F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has dashed hopes that a swift rule change might help to re-inject an element of excitement and exhilaration into the racing in the top flight after the curtain-raising 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir was panned as 'boring' and an anti-climax to a winter of fevered anticipation – by revealing that the unpopular regulations being blamed for the monotony are set in stone.
The ban on refuelling has been pinpointed as the root cause of the almost complete lack of overtaking that blighted the race in the baking heat of the desert sun at the weekend, with the onus having now shifted from on-track aggression to tyre management and fuel conservation, depriving fans of any real thrill factor and turning the afternoon into a bland, lifeless procession.
That has led to calls for immediate amendments to be made to the rules – with the most popular proposal that of making two pit-stops compulsory per grand prix, thereby encouraging drivers to push harder and take more risks, in the knowledge that they will be able to dispense of their worn rubber rather sooner [see separate story – click here
However, Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone is adamant that having made their bed in agreeing to the new regulations, the teams must henceforth lie in it – explaining that the re-introduction of refuelling is not an option due to the radically different designs of 2010 cars to accommodate the much larger fuel tanks, and arguing that in any case it is now too late to do anything about the current situation, one that he insists is not a 'crisis' [see separate story – click here
“Some might wonder why the teams have options on tyres at all,” the British billionaire told the Daily Telegraph
. “Maybe if we only gave them a soft compound they would have to stop twice, but I am not sure that they will vote unanimously for the mandatory two-stop race which Red Bull proposed.”
“We cannot change the rules,” the 79-year-old added, speaking to German publication Bild Zeitung
. “It would take far too long and it's too difficult – F1 is now a democracy. All the teams voted for these rules, so now they must also deal with them.”