettel during the first pit stops? Vettel deserved to win - Alonso got lucky.


I'd say the 5 second gap in the first stint was down to the Renault engine in the Red Bull being more fuel efficient and therefore requiring less fuel and a lower overall weight, also perhaps the Red Bull was better on the softer tyres. But on the harder tyres Alonso homed in on Vettel pretty damn quickly and then had to back off to cool the car and protect the tyres. I agree Alonso got lucky but he deserved to win the race, his car could do the distance and he did win. But it's a shame we missed out on the attack that Alonso was planning on Vettel in the last 10 laps as he said in the press conference. We'll probably see this kind of attacking strategy late on in the future races purely because the drivers have to nurse the tyres through the stint, when it's near the end of the race it's not as big a risk as it is wrecking the tyres earlier in the stint.


Why not offer just one tyre instead? Thanks to the refuelling ban, the public can clearly see which team/car/driver is the fastest, however the micky mouse "lets make them use two compounds during the race" adds nothing, just another confusing layer. If there was one compound then surely it gives drivers two options. Assuming the compound is durable enough, driver A could attempt to run on one set of tyres until the end of the race. Driver B, who's a little more aggressive and harder on his tyres, might elect to make a pitstop half way through, lose 25 seconds of time and then hope the fresher tyres would yield enough extra grip and time to catch driver A.

Alternatively Bridgstone needs to bring a super soft or soft compound, something that gives up a lot of early grip but after 10/15 laps requires changing, therefore increasing the number of stops and allowing more strategy.

I think it might be too soon to judge the season. Overtaking is obviously difficult, but I never remember Bahrain being that easy to pass on? Yes there are spots and we did see some overtaking today, but it's a typical Tilke-bore. Lets wait until China, where overtaking is possible and then Europe to see where we really stand.

I hope that once the teams start introducing updates from Europe onward (hopefuly the 'rear wing stall' will become common) that will allow cars to close up on the straights a bit more. James, do you know or can you ask an engineer, if two cars are running wing stall devices, will the car infront create a cleaner air flow for the car behind?


Ok. I see where you are coming from James, but its a long long way from a cure to what is a long standing problem with overtaking that has been made worse by the new rules AND the ridiculous entrance of the double diffuser. If there was ever a device designed to destroy any potential for racing then it was the new diffusers. Disgusting. They are out for next year but this year could be wasted ( a potentially great year )

The tracks need sorting. I'm actually laughing out loud at the people who decided that offering a few more points for a win would encourage overtaking as if any race driver worth his salt would hang back if he could realistically overtake.

A real shame. Good luck with your proposal.


Hi James,

Towards the end of the race, people were still lapping over the 2 minute mark, which was 4/5s off their qualifying pace. Why did nobody pit for fresh tyres, they would have a large pace advantage (2 or 3 seconds at least) had they done so. I know overtaking is difficult, but for anyone outside of the top 10, it was surely a risk worth taking? Even for someone like Hamilton, he had a big enough margin over Rosberg that he could have pitted, taken on new tyres, held his position and closed really quickly on the Ferrari's, which would at least have forced them to push their cars harder then they would like. Seems like a big reason the show was so poor today is that the teams and drivers collectively were far too negative in their mindsets.




Obviously because the pitstop takes such a long time that it's not worth the risk.

It begs the question why on earth aren't new tracks designed so that the pit lane cuts off some of the circuit enabling a car to come in and out again with much less of a deficit?

If it were to only cost, say 10 seconds in total, then I think you would find a lot more teams would gamble on putting on a fresh set of tyres.



hi david,

agree that length of pitstop was a factor for large portions of the field, but hamilton could have stopped without losing a place, kubica could have stopped without losing a place, just struck me as a no lose decision for those two.


I think the tyres are just too hard. The super soft tyre for Bahrain could have lasted on some cars up to 25 laps, which is too durable. They need much softer tyres so that drivers have to stop at least twice during the race. Softer tyres would drop off in performance much more quickly, making it more challenging for the drivers to make them last. Also softer tyres would generate more mechanical grip, which is urgently needed on the current generation of F1 cars, which are far too reliant on the aerodynamic grip. As we saw in Bahrain this meant cars couldn't follow each other closely enough to get a chance to pull off any overtaking moves. This is the most worrying point, as we don't want to see races decided in the pits anyway, we want to see good battles and overtaking on the track.


James I think you are spot on with the tyre idea. Martin Whitmarsh said on the post race forum that Bridgestone could manufacture tyres that simply cannot last most of the race. He stated that had they not wanted to get Hamilton into some clear space his soft tyres could have gone a lot further.

Something needs to be done because this format is going to create a massive anti-climax to what should be a magnificent season.


It was a dull race but I doubt refuelling would have made it much more interesting.


It would have done though, because some of the cars would have been on a 1-stop strategy, some two-stopping and possibly a quick driver 3-stopping. The variation in weights would obviously bring more overtaking (by light cars overtaking heavy cars)

Such a shame today, as I've been looking forward to the start of the season for months...


Yes but all you are doing with refuelling is hiding the more fundamental problem of the drivers not being able to do anything in the dirty air of the car in front.

All refuelling actually does is mean the strategies aren't unfolded fully until about two-thirds distance, as opposed to somewhere between about one-third to one-half distance we saw yesterday. You still have drivers going round stuck behind other drivers unable to do anything. The variations in fuel weight were still not a significant. Indeed refuelling had become a solved problem, with only two real strategies (top 10 two stopping, bottom 10 one-stopping) with the only variation being who had the pace in quali to allow the luxury of an extra lap or two of fuel.

It's still the aero that needs to be sorted. It's needed to be sorted for a while. There's been plenty of evidence in the past 5 years plus of a race like yesterday where very little happened.

Removing refuelling has just removed one of the main sticking plasters people were using to paper over some of the cracks.


Alonso, Schumacher and Hamilton are all absolutely correct. The rules will not improve entertainment and will only lessen excitement. I was massively disappointed with this race. After the pit stops after 20 laps - the race was well and truly over. The new rules required none of the technical ability we were promised we were going to see. To hear Jenson say it wasn't challening enough on the driver was a real downer. What a disappointment.


Just have one compound, fast and soft but will degrade forcing pit stops. There would still be the option to try and conserve tyres but have 1 less stop and drivers/cars that are less tough on the tyres can be rewarded. Others that want to banzai round (eg ? lewis) can di this, hopefully get a good lead and pass some people and make enough time to have the extra stop


Not dull at all. I'd rather we had no pitstops.


I like that the performance comparison in-qualifying and in-race are more true. You never really knew with fuel who was performing, but we might be able to deduce from yesterday that:

Alonso edged Massa

Rosberg edged Schumacher

Hamilton thrashed Button


Oh and another thing now Martin has no one to talk to on the grid thanks to physios' not getting access 🙁


Maybe not compulsory two stoppers - just bring refuelling back while the OWG does more research on how to improve on track overtaking. That race today was the most boring in a long long while. It required nothing special from the drivers and nothing special from the strategist.

