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Ecclestone: Engineers botched Bahrain

BERNIE Ecclestone wants to stop Formula One's engineers from writing the rules after criticism over a dull season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix poured into his office.

The first race of the year was one of the most eagerly awaited in years as four world champions were on the track. But the race was a flop as new regulations, including a ban on refuelling, led to a procession with almost no overtaking.

Ecclestone, Formula One's commercial rights-holder, believes that allowing the engineers and scientists who work for the teams to write the technical regulations has led to a sport in which staring at computers and worrying about tyre pressures have become more important than the spectacle.

But he does not want a radical overhaul of the new rules yet.

"There is no panic, no crisis for F1," he said. "We should not just knee-jerk into changes. I had a meeting with the teams and tried to explain to them what our business is about -- racing and entertaining the public, not about playing with computers and going fast over one lap.

"The problem is that you cannot have teams in any shape or form having a part in the sporting or technical regulations."

Ecclestone wants to hand the job to a team of outside experts, but that is a long-term objective and the question is whether Formula One needs a rapid change now.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner wants the immediate introduction of two mandatory pitstops to break up the field.

That is likely to be rejected by Jean Todt, the new president of the sport's governing body, the FIA. He will want to see what happens at the next three races, in Australia, Malaysia and China, before making any sweeping alterations.