Robert Kubica says he is surprised by the furor over the lack of overtaking in Bahrain, and does not think the new rules have made passing much more difficult than it has been in previous years.
The Renault driver admitted he would rather overtaking was easier, but that he had never expected to see a lot of wheel-to-wheel action in Formula 1, and does not think that will ever be the case.
"I don't think overtaking three years ago was easier than now," said Kubica. "It has always been very difficult. There is a lot of talking going on.
"Of course, it would be nice from the drivers' point of view if it was easier to overtake, because, in the end, we are racers and it's always good to have the possibility. For example, I was two seconds quicker than the other cars in Bahrain and it was not possible to overtake. It was annoying, but that's how it is.
"It was like this when I joined Formula 1, and it is like this now. We went from grooves to slicks, to narrow tires, to a completely different aerodynamic concept. There are many factors that, put together, make overtaking very difficult, and it will be like this forever unless you take road cars and paint them like F1 cars.
"It's normal that the higher category you go to, the harder overtaking is. I just say that it looks like it is more difficult [in 2010] because somehow you have to not think about this lap, but to bring the car home. The new regulations, the refueling ban, put much more stress into everything and make it more difficult."
Kubica believes the removal of midrace refueling has added to the challenge for drivers and engineers even if it has not had a positive effect on the spectacle.
"I don't know if we were expecting some completely different races. What we have seen in Bahrain is what I was expecting, so there was no real surprise, at least for myself," he said. "Actually, from my point of view, there were some interesting factors to discover, which makes our life a bit different than it was in the past. I was expecting a completely different race from a driver's point of view and an engineer's point of view, and it was. But from a show point of view, I don't think it was worse than it was last year. It was the same.
"It's different racing, you have to maybe take more care of these issues like tire wear, brake wear and temperatures overall, depending on your position and strategy. I found it quite an interesting experience in Bahrain and I learned new things.
"But for sure the race is much slower than it was – you are lapping eight seconds off the pace compared to qualifying, so it's like you're lapping in slow motion. It puts you in a different situation. In the past, the races were much quicker, you were burning down the fuel and changing the tires twice so tire wear was not so important. Now everything is happening slower."