Notable that tyre wear was not a serious problem to both Lewis or Button. Apart from replacing their diffuser from Australia on, McLaren are not too far behind and they could win races starting very soon. Looks like the much fabled differences in driving styles between Lewis and Button will be worth very little. But we shall see.

Appears like Alonso will have a good measure of Massa though it cannot be ignored that the Brazilian was in touch all race. Knowing Massa he will blossom late, just when Alonso's guard has been lowered - then we might be treated to some much anticipated prima donna toy throwing entertainment. But for the time being and going by statistics on season openers, the Spaniard is well on the road to getting this year's title - unless McLaren bring on their famous recovery plans mid season.

My take so far is that the two strongest drivers on the grid are Lewis and Alonso. Both very solid, and because you can never write off McLaren despite how badly they start a season or how biased the FIA rules against them, watch for the title fight being between these two. Massa, Button and Vettel look a little vulnerable, running more on adrenaline rather than convincing skill. Schumacher may still have it but Mercedes may not be able to give him the machinery to deliver. Which pretty much puts Nico on the sidelines - he didnt impress today, nor did Webber.

Alonso fans will be ecstatic. Lewis fans will be confident. Apart from processional racing making for some boring racing, development work should allow celebratory weekends for fans of all the four major teams as the season progresses.


"The most important people to consider are the fans and the customers who pay to come .”

Bernie needs a really prompt reminder of this, as for starting the season in Bahrain rather than Australia? - well bernie sometimes it pays to have more sense than money, you have lost me about 50% at this stage and Id consider myself a strong fan of the Sport, but business is really running away with this sport 🙁

The death nail was sounded in the last decade or so, and its been slowly die'ing a death, picked up from 2007 onwards, but Brawns rubbing with their feet of the Double Diffuser

(though legal) regulation changes, was the last in a long line of aero changes implemented by the FIA and tyre changes which have served to kill rather than renew the sport

Booh urns..

If it isnt broke (in late 90's/early 2000's)

why stick your finger in and mess it up, there is some 'fixer'/control freak running these decisions, its utterly bizare the way the situation has evolved over the years


I've not thought this one through in detail, so just throwing it out there. It seems to me the drivers number one priority is to "preserve tyres".

How about allowing more sets of tyres, and only providing super soft. That way we would get drivers pushing harder knowing that they can use as many sets as they want.

I know this won't reduce the cost, but i think it might help? Or perhaps this idea could be expanded upon?


It really amazes me how the Overtaking Group (or whatever they are called) can get it so wrong every year. Every year a bunch of new changes is introduced and after 1 race everyone agrees that it was a complete failure.

I would say bring closer compounds to the races AND make 2 stops compulsory.

Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion

I've read almost every comment here and maybe we're taking things a bit too far, guys. Let me tell you something. I belive that those stop and go mickey mouse Tilkodromes suit better to the light cars of yesterday than to these new F1s, but traditional huge aero circuits like Barcelona, Spa, and others will offer far better shows than today. Managing those 200 kgs of fuel on high G's turns will be a challenge and will provide full of action. I put my money on it, so give it time.


After endless comments and speculation on what should have been a fabulous season we are perhaps in for the most mundane season we have ever seen. Jenson Button in the F1 forum said it was easy, Shumacher has said over taking was impossible and even Fernando has made comment even though he won! The ban on re-fueling, narrower front tyres and the non-use of KERS along with other minor changes together are a mistake. The FIA have undoubtably shot themselves in both feet. When are the so called experts going to realise that without the fans and viewing public there would be no F1! No-one wants to spend a few hours watching a procession - we could all tune into American motorsport for that. The race was effectively over after turn 4 of lap 1. For gods sake sort this farce out before the sport becomes completely unwatchable and let's stop making excuses. ......A disgruntled fan who hasn't missed a race for 15 years but am considering watching paint dry for the rest of the season.

Anything I might have missed James??


- I felt the main problem was the track. All during qualifying when Brundle was discussing how certain corners "really challenge the drivers" all I could think of was how they were going to stretch out the field. Every single corner in that twisty new section was incredibly similar to that first tightening bend and kink in China, that's quite technically difficult but not too great.

- During the race I knew that Lewis was trying to close Nico; on the straights he was able to get close but then during the twisty bit Nico got away. This forced them to jump him in the pits, which would put very few people on the edge of their seats.


Absolutely terrible race to watch - the build up to this year was more exciting.

Bring back re-fueling and give them just 1 good tyre choice.

Shumi must be wondering why he bothered coming back - this is not racing at all.

Berni better get to work - I doubt people will tune in to watch after 2 or 3 boring races.


Why do we have proper racing in GP2 but nothing in F1?


Bad day for racing simple as... why change the points system that favors overtaking if its not possible... bad times... FIA sort this out. Isn't this formula one, the best formula in the world supposedly. Its not racing tho, its just a fast parade, there not even on the limit now.

Sad times...


The Solution?

Unlimited engines,much more sets of tyres,Refuelling,Tight aero rules so the grip is mechanical,Old traditional circuits that were actually built with racing in mind...A straight fight for the win..May the man with the biggest balls win


I almost felt I had to ask if someone had clicked on slow motion at the start. The cars pulling off seemed slooooooooooooow........


Having been a fan & follower of F1 since the late 60's I was so looking forward to this season but alas what I saw was nothing but a bore.

The solution for making F1 a show again is not as James Allen suggests with changing the tyre rules or compound there is a far better way which would cost next to nothing and would all but guarantee we'd at last start to see some track action.

The solution: the FIA rule with immediate affect that double diffusers are banned, this would allow cars being a real chance to overtake a slower car in front.

If all were forced to close their diffusers more or less teams will be equally disadvantaged.

The truth is the double diffuser should never have been allowed last year and had it not been for those in power wanting a fairytale for reasons of their own we would not have just had a truly boring race.

If any non F1 fan watched this race they'd never watch another.

The drivers not being on the grid for pre race interviews is another example of F1 shooting itself in the foot, what on earth are these people thinking?

F1 is a show, or at least it should be, get rid of the double diffusers before the next race ❗


Hi James,

Not another gripe, but a question: How was Webber unable to pass Button? It didn't appear that Button was fighting the overtake, and Webber was (hopefully) pushing as hard as he could. Yet, even then, with barely a second between them, Webber wasn't able to make even an attempt. Was it just the circuit, or the Aero, or something else? And if they can't overtake ... what does that mean for the rest of the racing?

Finally, any news of Virgin?


You will note that Massa was already talking about how he had to dial back to conserve fuel. I'm afraid even if you do the closer performance tires, the fuel will continue the snooze fest.


Seems like the track must take a lot of the blame today. Will Buxton was spot on yesterday predicting a dull race...


If the yesterday's GP2 race (on the new track layout) was bad but two weeks ago the GP2 race (on the previous track) was epic...

