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Williams and Whitmarsh worried by lack of race action

NEWS STORY
15/03/2010

After five months of anticipation, in many ways the Bahrain Grand Prix was one long anti-climax, the lack of action leaving fans fearing another season of 'same old, same old'.

Despite the rule changes, the fan surveys and media hype, the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix was a procession with the order of the leading ten cars at the end of the race little changed from the order they emerged from the first corner.

Despite its self-proclaimed title as the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula One cannot take itself for granted, not only must it tell everyone it is the best form of motorsport it must prove it.

A sport that has already put itself up for public ridicule in recent years what with all manner of scandals involving crashes, spying, lying and whipping, Formula One really needs this opportunity to redeem itself, to demonstrate that all the money invested is worthwhile.

As manufacturers walk away from the sport and entrepreneurs are invited to make up the numbers, the 60th Anniversary celebrations assure us that all is well, that business is booming, but the reality is that fans are beginning to lose faith.

Speaking in the wake of yesterday's race, McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh and veteran privateer Frank Williams both admitted that something is wrong and that the sport must heed the warning.

Describing the lack of overtaking "very worrying", Williams blamed track layouts, an argument put forward by fans for as long as anyone can remember, "There's no magic formula," he said, according to the Guardian, "but the one change that might help is a different style of circuits with longer straights and wide run-off areas."

Whitmarsh points to the new rules introduced for 2010, claiming that there should be two mandatory pit stops. "We were one of three teams that said we should have two mandatory pit stops because we were worried about people one-stopping," he admitted. "I think we have to re-examine that. The tyres were also much closer in the race than we expected and they determined the spectacle. There was no real serious degradation of the tyres."

Over the course of the coming days, weeks and months we shall no doubt here more and in time the Overtaking Working Group will come up with a new set of ideas.

However, it is the very fact that F1 needs an Overtaking Working Group in the first place that makes it all so laughable, does football need a Goal Scoring Group, rugby a Try Scoring Group or cricket a Run Scoring Group?

In addition to following the fans advice and looking at circuit design - something that is never going to happen under the sport's current management - F1 must also heed what fans have been saying for years, stop the gimmicks and novelties and take a serious look at why cars are unable to overtake. It might be aerodynamics but it is not rocket science.

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