Formula 1 chiefs need to go much further than just tweaking tire rules or making pit stops mandatory if they are going to make the racing more exciting. That is the view of Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber, who thinks that wide scale changes are going to be needed to make overtaking easier – after confessing he was "shocked" at how difficult it now is get past someone with the 2010 generation of cars.
With F1 under the spotlight after a less than thrilling season opener in Bahrain, Webber believes the sport needs to find a way back to allow drivers to battle each other – something he thinks is now impossible.
"I think we can have as many pit stops as we want, but people want action on the track – and so do the drivers," Webber told AUTOSPORT in the build-up to his home race in Australia. That is the thing we have been trying to solve for lots of years, but if you watch a touring car race, they are not passing each other every lap.
"I think the balance of the last few years was right – you don't want an IRL race, where they are passing each other 10 times a lap – you want a move that if it sticks it is very good and it is a quality move with a lot of respect between two drivers."
He added: "The thing that disappointed me the most in Bahrain was I expected it [overtaking] to be tough, but there wasn't even a chance, not a sniff, of getting something. That was the biggest shock – it was like bloody hell!
"When Jenson [Button] got to Michael [Schumacher] I thought he might have a chance, because he has got a good top-speed advantage, and Jenson knows how to overtake – but it wasn't easy. That was just the surprise to me – not having even a sniff. In the past, you got a few sniffs here and there and you could maybe have a crack, but it was a different ballgame in Bahrain."
Webber does not believe that the spectacle in Melbourne, or in Malaysia next weekend, will be much better than was witnessed in the first race of the season.
"I think it will be similar to Bahrain," he said. "Unfortunately, this is the way that races are. I think people will stop at a similar time, and that is the fastest way to do the races.
"In Malaysia it is even longer for us to do a pit stop, with the pit lane being longer, so all those types of things mean you don't want to be spending much time in the pit lane because you can't have a light car and explode by doing a short strategy to try and get ahead of somebody.
"Maybe with Michael I could have done something different last week, but you have fewer options. It is the same for everybody and that is the way it is. So people are [figuring out] how to do the race so they don't lose positions, and that means where you qualify is very important."
When asked if there was a fear of the situation being repeated for the remaining races of the season, he said: "I don't think it will happen for 18 races. I think we will find ways...it is a learning curve for all of us.
"All of us had a fair idea of how the races might go, but you are never sure until you actually get the gloves off in terms of how people will really do their race. People might have a different opinion this weekend on Sunday about how they might do it, and might think, 'Let's do it differently.' We can only think what we are thinking."
Jenson Button thinks all of F1's stakeholders need to get together and sort out a solution to the problem if the entertainment factor does not improve in the next few grands prix.
"The last race was not the most exciting from a fan's point of view, but I think we can improve it, and it takes all of us to look at what happened and not get too worried about it," he said in Australia. "We hope that this race is better, and we can look at this race and the one in Malaysia...we can't just point fingers – we all need to work on improving the spectacle if it is not there."