Give F1 a chance. The teams and drivers had no knowledge to work from today. Next time they will know more about the envelope and push harder. I think it will pick up and we'll see really exciting closes to races.


We need a radical change almost immediately.

My suggestion is to add weight penalties based on points scored so far. However, don't add the weight until after qualifying so the fastest cars (and probably ones with highest weight penalties) start first.

Yes it needs a change to parc ferme rules and it is an artificial penalty but anything is better than a season of 2-hour processions.


I like that idea PAD.

Discussed it with my wife last night who like me is a massive F1 fan and equally disappointed by the lack of motor-racing.

If the huge aero factor isn't addressed, then maybe they should combine some forced aero changes when using one particular tyre compound.

Again, like your idea, just to make some kind of penalty and increase the prospect of actually seeing some racing, rather than high speed processional advertising hoardings..


Wow, what a disappointment.

Just as dull as those late 1980s races but with fewer mistakes and no blowing up.



I also hope that a change is made because it all seems toosy turvy with this system of one forced stop to change tyres.

Although for me it wasn't a boring race and I thoroughly enjoyed watching all that talent on the asphalt.

But if a change is made so that even more excitement is gained, then let's hope that this time the right choice is made.


As a life long Ferrari fan even i was bored with todays race.

Drivers passed in the refuelling stops cause it was the only real way to pass in todays F1 sad but true.

That is now been taken away for 2010 so i cant see many positions changing once the first lap is over.

I hope i am wrong.

Just wondering James if you think it will improve and what is your view on many drivers admiting they werent pushing during the race.


It’s a shame Vettel had the problems he did because it would have been nice to see if Alonso could get past him – I’m not sure he would have done. Unless Alonso made a mistake, as soon as he got within 1 second of Vettel it was like his car had just fallen apart. It’s as though Vettel had some Mario Kart style banana he dropped out the back which caused Alonso to drop back another 2 seconds. I would really like to know what happened there and if it was a mistake or simply just the aero effect. Possibly Alonso picked up too much sand off line when trying to take a look?

As for the tyres – I think the problem is simply too many regulations which don’t offer any ‘randomness’ to the strategy. We don’t want artificial pit-stops; I don’t really want the rule about having to use two types of tyre and especially having to race on your qualy tyre. As some people have suggested above why not give the teams more free choice as it would open up other possibilities and doesn’t have to cost anymore. We need something just to add in the element of strategy and keep the guessing game going. I think the biggest problem with today’s race is it was far too easy to read. You knew what was going to happen before it happened (well maybe not in Vettel’s case!) and that just made it dull and predictable. If you can predict what will happen with a reasonable degree of accuracy after qualy, why bother tuning in on the Sunday? All you are waiting for on the Sunday is an unfortunate event to happen to one driver (like what happened to both Red Bulls) for there to be any change in position. I want the race to be won by a combination of great driving and great thinking from the pit wall on strategy.

The major issue is not the removal of re-fuelling but all the other nonsense that’s long existed but not really caused much of a problem. Following the live timing you could visibly see teams turning down the ‘power’ and ‘bringing the car home’ with a third of the race left to run because the field spread was too big. We need to give it more time to test out different style circuits and if only to prevent jumping into another equally ridiculous rule too quickly.


what happened was what I have been talking about and some others have also mentioned. Todays cars are so efficient at cutting through the air that its practically impossible for the car behind to close up within 1 sec, and if he manages that his car (especially if its a ferrari) will over heat and need to back off, this is why alonso was doing this, to save the car/tyres. He had no choice.


Agreed completely.


dear me. what a dreary, drab, pointless parade.


The FIA should have gone with the same rules in 2005, do refuelling but ban tyre changes, basically get to the end of the race with one set of tyres. Remember the exciting 2005 Japanesse Grand Prix, Raikkionens crash on the last lap in Germany,Alonso loosing 2 places in the final few laps at Monaco, all legendary because tyres werent changed.My advice bring back refuelling and ban tyres or how about this ban tyres being changed and refuelling


One of the rule changes introduced this year has been to reduce with the width of the front tyres. Has this not actually made overtaking harder, as when the front wing loses efficiency in dirty air, there is less front grip to rely on from front tyres?


The key to all this is the tyres - we need two tyre manufacturers and a tyre war - why on earth would Bridgestone elect to supply a tyre that although very quick would wear out very quickly as well when they don't need to - think about it.... the commentators would spend their time saying "blah blah's tyres are shot" or "Blah Blah's tyres are worn out" why would any tyre manufacturer want that broadcast to the tens of millions of people watching / listening World Wide when there main business is to try and sell road tyres to those same people ? The message the public watching would receive is that Bridgestone tyres wear out quickly ! - seems obvious to me but am happy to be corrected if some one has a different angle on it.


scrap the parade lap. Instead start the race with the drivers on foot from the pitlane. Sprint to the car and go, go, go. I can see safety issues but it would look tremendous.


I've been watching F1 for almost its entire broadcast life, and was so looking forward to this season. I was even prepared to pretend that Lotus had something to do with the Lotus of the past, just to build up the excitement. But that race was DREADFUL! I recall that the modern Bahrain circuit is pretty average, in which case why didn't Todt have the savvy to start the season somewhere more exciting - one of the old circuits for example? It doesn't bode well at all.


Let's hope that if that debacle of a boring race is repeated in Melbourne the Aussies in true Aussie style start lobbing a few tinnies at Bernie's motorhome in protest so he get's, in no uncertain terms, the message quickly.


What an anti-climax, a real disaster, even Schumi looked a bit bemused by it all when he was interviewed afterwards. I wonder if the whole season is like this he will realise he has made a mistake and 'the fire' he found again, has fizzled out?

My formula as an armchair expert?

Dump most of the aero gizmos.

Bring back the V10s to give the speed but limit them to one engine per race so there is an incentive to push to the end, would still keep costs down.

Make tyres a lot more marginal so pit stops are needed by all.

Stop the marbles so going off the racing line is not a disadvantage.

Refuel if you want to, balance pitstop time against track pace/tyre wear.

And most of all stop letting people who have not got a clue keep fiddling with the rules EVERY year!


What about just dropping the stupid idea with no refuelling right now, so at least 2011 will be on the right track.

Changing the point system does nothing when this rule change makes the cars _less_ suited for overtaking. If all the races are this boring I'll just read about the results and hope someone steals some technical documents from Red Bull or Todt forcing a $2 million budget.

What about giving us refuelling back, dropping the plank and allowing lower front wings, getting another tyre war going and make mondays after races a test session? It's not that hard, and it would actually allow cars to follow each other.

Sorry to be complaining about it here James, I know you're not the FIA or the FOTA, but there are really no good way to get heard..


How about handicapping? This worked well in TOCA for a long time to equalise grids. Technical innovation would still be rewarded - a new development would allow a win / higher place at the next GP, but thereafter the benefit would be reduced. Similarly, an inspired drive could still achieve something special.

I realise this would be controversial, but why not?


