Will Bahrain axe help struggling teams? image

Mark Webber and David Coulthard have played down suggestions the Bahrain cancellation could play into the hands of F1’s currently weakest teams.

With McLaren’s new MP4-26 not the best car in the field currently in terms of pace or reliability, Lewis Hamilton said he was happy that the championship starting in Australia “gives us more time” to prepare.

“We have some catching up to do and not a lot of time until the season starts,” he said.

BBC commentator and former McLaren driver Brundle agreed: “It (the extra time) will help some teams that were struggling to make fast and reliable cars.

“It will play into their hands,” he told the BBC.

But Mark Webber, with arguably the best car in the field in his hands in the Red Bull RB7, countered: “I don’t think the extra two weeks will make a huge difference.

“It’s the same for everybody. We are always prepared to race in two weeks,” said the Australian.

“The freight will still have to leave for Melbourne pretty early,” added Webber. “I suppose you’ve got another 10 days’ headroom, but it is swings and roundabouts.”

His former Red Bull teammate David Coulthard has a similar opinion.

“This is one area where I don’t necessarily agree with Martin,” the Scot, who will share the BBC commentary box with Brundle in 2011, wrote in his latest Telegraph column.

“From the feedback I am getting, it seems Ferrari and Red Bull are currently at the head of the queue so, by implication, he is suggesting it could help Mercedes and McLaren.

“Yes, McLaren will have an extra two weeks of factory time but so will Ferrari. And with just one test to go they won’t have any more track time to test parts or work on reliability,” Coulthard insisted.