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Formula One boss Bernie Eccles

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone will not have been as happy as those in the scarlet garage after Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello secured an all-Ferrari front row for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

The display of the two Ferraris at Albert Park this week has forced Ecclestone to re-evaluate his position on Schumacher's dominance.

Only on Wednesday the sport's supremo urged the six-time world champion, who secured the 56th pole position of a remarkable career, not to consider retiring because his presence is so beneficial to Formula One.

But after watching both Ferraris clock times more than a second clear of the field in the first two free practice sessions on Friday, Ecclestone admitted it was time for a change of guard.

His opinion is unlikely to have altered on Saturday after Schumacher broke the qualifying lap record to clinch pole.

"We need a new champion," said Ecclestone.

"I thought Kimi Raikkonen might do it this year.

"Ferrari were not supposed to be this fast. They were supposed to have all sorts of problems with their engines, but it doesn't look like it."

Raikkonen qualified in 10th spot on Saturday as the McLarens struggled to match Ferrari, Williams or even BAR.

Today's new-look qualifying session was the first time the fans had a genuine opportunity to see the cars in competitive action after the rule changes caused a lacklustre Friday practice session.

With each car now allowed to run just the one engine all weekend - on penalty of 10 places on the starting grid - all the leading names took yesterday morning gingerly for fear of overworking their race car.

It was a move designed with cost-cutting in mind, but Ecclestone labelled it a "disaster".

He said: "Things have got to change. The formula has changed, and nothing has come out of it. It was supposed to cut the engine costs for the smaller teams, but there have been no good side effects."
 
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