Last year all we heard about was conserving engines now we have got tyres as well. It's a joke. This is supposed to be man & machine in a spectacular battle instead we have teams tippy toeing around conserving everything.

We even have extreme health & safety rules where we have now lost the conventional lollipop man with an exclusion zone.What the hells all that about? What next speed cameras, speed humps? I cannot believe they travel the world to produce such a boring result. Until they drop all this conserving nonsense and blow as many tyres & engines as the teams want and bring back refulling it cannot get better. Early days but surely it will go down as the worst season in years.


Whilst I would agree that today's race was far from the most exciting race I have ever seen, but people WAIT!! This was the season opener. None of the teams knew how the tyres were going to perform in these conditions. You can't blame race engineers for encouraging their drivers to look after their tyres because of the lack of data they have to date.

As the season progresses we will see drivers pushing too far, un-sheduled pit stops, you mark my words.

For me the problems stem from two things. Aero packages and lack of testing. Let's stop spending loads of cash on wind tunnels and CFD and homogolise a standard aero pack and give the power back to the mechanics to find good old fashioned horse power and mechanical grip.

On the testing issue, why could they not allow Monday testing? The cars, the personel, and all the equipment are in place. The race has been run so track data is no longer an advantage. Surely this doesn't rack up too much aditional expense!

As for switching F1 off. It will have to get a lot worse than this before I will, and you too I think. After all if you have read this far down the comments then you are just as big a fan as I am


Totally like your idea regarding allowing Monday testing. So much better than no testing at all.


This is the worst idea ever and is like a full race of the fuel burn off qually that they dumped a while back. At least that qually had five exciting minutes at the end, this didn't!

I'm sorry, I ain't wasting my life watching this nonsense even though I've been a true fan for 25 years.

We need refueling back or perhaps three pitstops or something because these guys weren't even racing.


A true fan for 25 years gives up due to refuelling being banned, despite originally watching for years when it was originally banned. What a champion.


Be quiet David. With respect. Being a 'true fan' of the best F1 can be (and has been even in the past few years) does not mean people should be forcing themselves to endure tedium like that more than once. Because not to do so suggests some kind of disloyalty. No way, vote with your feet and the sooner the better - Life's too short.


I suspected that if the Bahrain race was anything less than a thriller this would be the kneejerk reaction. Let's give it a chance.

As noted elsewhere, the problem wasn't the lack of pitstops it was the lack of overtaking. This is the issue that needs to be addressed. I want to see overtaking - watching cars pit did not cut it as 'entertainment' for me.

For those thinking so soon that we should go back to refuelling, it's a serious case of rose-coloured glasses. Refuelling ruined more wheel to wheel racing than it ever helped. With more suitable cars, we could have had a great race between Schumacher, Button and Webber today not to mention several others. For crying out loud, change the cars - PLEASE!!!


The refuelling at least brought an element of strategy to the races. This race had nothing of the sort, unless you count Alonso not getting within a second of Vettel and Massa driving like a 90-year old for half the race strategy.

James, do you know how much extra cooling the teams need for the larger fuel tanks nowadays? I suspect this is a lot of the problem.



cant believe i just forked out big money for silverstone tickets i can honestly say that if i had seen this race and how boring this new format is there is no way i would have bought them. Would have given this year a miss. What on earth are the powers that be up to.. i feel robbed!


You were.

Based on this it'd be more entertaining to paint numbers on a dozen washing machines and race them around your kitchen on full spin.

With full loads on board of course.

Andy Thomlinson

I like your thinking James. My idea would sort of be the opposite. I would like to see a much greater gap between the compounds. The thinking behind this would be to create a situation were a 2 stop strategy was faster or very close to the 1 stop strategy. What if the softer compound was much faster but only good for 10/12 laps, could Bridgestone be persuaded to do this, increase the grip but loose some durability?

The problem with just introducing a 2nd mandatory stop is that it wont change much as all the teams are most likely to mirror each others actions at the 2nd stops, the same way they did at the 1st stops today.


I know how to fix it,

1. Bring back refuelling

2. Get rid of the 8 engine limit

3. Lift the ban on engine development

4. Double diffusers gone!

5. Remove the tyre rules, teams can use whatever Bridgestone compound they like.


You willing to fund all of that? I don't think the teams can.


If we keep the 8 engines then the teams cant risk increasing the revs and damaging the engine It needs to be increased to at least 12 - 14 engines per season

If they want a push to pass system it could easily be implemented in the ecu alight without the major expense of kers and the weight disadvantage

FOM could easily fund it by giving more of the profits from F1 to the teams.

Ferrari, Renault, Merc can afford to develop their engines


"FOM could easily fund it by giving more of the profits from F1 to the teams."

Paul, I'm sure CVC would have something to say about that!!

After all if their cut is reduced how can they buy all their exec's luxury sports cars.


I say keep the 8 engine limit but allow them to increase revs for a fixed amount of time during the race, similar to kers but simpler. Also it would possibly avoid the KERS problem of "if eveybody has it...."

Rubinho's Keyfob

I did find today's race mostly dull too - but from memory I don't think it was so much worse than last year at Bahrain (though of course they have modified the track layout since then so they _should_ have improved things).

I'll still be tuning in next time.

One thing that all these comments made me think about is what would _I_ do to encourage overtaking. I'm not clued up enough to suggest tweaks could be made to the current situation, but in the "Fantasy F1" category, the obvious (to me), simple yet radical solution is something along the lines of:

1) Reverse qualifying. The faster you are in quali, the nearer the back of the grid you are.

2) A point per position taken during the race.

That's it. I'm sure there are lots of reasons why this wouldn't work (without some "tweaks"), but I think it's an interesting thought - teams would still be keen to qualify in first place as that would put more potential points on the table, but I guess the initial run to the 1st corner would be more awkward. The important thing is it's not where you come in the race, but how much overtaking you've done that brings in the points. Perhaps there's another way of rewarding either overtakes or resisting overtakes which would have a similar effect.



as MW said if there was a safety car within the 10 laps everyone would come into the pits, change tyres and we have everyone trotting around unable to get close and no overtaking and a bore-fest. This format of rules is a joke pleaseeee FIA change it!


After reading these comments maybe we are being too hard on F1 after just one race. It's because we care and we don't see different tracks or tires fixing this problem.

Another problem at this pace we may see race laps reduced to fit the events in the TV time windows.


I can't stop thinking about this... it's not just disappointed me, it's angered me.

Are we all over-reacting? Maybe. I suspect that's the line most "in charge" would like to take, followed by "give it time".

But the reality is that the comments on here are the strongest I've ever seen from what are clearly not only real fans, but also some of the more intelligent and thoughtful fans too (this isn't a "red top" blog, it's a class act with classy contributors).

Someone needs to realise.... F1 is in trouble. And they need to realise now.

And it's big trouble to my mind, as the cars are already built.

And didn't they look slow! They almost looked at a standstill when they came out of the pits or lumbered around turn 1.

