Greater consultation with the drivers to canvass their opinions could be the way forward for re-injecting some much-needed spice and spectacle into F1, defending world champion Jenson Button has argued – in the wake of a soporific curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir that failed to register so much as a tiny blip on the excitement radar.
With 'Bore-rain' having been largely panned by drivers, teams and spectators alike for its virtual dearth of overtaking and general lack of any real drama or entertainment, the finger of blame has swiftly been pointed at the ban on refuelling introduced for 2010, with the much heavier cars now placing the emphasis on tyre-management and fuel conservation on race day – and relegating attacking aggression and opportunistic brio to a distant secondary concern.
There are widespread fears that the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend could well produce more of the same, and amidst calls for urgent action to be taken to prevent the 2010 campaign from degenerating into a series of dull, fan-alienating processions, Button has proposed a suggestion.
“The drivers have a good understanding of what the car is doing on the circuit and what the possibilities are of improving the car,” the McLaren-Mercedes star is quoted as having said by Planet-F1
. “We know what we need to overtake, and the thing is this season we have taken away a lot of mechanical grip with going to a narrow front tyre. At the same time we have more downforce on the car than we had last year.
“The problem is when you come up behind someone, you lose that downforce and you don't have the mechanical grip you had last year to follow. It is a very tricky situation and I hope it is different here (in Melbourne), but if you look at it, you'd say it is going to be the same as Bahrain.
“Let's not get too carried away, but if the next two races are also not very exciting, then we as F1 need to look at the options – and that's not just pointing a finger at one or two people. We all need to have ideas, and hopefully we [the drivers] are listened to and we can improve the sport.”
The top flight's influential and hugely powerful commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone, however, has repeatedly insisted that 'you cannot have the inmates writing the regulations', instead championing the employment of 'an outside set of engineers' to draw up the rules [see separate story – click here