ISTANBUL, May 6, 2011 (AFP) - Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher heralded this year's Formula One as a major success that is good for the fans and fair for the drivers.
The 42-year-old Mercedes star said the rule-book this season has encouraged overtaking and excitement. It is, he said, a "day and a night of a difference" this year from the past thanks to the introduction of the Drag Reduction System - the adjustable rear wing on the cars - and the use of Pirelli's rapid-wear tyres.
Schumacher, who was fourth in Friday's practice for Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix, said: "I think it is a day and night of a difference, and it is a mega-success what we have been seeing - not just in Shanghai but also in the previous races.
"And that is particularly from a drivers' point of view. The best example I can give you is Fernando Alonso last year in Abu Dhabi. "Clearly he was quicker and fighting for the championship and being stuck in traffic in a normal race situation.
"That used to be our life -- that if you weren't so much quicker and not quick enough on the right points of the track then you wouldn't pass even if you were much quicker than the guy in front of you.
"Now still you need to be quicker than the guy in front of you, otherwise you would not get close to him, but you don't need to be miles quicker and you can play with the various systems in order to make an overtaking possible.
"I think it is more fair because the quickest driver should be in front, and not the one who is driving in front because of tactical reasons, although tactics are still important. "All the elements, they still remain the same, but to me there is more
justice and it is more spectacular. There is fantastic fighting."
Schumacher's enthusiasm for the new rules, that have reintroduced overtaking, are in stark contrast, however, to those of Red Bull's Mark Webber, who drove a remarkable race in Shanghai where he qualified 18th, but finished third.
Webber said: "People talk about overtaking, but the precision has gone out of overtaking. "It is all down to just tactics. You come up to someone like Jenson Button or Nico Rosberg or Fernando. These are quality drivers and they know how to fight, but they have nothing to fight back with and it is not really fair.
"It is just going through the processes. I will be in that situation at some stage, when someone arrives at the back of me and you cannot really fight back. That is how it is these days -- it is tactics and the racing is a lot less.
"There is more racing but, for us, it is a little bit less in terms of the wing and the tyres. "But it looks like the people are happy at home with it. They are enjoying the fighting and, if that is what people are happy with, then that is good for