Two things they could easily do for Australia though;

1. Give the physios their grid passes back so at least we get driver interviews on the grid walk.

2. Get rid of the pit-lane exclusion zone. It's actually exciting to see the cars pulling out on each other and weaving in the pit-lane for position. Yes it's dangerous, but F1 IS dangerous and I don't recall any major F1 accidents at 70kph.

But to sum up how bad it is.... who thought that after all the build up of Alonso/Massa, Button/Hamilton, the new teams and Schumi's return that the big story of the day on all the sites would be how dull F1 has become?


100% couldn't agree more...


How about we actually give it a season and see how it goes? Most of the comments on here are a complete over-reaction. You'd think there'd never been a processional race before - to stop watching F1 on the back of that race is simply ridiculous.

Vettel's problems meant we were robbed of a charging Alonso battling with him at the end of the race and possibly Massa joining in to. Before SV's problems, they were covered by less than 5 secs. The race was shaping up nicely for an exciting finish.

The biggest mistake has been making a stop compulsory - teams should have the option of going straight through (as long as Bridgestone make a tyre that is marginal to last the entire race.)(Bringing back the tyre war would be a good move.)

The idea should be that some cars are set up to be quick on light tanks, some heavy, and some as a medium and they come together at the end of the race.

Refuelling was the bigget blight to racing. Today's race had all the right elements it just didn't quite ignite.


Certainly we should give it a few races.


Was I the only one that saw some overtaking then?

Its true that things at the front stayed very static, But further back I saw some nice racing & some nice overtaking. BBC for example showed 7 overtaking moves in there brief 30 second highlights clip to end there coverage & I recall seeing more than they showed in that.

As to refueling, DONT BRING IT BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!

We had refueling prior to 1994 & we had very exciting races, Id say races that were more exciting than what we got post 1994. If no-refueling produced good racing back then its clearly not the issue today.

Also as Jaques Villeneuve said, We had boring races even with refueling soo it isn't the problem.

I think all the complaints based on 1 race is silly, Give it time before making kneejerk decisions.


The close-season this year saw so much hype about how the refueling ban was going to take us back to the 'promised land' of early 80s racing and all that implied. But realistically this was never going to happen.

Back then you hand manual gearboxes (plenty of chances for mistakes, mis-shifts or catastrophic over-revs), weaker aero and far, far less information available to drivers.

This time around you had the engineers telling the drivers how to drive - 'back off you'll run out of fuel', 'back off, your brakes are too hot', back off, your temps are too high'.

Take all of that away. No pit to car radio communication, only limited board info (lap number, gap times, come into pit signals). Without that information you'd have had cars failing left, right and centre today all through the race. Drivers would have no idea what was going on and would have had to proceed as if they were continually under attack - creating stress-induced mistakes and a whole new perspective on their characters.

Take away the 'two sets of tyres' tosh and the 'must start on your qualy tyres' tosh. The poor tyre companies have had to jump to the FIAs tune for years, Michelin got shafted, Bridgestone et al. forced to produce silly grooved tyres. Tyre war encouraged, then no tyre war.

All nonsense, no wonder they've decided it's not worth their bother. Allow anything goes with tyres, if you trash a set of tyres you can come in and change them, accepting the time lost as a penalty. Or maybe you don't.

Remove the adjustable front wing. That will have the biggest effect on the cars' trim at key points in the race, causing car imbalances.

Return to the 10-6-4-3-2-1 points system and award bonus points at year end for most overtakes, pole positions etc. if you really want to push the drivers. Maybe allow teams to nominate one weekend where whatever they score counts as double perhaps?

At the moment you're in danger of mandating drivers come in for a manicure and foot massage, or perhaps cocktails and a spot of karaoke in order to spice up 'the show' - the two pit stop idea is just as artificial.

Bahrain was TERRIBLE if you wanted to see a race. Now consider the historic circuit of Spa with its changeable weather, challenging corners and long, long straights. Perhaps a bit of mist hanging in the air between the trees, a light shower at one end of the circuit and a deluge somewhere else. Or perhaps a hot end-of-summer day with a baking track and a party going on round the circuit.

In either case, is there actually a prospect of any REAL racing taking place there this year? Seriously? With drivers being told by their engineers to tweak the Hokey-Cokey 2000 and adjust their Winkel-Wonkel shaft throughout the race to ensure 'optimum' performance?

No, I don't think there'll be a race worth watching either, and if that doesn't prompt serious action from the F1 universe nothing will.


It's a fine line between "sporting entertainment" and "Fairness", problem is in F1, the car is king and I personally believe the driver probably only makes up the last 25% performance of the car, so to improve the show F1 is going to have to either work harder to equalize performance or spice things up artificially. My idea is that Bridgestone or Michelin or whoever supplies F1 in the future produces 4 compounds, super soft, soft, medium and hard, each driver has to nominate the compound for each of the races before the season starts, using each of the compounds 5 times (if India joins the calender next year that's 20 races) I'd have qualifying on a control tyre and only 1 set for each driver I'd also bring back single lap qualifying for the final pole shoot out session. No mandatory pit stops, but I would suggest that super softs should last no more than 1/3 of a GP with hards able to go non stop (thus different tactics could play out), and I would suggest that no team could have both drivers on the same compound of tyre during a race. Bit contrived but I would suggest better than weight penalties or same engine rules etc.


Awful, awful race. I may have watched my last F1 race this year already. Adding a mandatory pitstop will only make the race slightly less boring. There will still be no overtaking. The only answer is to bring back refueling, which is an impossibility this year. What a disaster!


Right, I've had a couple of hours to mull it over and here's my suggestion;


This would;

1. Bring back the strategic element as all tanks are already big enough to last the full race, so it would be a real balancing act of how many stops between zero and three is quickest.

2. Bring back the mystery.... we wouldn't know (if they don't tell us!) exactly how much fuel is in each car and if they have to stop again - or at all!

3. Bring back overtaking..... cars on different fuel loads will be able to pass heavier cars on a different strategy.

4. Retain tyre wear as a factor as those who decided to fill the tanks would have tyres worn out while a 2 or 3 stopper could be on fresh rubber for the final stint.

5. Keep fastest lap qualifying as long as they retain the race fuel being added in parc ferme.

6. Still achieve the majority of the cost reduction they were looking for as long as the fuel rigs are only transported to the european and not the fly-away races.

7. Give them plenty of time to get the rigs back into action and convert the tanks to take the pressure hoses again.

Tell Bernie if he wants any more help to get a few of us from this site in a room for 2 days and we'll give him more ideas than he's had Waitrose meals for one.


Cars aren't designed with a refuelling socket on side of car any more


Yeah I realise that, but then again, they weren't all designed with a double diffuser last year either, but they had them by Europe. F1 is allegedly the pinnacle of innovation - it's time to prove it.

We can't change the tracks or the aero that quickly, but there must be some way of getting fuel in the cars now that can be converted?

Yes it costs money, but so does losing sponsors. Set up a joint working group to come up with one solution for all cars and make Bernie and the FIA pay for part of it!

