The Formula One drivers’ championship will be decided today in a race where double points will be awarded for the first – and potentially last – time.
Bernie Ecclestone’s decision to offer double points for the final race of the season, to increase the likelihood of the title being decided at the final round, was met with derision by fans of the sport. In an F1 Fanatic poll, 96% showed a preference for scrapping the plan.
Team bosses, former champions and even current racers – who are normally reluctant to criticise Formula One – have added their voices to the widespread condemnation of the plan, with only a small handful able to find anything positive to say about it.
While Ecclestone originally tried to have the plan extended to offer double points for the final three races, he has recently indicated it will be dropped for 2015.
That leaves today’s race as potentially a one-off. Given Mercedes’ performance, double points remains unlikely to affect the outcome of the drivers’ championship (see below), it could influence other positions in the final outcome, including the constructors’ championship ranking, which determines how much money the teams receive.
How double points could decide the title outcome
What they say about double points
For the future I wouldn’t perhaps advise it for the following years.
The concept is really artificial, I don’t like it and that is a pity, but that is the way it is and we have got to accept it.
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Whatever the situation will be I am not a fan of the double points, as I don’t understand the reason behind it.
I don’t know [if he would have been happy to win the championship in 2008 with double points]. Maybe it can be worse now.
I think it’s impossible to say ‘it’s stupid’, or, ‘it’s a good thing’ before it happens. It’s a crazy thing, but maybe it’s interesting and we’ll see.
To be honest, I think that when you have a very good championship, it could even help make it better. If you don’t have a good championship, it doesn’t change anything.
I think it will create a much better final race where things can completely change for everyone.
Past champions and others
I was never in favour of double points because it’s artificial. Maybe sometimes it could be good for the interest of the championship. But I don’t like very much the idea of a race giving more points than another.
With the new points regulations it could be catastrophic – I would not have won those two championships because of it. I don’t think it’s a brilliant idea, it’s not good at all.
I think it’s a terrible idea. It’s showing that Formula One right now there’s no way to invent any more to try and create some interest. It’s overly artificial, just the way the rules are in general with the DRS and everything.
But at least that one with the points is the same for everyone. Everyone knows before the start of the season that at the end of the season there will be a double-point race. I’m not sure what the purpose is apart from keeping the Abu Dhabi organisers, who spend millions to have a race, trying to keep the interest until their own race.
I’m not a supporter. I don’t think they should be there. We have to keep it pure. I don’t think it’s going to add anything to the season.
I’m sitting on the fence with the double points at the last race because I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing.
I’d hate for either one of them to go into the last race and have a mechanical and lose the world championship because of double points.
It will make things exciting. I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s stupid but why isn’t it a good idea? Maybe it’s a great idea. It’s all artificial anyway.
I hope the result doesn’t get affected because of the double points, because that will be raised down the years.
It was a stupid thing to bring in so let’s hope we’ve seen the last of it. It should have been cancelled before this race happened. It’s a shocker but we’ll have to live with it for this race.
With the double points in Abu Dhabi, you would hope that the champion is not the one that wins because of that. Because there will always be an asterisk [alongside his name].
But then again, he’s still the champion.
Purely a commercial gimmick. I think it’s totally and utterly wrong. This means of trying to artificially change the results of championships or races is something which is not in the true spirit of what we should be trying to achieve.
Formula One figures
[It] just seems to me to be cheapening the sport. It makes it just a little bit WWF* to me.
*World Wrestling Federation, now World Wrestling Entertainment
I think when it was decided we didn’t put too much emphasis on it, we didn’t think it was a big drama. It’s clear that you have to support the commercial rights holder and if TV audience dropping I think we have an obligation to listen.
When we got the reaction afterwards it was not what we expected. You have to honour that and I think nothing has changed since then. The last race remains double points. Let’s see what we are able to do next year.
Toto Wolff (in March)
Exactly the same as what Toto was saying.
We have to understand the fans and their criticisms of certain aspects of the sport. Should we have agreed to double points? No, we shouldn’t have.
Toto Wolff (in June)
I can’t say I like this idea very much as it seems rather artificial and not very sporting.
Luca di Montezemolo
I think of course the fans’ opinions matter and I think that I don’t think it’s any secret that I wasn’t particularly in favour of it.
I can understand why the governing body and the promoter are keen to keep the championship alive until the last race but two out of the last four years it’s gone to the last race under the previous points scoring system.
The fact it came to us, that’s good for Abu Dhabi, it will keep things exciting to the last minute – I feel the mentality of the drivers will change.
Yas Marina chief executive Al Tareq al-Ameri
I was surprised to get so much emotion for this thing that I do not feel is a huge change in F1. But again we need to listen to that and hopefully we will take that into consideration.
The double points is a fake fix. What’s better is to solve the issue and make the racing more compact.
[Critics of double points] don’t know why it’s a bad idea. They have no idea why.
Bernie Ecclestone (in January)
One race is stupid but imagine if it was the last three races. It means that somebody would have to have a 150-point advantage minimum to be sure they will win. The teams have not accepted it because they are bloody idiots.
Bernie Ecclestone (in November)
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