Formula One world champions Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso have hit out at the 'boo boys' decrying the state of the sport after a less than exciting opening round in Bahrain.
While team bosses discuss ways to improve the spectacle, and the likes of Bernie Ecclestone and reigning world champion Jenson Button call for patience as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction, Schumacher and Alonso have spoken out to defend the status quo
amid accusations that rule changes banning refuelling have made F1 'boring'.
"F1 is not like motorcycle racing, or like basketball - it is F1 and it has always had less overtaking than in other sports," the seven-time champion insisted, "If a football match finishes 0-0, is that necessarily not interesting? If a basketball game is 100-100, is that more exciting?
"Sure we can improve, that is quite clear. There are lots of people who have thought about how we can improve it. We know we would like to improve it, but it is not so easy. It is what it is and the excitement is still there - but differently."
Alonso, meanwhile, was a little more out-spoken, suggesting that no-one was forcing fans to watch.
"We need to be calm and wait some races to see if the new rules have some impact on the show," the Spaniard said. "I don't think it has changed the show. This is about technique, about how precise everything is in terms of the mechanics, the engineering, everything. People who want extra show perhaps need to reconsider if they want to watch F1.
"Last year, Jenson won six or seven [races early on]. Was it boring? Maybe yes, maybe no, but this is F1. Michael won five championships consecutively, but was it boring? Maybe yes, maybe no, but this is F1.
"[Bahrain] was a fight between [Sebastian] Vettel and the two Ferraris, and behind that was a fight between [Nico] Rosberg and [Lewis] Hamilton in the first part, and then between Michael, Jenson and [Mark] Webber in the second part. I think we are in a part of the championship with very interesting races and I think, after these races, we will better know whether [we have] an entertaining show or not."
Alonso, who won in Bahrain in his Ferrari debut, said F1 has never had as much overtaking as other sports and said demands from some for a new rule which forced at least two pit stops per driver per race were misplaced.
Even though he eventually won the opening round, however, Alonso insists that he was not expecting to be setting the pace in Melbourne.
"Performance-wise, Red Bull is a little bit ahead of everybody now," the double world champion claimed, "but it's one thing to be the fastest car, and one thing to win the race."