I've read this morning the comments from Fry, Whitmarsh, Horner and Domenicalli - with the latter two wanting to "give it a few races to see", but do they really have that luxury?

The turn around needs to start today if they want to stem a tidal wave of comment and opinion overwhelming them and damaging the efforts of teams to get and keep sponsors. Once they've gone elsewhere you won't get them back for years.

Personally I'd have loved to see a joint statement of intent from Bernie, the FIA and FOTA today to show that they've got the message and they're working on it, whatever the answer turns out to be. But all we see so far is are signs that the teams won't actually agree on anything significant and the FIA & FOM are keeping their heads down.

This isn't Indianapolis. We knew that was a one-off. The fear is this is a whole season at least.

On the upside though, I can honestly say that if this had happened two years ago when I didn't have your blog to keep me interested, I'd already have switched off and gone elsewhere.

Please keep us updated on this James.


In one way I feel vindicated, because I always said the refuelling ban was a bad idea, yet I am devastated at just how much damage to the show this ruling has caused. For today's race winner, Fernando Alonso, to come out with comments like that is embarrassing for the sport. Anyone with eyes can see that Fernando is spot on, and that is very troubling indeed.

It is not just the aerodynamics, the tyres, fuel loads or double diffusers that are to blame. It is the design of the majority of the new circuits and the butchering of existing classics that have seriously holed this sport.

Sector two of the Manama circuit proves this. It is mickey mouse, slow, and reminds me of my local arrive and drive go cart track. The excuse given for the redesign that has 'slowed' the cars down and lengthened the track was to 'improve the show'. At best baffling, at worst soul destroying.

Take the once legendary Bus Stop chicane at Spa. One of the best loved chicanes in F1, at the end of a superfast straight, taken away to 'improve the show'. Anyone who remembers Juan Montoya's pass on Michael's Ferrari back in 2004 knows what I am talking about.

The fact remains that if you have a straight long enough and fast enough, you increase the chance of race cars getting into each others slipstream. If you have a tight chicane or corner and the end of it, like turn one at Indy's former F1 track, you have the place for overtaking.

It has always been that way in racing, you have to give the drivers the opportunity to push their cars on a circuit that is designed to reword bravery and skill, not smother it. This is something F1 should have realised years ago.

Having just one track designer, Herman Tilke, is a disgusting oversight by Bernie Ecclestone. Personal friendships aside, one man having that much of a monopoly on such an important subject is never a good thing.

Your idea is good James Allen, but only for the short term to patch things over. F1 has to wake up before it hits the skids for good.

michael grievson

People have been saying this fr years. It falls on deaf ears. The powers that be aren't interested in what the fans want. Dispute pretending they do with all these fan surveya


The only realistic short term fix is softer tyres to ensure two pitstops but nobody has thought of the consequences :

These 2010 cars can't be driven flat out for the duration of the race because they can't carry enough fuel !!

Races will have to be shortened to compensate so the fans get shortchanged anyway.

And did I really hear a RACING driver say cheerily that it was easier this year because you don't drive flat out ? Jenson - you should be just as annoyed about that as your fans.

I usually arrange my boating weekends around F1 races. Not this year : with the exception of Monaco and Silverstone I'm now only going to watch the highlights.

Like quite a few on this forum I've been watching F1 and LeMans continuously for almost 50 years.

James : Please tell Bernie in all those years I've never been so disappointed.


I had more fun watching paint dry!
I'm sorry, but what a waste of time that was! I too am cancelling our trip to the Montreal GP. I can definetly get more for my money elsewhere!


More fun in your last line than in the entire GP I've just endured. (and I can't believe I just said that after a build up bordering on fanatical!). Thanks for putting a smile back!


I have watched F1 for over thirty years and if today's race is a snap shot of how the season will unfold then its over for me, I will probably stick with it until the Monaco race to see if it improves.

A few suggestions I would add to the mix is 1. Possibly add sensors to the cars so they can lock on to each other then all drivers bar the lead driver could have a snooze just like the viewers and when they wake up they could perform tricks in the cock pit to spice things up a little. Points could be awarded to the driver that juggles apples while in the middle of a hairpin bend.

2. Have a middle stint with the drivers wife, girl friend or male partner (if that way inclined) takes the wheel.

3. Introduce 70mph speed limits and deduct points for anyone breaking the speed limit.

4. Scrap racing and just have qualifying.


5. Reintroduce refuelling.

Joking aside the show needs to improve dramatically or even ardent f1 fans like myself will give up this was not racing today. Lets face it whatever Alonso might say there was not a pups chance he would have passed Vettel (without mechanical faults) as we did hear that his engine temperature was rising when he got anyway close.

James I agree with most others that you have a very good and informative site here and I hope that the FIA members log on and read some of the comments on this article as the general consensus is very negative towards the way F1 is heading.


if it was a dull race the comments only get duller! when was F1 ever entertaining, at least by the standard that people imagine in these post? i admit to being a relative newby, by which I mean 2001, but F1 has always been about dullness and lots of talking afterwards. Just like football. You want excitement? switch to basketball, there´s scoring at a very frequent rate.

In IMHO there´s a lot of sour grapes around: come next race and if Hammy boy strikes a win, which he will sooner or later, and more often than not, all of you 2010 haters will be talking of the prospects of the season, and you WILL have been there to watch it.

Which is what F1 is and has been of late anyways...


I think Pat hit the nail on the head- what's missing here is a tyre war. That will force the tyre manufacturers to push the envelope a bit. It'll be interesting to see when Bridgestone leave whether the FIA will put out a single tender or whether there will be the option to have multiple suppliers.

James- do you have any insight why no tyre suppliers seem to want to supply Formula One at the moment? Is it just too costly? Do the teams pay for tires or are Bridgestone expected to supply them for the sake of sponsorship?

Having said that I've never liked Bahrain much. Australia is the normal season opener for good reason- it always produces exciting races. Let's wait until Melbourne before we get too carried away.

Refuelling is a red herring IMO. All it did was to provide an artificial opportunity to pass during dull races like Hungary. Reinstating it is not getting to the root of the problem; it's just papering over the cracks.


would a ban on tyre warmers be such a bad thing for safety really given the slow pace of the backmarkers anyway?

Leaders struggling to warm up tyres whilst trying to hold position would be very exciting imo.



Personally, I didn't see the race weekend as dull whatsoever. There were great stories here...

Schumacher coming into the sport after 3yrs to finish 6th... and be out raced by Rosberg all weekend long has zero to do with preserving tires.

Lotus, like the last of the new entries, under M. Gascoyne, build cars and races each to the finish line is remarkable. Watch for this team to do great things.

Which reminds me...

Force India? In two years, they have grown to become a really slick, respectable car on the grid. Giving Lotus some thing to aim for!

Massa. He took a bump to the head last year which would have finished me and most of my friends off... and finished third in the race. Good work.

