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Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Sunday, 14 March 2010

Michael Schumacher raises doubts about F1 rule changes

Michael Schumacher

New rules mean less racing - Schumacher

Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher aired doubts about changes to Formula 1's rules for 2010 after his return to the sport in Bahrain.

The 41-year-old finished sixth in his first grand prix for four years, won by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

"Overtaking was basically impossible unless somebody made a mistake," the German said following the race.

"That is the action we are going to have with this kind of environment of race strategy."

The changes for 2010 include a ban on refuelling during a race, which means cars must run with a full load at the start, while the top 10 drivers on the grid must begin the race on the tyres they used in the final qualifying session.

You start with fuel, you do one stop and it's pretty much a train all the way

Lewis Hamilton

The alterations place a premium on tyre management, and drivers must use both soft and hard tyre compounds while the race is in progress.

"The new rules with the tyres that everybody has to cope with - I struggle a little bit with those," admitted Schumacher.

"But after three years I guess it's natural you have to find your way into new bits and pieces."

Schumacher's greater concern will be over his own lack of pace, particularly in comparison with team-mate and fellow German Rosberg, who held him off to finish, as he started, in fifth place.

Race winner Alonso, who passed team-mate Felipe Massa on the second corner of the race and then replaced Sebastian Vettel as race leader when the latter suffered suspected exhaust trouble, agreed the refuelling ban raised the prospect of some races becoming processional.

"With no refuelling, it will be difficult to see any overtaking, so after the first lap the positions will be set," said Alonso on his Ferrari debut.

Lewis Hamilton, who finished third for McLaren, added: "You start with fuel, you do one stop and it's pretty much a train all the way."

His team-mate, defending world champion Jenson Button, said he hoped future races would prove more entertaining.

"The first lap is definitely your best chance of overtaking," admitted Button.


"It might throw up a few more strategies in the race - I hope it does, because run like that every race, it's not the most exciting.

"I think I was a little bit conservative but we are all learning the new regulations."

Before the season, the teams, worried that the refuelling ban would lead to processional races, discussed introducing a rule that would force drivers to make two stops.

Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn told BBC Sport the teams would review that decision after a few races to give the new rules time to settle down.

Former world champion Alain Prost, a race steward in Bahrain, believes concerns about the refuelling ban will ease as the season progresses.

"They have got used to a sprint - in free practice, qualifying, race. And having 60kg of fuel or 10kg makes no difference," he told BBC Sport.

"When you start with 160kg you have to think differently, and they are not used to that.

"After a few races, I am sure the good drivers, the top drivers, will like it."

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Bahrain Grand Prix

RaceLast updated: 15 Nov 2012 12:33 UK
Position Country Driver Race Time
1 spain F Alonso 1:39:20.396
2 brazil F Massa 1:39:36.495
3 great britain L Hamilton 1:39:43.578
4 germany S Vettel 1:39:59.195
5 germany N Rosberg 1:40:00.609
6 germany M Schumacher 1:40:04.559
7 great britain J Button 1:40:05.676
8 australia M Webber 1:40:06.756
9 italy V Liuzzi 1:40:13.404
10 brazil R Barrichello 1:40:22.885

see also
Alonso triumphs as Vettel fades
14 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
We can match Ferrari - Hamilton
14 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Bahrain Grand Prix race results
18 Feb 10 |  Results
Bahrain Grand Prix photos
14 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Bahrain GP as it happened
14 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Prost backs race refuelling ban
14 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Vettel stuns Ferrari to grab pole
13 Mar 10 |  Formula 1

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