F1: Bernie Ecclestone in favour of extending double-points scheme to final three races despite negative reaction to new ruling
Fans, drivers and teams have expressed their concern at a 'lottery' final race where double-points would be on offer
Thursday 30 January 2014
Bernie Ecclestone has followed his controversial double-points ruling with the admission that he would like to extend it to the last three races of the Formula 1 season as opposed to the current plan for the final race to have twice the reward on offer.
The introduction of the scheme has been criticised by fans, drivers and teams who feel that it offers an unfair advantage given that unreliability could cause a serious swing in the championship standings.
However, the BBC report that Ecclestone has written to the teams to confirm his intention to extend the ruling to the final three races of the season, which would fall over the trips to the USA, Brazil and the season-closing Abu Dhabi.
The move would require a unanimous approval from the teams in order to go ahead, although a number of them – including constructors’ champions Red Bull – have expressed their concern with the just one race offering double points, let alone three.
Ecclestone’s desire to introduce the ruling comes after Sebastian Vettel’s winning streak in the second half of the 2013 season turned the sport into a procession, where the result was virtually determined before the lights had gone out.
The German’s dominance led to television audiences tuning out of the final few races, with Vettel wrapping up the title with three races to spare for the second time in three years.
Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo and Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff have both admitted their preference to show caution before making a decision on increasing the number of points available for the final races of the season.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the fans say it is the wrong move, so perhaps it is something we have to revisit,” Wolff suggested.
“Everything is possible. We had another meeting and decided to keep it for the moment. Discussions are ongoing.”
One of Wolff’s drivers, Nico Rosberg, said the decision was “no good” while Vettel said it was “absurd” to make one race worth more than the others.
“I'm sorry to say, but it's no good,” said Rosberg.
“If you get to the last race and, because of this new points system, it remains exciting, I'm sure all the spectators will be sitting in front of the TV and will be excited and happy about it.
“Now we're all sitting here saying it sucks, but maybe by the last race it keeps things exciting.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who is a close friend of Ecclestone’s, said that he didn’t like the idea of having a “lottery” of a last race, but would be in favour of extending the scheme across the final three races to “take away an element of lottery over that last race”.
“For Bernie, he wants to keep the championship alive and the TV ratings high. I think it's too much emphasis on one race,” admitted Horner.
Ecclestone announced he had stepped down from the board of the company which runs F1 following his indictment on bribery charges in Germany earlier this month.
He continues to run the business on a day-to-day basis ahead of the season opening race in Australia on March 16.
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