You are not 2x world champion by fluke. Alonzo, on January 1 2010, started the season as class of the field. So, in relative terms, I'd way rather listen/ read what Fernando has to say compared w/ M. Schumacher following his sensationally dominant seasons (most of which seemed to have escaped this audience for boredom ratings).

Did I mention Rosberg? 5th place! Awesome. Or have defending Constructors World Champion Brawn dropped a little?

Frankly, even Renault impressed today. It was a bucket of bolts in 2009.

But for me, the story of the weekend is the resilient Rubens Barichello with the solid 10th place finish. Having seen darker days, it is awesome to see the pure 'constructor team' Williams in the mix with a very stable, solid and balanced machine.

And there was lots of overtaking in the race... so I'm not sure which broadcast many of you were watching.

But I'd be completely remiss if I didn't mention HRT. Next time, tighten the bolts down on the driver's mirrors! They're useful.


Andrew C.


Yeah - i'm wrong, sorry, it was a really interesting race.

Can't think why I thought otherwise - especially as Barichello finished tenth. Amazing.


Just make sure the hard compound doesn't last for more than 1/3 of the race ?


Here's something intresting.

For all the talk of a dull race, There was apparently 19 on track passes in todays race, According to this:



Most of them were to do with out of position cars, it would happen in almost any season. A fast car at the back will overtake the slower cars (Raikkonen 22nd to 3rd - 2006)


Here are all the overtaking moves you mentioned.

L2 - BUE pass KOV (major speed differential)

L2 - KUB pass TRU (major speed differential)

L2 - KUB pass GRA (major speed differential)

L2 - KUB pass GLO (major speed differential)

L2 - SUT pass TRU (major speed differential)

L3 - KUB pass KOV (major speed differential)

L4 - SUT pass GLO (major speed differential)

L5 - SUT pass KOV (major speed differential)

L6 - HUL pass SEN ((major speed differential)

L10 - DLR pass KOB (lost power steering)

L13 - GLO pass KOV (genuine driver move)**

L13 - HUL pass TRU (major speed differential)

L14 - KOV pass GLO (hydraulic failure)

L15 - TRU pass GLO (hydraulic failure)

L17 - WEB pass BUE (new tires)

L17 - HUL pass KOV (major speed differential)

L19 - HAM pass BAR (new tires)

L22 - LUI pass BUE (new tires)

L23 - BAR pass BUE (new tires)

L24 - KUB pass DLR (hydraulic failure)

L25 - KUB pass BUE (new tires)

L34 - ALO pass VET (spark plug failure)

L35 - MAS pass VET (spark plug failure)

L38 - HAM pass VET (spark plug failure)

I'd say there is NO significant overtake to consider from here, the most genuine overtake if which is truly down to skill other than anything is the GLO pass KOV on L13.

Ironically, which was made possible because both cars had lower aerodynamic grip available and hence both of them were able to dog-fight for many corners.

If you want a PREVIEW of what's possible and a recipe for overtaking, look no further!!!!!


Well done the FIA, they've pulled boredom out of potentially the most exciting season in a couple of decades.

Obviously when you have the most close and exciting racing in the last couple of seasons compared with the previous two decades you do need to make changes, the contrary view is (if it ain't broken, don't fix it!). You must put a stop to it in case F1 fans start to expect excitement in every race.

So claim to be reducing costs - but force every team to design a completely new car just to fit the enlarged fuel tank - not cheap I suspect!

Then when the outcome is inevitably a procession, blame it all on the track.

Many people don't want re-fuelling during the race but the fact is that it is absolutley essential from the viewers perspective until the FIA create rules on aerodynamics which allow the best drivers to progress to the front without help from the re-fuelling stops.

When the FIA achive this (it's currently succesful in Indycars on the oval tracks) we will have found SHANGRILA and I will be a devoted fan to my death.

Until this can be achieved re-fuelling is the only realistic way that tactics can shape the final outcome of any Grand Prix.

Two more races like Sunday's and I will turn off the tv on Sunday afternon (GP Day) for the first time in my adult life.


Dave Rylett


Yes, yes and yes.


It's the stupid aerodynamics, stupid. The cars can't follow each other, and need to stay 1s behind, which means they can't attack, even if the driver in front makes a small mistake.
The Overtaking Work Group, did NOT do it's job, worse still FIA let in the double difuser and now the McLaren aero cheat.
They NEED to cut the turbulence down to manageable levels by whatever means necessary.
We ALL knew that years ago, but the "pass via pitstop", masked that.
Now the chickens come home to roost, and it too late to do anything for 2010 !
(once an F3 driver)


The incredible thing is that not 1 of the teams has said the issue is aero related and why would they? They've all invested millions of $'s in developing windtunnels, which would be wasted with cut down aero regulations. This needs to be pushed through by the FIA.


Give Bernie a copy of the movie "Death Race"


Gee... No refuel + Serious Aero + 4000 Corners = Procession.... Who would have thunk it....

Looks like it's going to be as bad as you would expect without refueling. Too bad given the field this year that could have generated REAL interest...


The highlight of the race for me was having James Allen back on TV doing reports for One HD!


Cheers. I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to doing a whole weekend live in Melbourne



Having watched F1 now for some 20 years, I'm amazed that the people in F1 still refuse to acknowledge how to fix the real problem in the sport, the lack of on-track passing. It's really a simple solution...as you said, bring the tyres closer together, but also, make the basic aero parts of the car the same as the GP2 cars (the bottom & rear in particular). How can GP2 cars run nose to tail, have great on-track scraps combined with exciting passing moves and F1 can't? And spare me the argument of standardization. It's already here. ECU's, gearboxes, suspension are all the same so out with that position. If it improves the show, who cares? It'll be a lot better that what's been seen for the last 6, 7 or 8 years.


It was terrible.

Just terrible.

They have stuffed it up by trying to save money on refuelling, money the teams will all now spend trying to replicate McLaren's new aero trick.

Crazy. Get rid of all the aero so you can follow the car ahead and pass if you have the skill/bravery. Bring back refuelling, open the tyre rules so the only rule is that you have to have four on the car at any one time.

This isn't Le Mans. It's not about who can go longest on the least. It's F1. It's MEANT to be a sprint. An exciting sprint.

BTW: You were great on the ONE pre-show James.


Poor Seb, his heart broken by “Luscious Liz”…

It’s not a race to me, it’s a patience contest!


I actually felt when Bridgestone changed to having only 'one step' between their different compounds last year rather than 'two steps' as at the beginning of 2009, it lessened the show. This was because when the two tyres were so different it meant that on some circuits there was one even two seconds difference between the compounds and that made it more interesting as some drivers who got caught out on the wrong compound were "made to look silly" to quote Alonso.

Races such as Spain and Monaco highlighted how interesting having two different compounds of tyre was, and added an extra element along with fuel loads.

