Schumacher defends F1 spectacle
Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher has hit back at those who labelled the opening grand prix of the season as boring.
The curtain-raising race in Bahrain was criticised by some fans and pundits for its lack of overtaking and drama, with new rules for 2010 being blamed.
But Mercedes driver Schumacher defended F1 ahead of Sunday's Australian GP.
"It is not motorcycle racing, it has always had less overtaking - the excitement is still there for fans."
This season has seen refuelling banned for the first time since 1993, which means cars must run with a full load from the start.
The other major rule change stipulates that the top 10 drivers on the grid must begin the race on the tyres they used in the final qualifying session.
It's much too early to jump to conclusions and we should not react in an emotional way
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali
The new regulations were designed to encourage more competitive racing, but instead produced a race bereft of overtaking opportunities at the Sakhir track.
After the race, McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton expressed concerns over the difficulty of overtaking resulting from the new refuelling ban.
But speaking after his victory in Bahrain, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso called on his rivals to give the new rules more time.
The two-time world champion said: "I think many of us gave some hot-headed comments immediately after the race in Bahrain.
"It's too early to talk about changing the rules."
Schumacher, who made his F1 debut in 1991, echoed Alonso's sentiments, saying that his long experience of the sport told him that the lack of overtaking in Bahrain was more the rule than the exception.
"The matter of fact is there was no overtaking," Schumacher said. "But tell me when there has been more overtaking? Formula 1 has always had this situation.
"There are very clever people always thinking how to improve, make things better... its not so easy."
Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn told BBC Sport before the season that the teams would review that decision after a few races to give the new rules time to settle down.
And McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh and his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner have both suggested there should be two mandatory tyre stops during each race in an attempt to produce more exciting finishes.
But Alonso, who secured his first victory in his debut race for Ferrari in Bahrain, has pleaded for patience.
"We have to wait and see different races and check the situation, without being emotional," said the Spaniard.
"Something that confuses the fans is changing the rules all the time."
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali echoed Alonso's views, suggesting his rival teams should assess the new rules as the season progresses.
"It's much too early to jump to conclusions and we should not react in an emotional way," Domenicali said.
"We must wait and see how the races evolve throughout the season and then the subject can be studied calmly based on sufficient evidence."