Schuey gives F1 changes the thumbs up

Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher has given a cautious thumbs up to the changes the FIA has made to Formula 1, which come into effect during this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, and has pointed out how much more significant Friday's running will become under the new format

Schuey gives F1 changes the thumbs up

Schumacher and Ferrari dominated in 2002 and are clear favourites again this season. But new regulations, including a new tighter points system, one-lap qualifying and cars having to start the race with the same tyres and fuel load they finished with in qualifying, are likely to mix up the field and create closer racing. Despite this threat to his current superiority, the five-times world champion is in favour of spicing up F1.

"I do realise that it is necessary to improve F1 as a spectacle and make it more easily accessible for potential sponsors," said Schumacher. "The entire world economy is going through difficult times and some teams have also been affected, so I think these changes are a move in the right direction.

"They won't alter my attitude towards the race weekend, but will undoubtedly affect the preparation, in particular because the Friday is now much more important. I would like to get a better idea before giving my verdict on the changes.

"On the other hand, I think I know enough about the world of racing to know that it is nonsense to worry about the implications of events before they have even taken place. I believe we can do this thing though."

Schumacher, who has always been an advocate of banzai qualifying laps and has frequently expressed his fondness for exploring a car's limits, is sad to see the old qualifying format where cars ran in low fuel trim disappear.

"I'm not too keen on the idea of not allowing supplies [tyres and fuel] between the second qualifying session and the race. I have also enjoyed the implicit challenge of searching for the perfect set-up in qualifying; I feel that in this way you lose an exciting spectacle, for the spectators too.

"Maybe the 'spirit of qualification' will exist on the Friday, but that doesn't count towards the starting positions. All in all it is a new type of Formula 1. Saying this, I have always liked the idea of a single fast lap. It will be more entertaining."

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