Ashling O’Connor: ‘Sexing up’ F1 by doubling points or golf by offering cash for a  hole-in-one on a par four is ridiculous – the sport alone is enough

Blood-pumping pride of victory is motivation enough – and a £250,000 cheque

What’s wrong with simply playing the game as it was originally intended? Isn’t the highest level of sport executed by the best talent in the world enough?

I refer, exasperated, of course to the latest attempts by organisers of top events to tinker with the rules to “make it more exciting”. Despite vehement objections from within Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone is intent on applying his idea of double points for the final grand prix of the 2014 season to the preceding two races in Austin and Sao Paulo.

Sebastian Vettel, the defending champion whose dominance the proposal is designed to curtail, has unsurprisingly described it as “absurd”. (It wouldn’t have stopped him winning last season anyway.)

Most Formula One fans – who, let’s face it, are devotees who understand the nuances of their sport – are also largely opposed to it. They don’t want to see the rest of the season devalued in favour of a finale that amounts to a powerplay on wheels. It’s up there with drivers rotating cars from race to race.

And the teams hate the concept too. Yet they seem resigned to trialling it for the last race in Abu Dhabi. The argument that it will keep TV ratings high to the season’s end and thus keep sponsors, advertisers and rights-holders happy is compelling enough to give it a go.

But it is pretty insulting to suggest that Formula One fans are so fickle as to switch off just because one of the best drivers – perhaps the best – who has ever sat in a cockpit is routinely giving his rivals a masterclass.

The test of Formula One is supposed to be about consistent excellence over a season, not a lucky couple of races at the tail end.

This unnecessary urge to “sex it up” is also on show in golf, where the organisers of the Dubai Desert Classic this week are offering a $2.5m (£1.5m) prize to anyone who can make a hole-in-one on the 17th.

It is all about blind luck as players cannot even see the pin from the tee on the par four, which will be shortened to 325 yards for the final two rounds.

Rory McIlroy, whose victory at the tournament in 2009 was his first as a professional, said he would have to go for  it even if it put his lead at risk because it was “an incentive”.

What about old-fashioned winning as an inducement? The blood-pumping pride of victory should be motivation enough but the title already comes with a £250,000 winner’s cheque. And McIlroy is hardly strapped for cash.

Such a gimmick demeans the worth of the title, not enhances it. It cheapens sport, whose purity should be meddled with as little as possible, not bent to the will of a commercial circus.

Both these stunts should be consigned to sport’s Room 101, with the glowing puck, the banning of the dunk in 1960s college basketball, silver and golden goals, aggregate qualifying in Formula One, the Stanford Super Series and Andy Townsend’s Tactics Truck. The sport alone does it for me.

Let’s raise a glass to Lottie

I had half an ear on a BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in this week (I know, why?) and caught a bit of a rant from one listener about the England captain causing consternation with an ill-advised remark about heavy drinking.

What, I wondered, had Steven Gerrard, Chris Robshaw or Alastair Cook said to provoke such ire? But it was none of them taking the flak from “outraged of Tunbridge Wells”. It was Charlotte Edwards, the women’s cricket captain, who apparently should have known better than to say that she would be celebrating her team’s retention of the Ashes in Australia by “getting absolutely smashed”.

Hallelujah, I thought. Finally, some equal billing. You can bet if any of those male captains had said the same thing it would be splashed across the next day’s newspapers about how poor a role model he was being to all those kids who hero-worship him.

It’s a stock reaction: England captain says or does something silly and it is blown out of all proportion, dressed up as “news” and subjected to all manner of analysis about the immorality of modern sport.

This time it just happened to be a woman on the receiving end. So, I know it is totally perverse to be delighted but I think it marks real progress in the coverage of women’s sport.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas