Ecclestone to scrap F1 points system

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident his proposal for the world drivers' championship to be decided by gold medals awarded to race winners will be implemented next season.

Ecclestone said today he was moved to act by Lewis Hamilton's triumph, when he clinched this year's title by finishing fifth at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

Under the proposed system, which Ecclestone said should be approved by motorsport world governing body FIA next month, Felipe Massa would have won the title because he beat Hamilton 6-5 on race wins.

"It's going to happen," Ecclestone said. "All the teams are happy. The reason this happens is that I get fed up with people talking about no overtaking.

"It's just not on that someone can win the world championship without trying to win the race."

Under the current system, the winner of each grand prix race earns 10 points in the championship standings, with second place worth eight points and third place worth six. Each of the top eight drivers in every race earn points.

Although the new system is designed to add to the drama of F1, Hamilton's title win already featured one of the most exciting ever finishes to a season.

Hamilton lost the fifth place he needed for the title when he was passed by Sebastien Vettel with two laps to go in the season-ending Brazilian GP, but managed to overtake Timo Glock on the last corner of the last lap to become F1's youngest ever world champion.

The 23-year-old Briton beat race-winner Massa by a single point in the overall standings.

Ecclestone was asked if it didn't seem unfair that under his new system, someone could finish second in every race over the season and lose the title to a rival who got lucky and one a single GP.

"You'll have to try harder next year," Ecclestone said.

If the new scoring system was applied retrospectively, there would be as many as 12 different winners in the 58-year history of the championship. Keke Rosberg, for instance, would not have won his 1982 title because he only finished first in a single race.

The medal system, which will be discussed by FIA at the World Motor Sport Council meeting, was not the only change to F1 discussed today.

Ecclestone also announced an agreement with LG Electronics Inc., which will make the South Korean consumer electronics company an official sponsor of F1, with its exclusive branding on broadcast of the sport.

Ecclestone and LG refused to discuss the financial details of the five-year contract, which comes into effect from next season, but suggested that the sport could benefit from tailor-made technology designed by the company as it tries to boost its profile.

"I don't like the word 'sponsor,"' Ecclestone said. "'Sponsor' makes it sound as though we need help, which is not the case. What I'm much happier about is that we're able to use a lot of the technology from LG."

Ecclestone said he was confident that F1 could withstand the global financial crisis without ill effects, but that it was too soon to make definitive statements about the sport's future.

"The world is and will be affected for sure," Ecclestone said. "It's pretty obvious that maybe promoters are affected by crowds being smaller. We need to wait and see. The world needs to wait and see. We can't say what will happen in six months."