Changing the tyres to a 'one step' difference would not spice up the show much at all. Teams will generally qualify on the faster tyre, and it may be with a closer difference between the compounds, different teams will choose different tyres as you suggest James. Conversely though, this will also mean the performance difference will be less on the track - and the contrast between the compounds in the race will also be less. If we take making the two different tyre compounds closer together to the extreme, then we may as well have one tyre compound. Overall, I do not see your suggestion James adding much to the racing.

A better approach would be:

Points for fastest lap.

Tour de France style chicanes (like a roundabout in the middle of the track, so drivers have two paths, and therefore allows overtaking)

Bernie's suggestion of short cuts.

These suggestions may seem a little contrived, but honestly, it would add to the fun. This suggestion of a closer difference between tyre compounds may create some extra interest, but as I have explained, I do not think it will add much.


You just knew that with all the hype and salivating from the fans at the very tasty driver lineups and potential battles that somehow the powers that be would find a way to ruin it.

If I wanted to watch the boring repetition of moving commercial logos I would start watching the ads on TV for 2 hours every Sunday.


Ghastly race. Processional train of boring end-to-end racing. New track layout somehow even less interesting than the old one.

I felt stupid staying up to watch it.


Well said, I think that sums up most F1 fans (me included) if we continue to watch races (there must be a case here on trade description) like that.

Yep, I too felt somewhat stupid I watched every second 🙁


Preparing to be shot down but...

What about leave the fuel/tyres as they are BUT take away all of the telemetry data, heck while I'm at it throw away all the big fancy computers too. Then the drivers and engineers have to set up the cars based on feelings and guess work.

To me it seems like all the fancy science and technology is making it boring cos they are always have an answer for everything. Bring back the human elements and hopefully genuine randomness and racing will come with it.


Give 'em a foot clutch and a gear stick as well - so they have at least the potential to make a mistake - sod the safety aspect of keeping both hands on the steering wheel at all times - outside of the USA I would suggest the majority of road drivers use a manual gear box with a foot clutch - these guy should as well ! the art of "toeing and heeling" is pretty much dead and as Webber said driving an F1 car these days is not the challenge it used to be - the designers / engineers are too influential in the outcome of a race. The scope for little mistakes whilst "coming down" the gearbox which would have led to the rears locking if they got the revs wrong or their fronts locking if they got to a corner too quickly have gone - all these little mistakes by less accurate drivers led to small amounts of tyre degradation in the past which in turn rewarded the more skilled drivers meaning they got more out of their tyres towards the end of a stint or mean't they could stay out while the drivers who were harder on their tyres - or made more mistakes had to pit for new ones - but then of course they were on fresh rubber and could hunt down the drivers who had stayed out - that chase used to be exciting !


That's right - the problem is that no-one makes mistakes because the cars and tyres are too perfect


Yes, I said the same in comment #138!


I think everyone's over-reacting blaming the regulations.

Personally I blame the track. There's always been boring processional races in the past and there will again.

The one near-guarantee to produce a good race is a jumbled up grid. Make all the cars go out at the same time in qualifying, and, this is the important bit.....no blue flags!


I disagree. Bahrain has given us some great passing into Turn 1. However the new section definitely had a negative effect as it spread the field out


Time has come to have a FIA software randomly pick up the grid on Sunday, five minutes before the start of the race! In terms of unpredictability, that would be worse than rain, for sure. Nobody would have the advance knowledge of what strategy, tyre type and set up to use until 5 minutes before the start. If it rained, there would be mayhem - literally! Qualifying can be renamed Speed Test just to allocate one or two points for the fastest car on the grid :=))


I agree with PeteJ (re the track, not the grid shake-up). 4 miles for one lap is too long. The BBC said, on numerous occasions, that no one outside the top 4 on the grid had won at Bahrain. Whilst this could be said of other tracks, Bahrain, coupled with the new rules, meant that this stat was a dead certainty.

We've seen it all before in F1 but no one talks about the "dirty air" the car in front produces which affects the car directly behind it. Alonso would not have caught Vettel if it weren't for the Red Bull's exhaust problem. KERS would be away around this and I'm surprised that even though it's allowed this year, no one has gone for it. Yes, the car would be heavy during qualification, but with that long straight at Bahrain, perhaps places could have be picked up say by a Force India with a KERS button?


I can see a bright side of it all. Now it is obvious and everybody agrees that things are bad, so we should hopefully get a few thinkers start looking for the solutions and as they look for them they must come.


Like so many other contributors, I was disappointed that the pre-season hype didn’t materialise into solid competitive nail-biting racing – that’s what we all were looking forward to, right?!

Only time will tell if this is the seasons pattern to come or not.

Drivers preserving their engines and tyres to NOT race each other hardly made for exciting viewing. As a fan of over 20 years I’m feeling that the taste of the meal didn’t match the delicious mouth-watering smells when being cooked, thus leaving an insipid taste in the mouth for most!

Rather than concentrating on tyres...; let’s face it, how many tyre manufacturers would seek to supply tyres that WOULD degrade and fail at some point in the race thus causing an accident, potential fatality to driver, marshal or fan alike? Right, NONE! Tyres are not the issue, but are symptomatic of the overall problem that F1 cars are about as easy to over-take as Grandma on a heavily winding road doing 25 mph....., without very serious risk of a coming together and a DNF.

Most F1 drivers cut their teeth in the world of karting that basically don’t use aero, just plain old mechanical grip, with adjustable chassis’s and brake-bias and that’s about it. By and large it is the driver as much as the kart that shines through in any race and over-taking is constant, making exceptionally exciting racing. The drivers’ body position alters how the car corners, or brakes, or accelerates...

Are F1 cars not supposed to simply be grown up karts?

We need to find a solution that picks up on some of these inherent strengths and skills from karting and apply it to the so called pinnacle of motor-sport, F1.

Refuelling was only ever a system that broke up the tedium of races turning them into a series of sprints and allowed some drivers to really excel and for the team strategists to use all their brain-power to out-think other teams.

But did it improve racing? Sometimes yes, but dominant cars largely always come to the fore and their respective pilots have the greatest chance of standing atop the podium.

I for one would far rather watch an F1 that relied on mechanical grip, otherwise one may as well raise the cars above the circuit and call it an air-race..., maybe Boeing or Airbus would like to take part then...., now there’s some serious money for Bernie and Co!

Cars inherently stay on the ground and maximising mechanical grip whilst reducing aero dependency would make for more exciting racing, overtaking in abundance and true driver skill more than the individual cars would be the order of the day and the time-sheets.

F1 is supposed to be a spectacle but more than anything else it is supposed to be man and machine in perfect harmony to achieve the best racing results, whilst producing exciting motor-racing for driver, fan, teams and sponsors alike.


I think one of the main turning points was the FIA or whoever accepting the double-decker diffuser as legal. The whole point was to decrease that aero effect at the rear, but a year later teams have capitalised more on this 'loophole'.

They simply cannot follow each other on-track, and why must they abuse their tyres to stay within an attacking-distance when those things need to last? Makes no sense. The pre-season hype also killed everything, I'm sure all fans were expecting an all-out brawl or something.