Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2013

F1 demeans itself with double points gimmick

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2013Yesterday’s FIA announcement that double points will be awarded for the last race of 2014 was a worrying sign Formula One’s dependence on gimmicks has become an addiction.

It was met with howls of derision from F1 Fanatic readers. Over 300 comments, the vast majority of which sharply critical of the plan, appeared on the article in less than 12 hours.

Some expressed the hope that this was not a realistic proposal, merely an exercise in off-season headline-grabbing, such as the suggestion that artificial sprinklers could be used to create more wet weather races.

I am not so optimistic. The sprinklers plan was concocted solely by Bernie Ecclestone and mentioned to a few reporters to guarantee F1 a few column inches in the winter months.

But the plan to double points for the final race of the season was unanimously approved by F1’s new Strategy Group and the Formula One Commission, and rubber-stamped by Jean Todt himself.

“These changes are immediately applicable, given the mandate assigned to the FIA President at the last World Motor Sport Council meeting, held on 4 December in Paris,” the FIA press release noted. Double points for the last race of 2014 will happen unless all concerned take their sensible pills over the holidays.

The decision to devalue 18 of the 19 races on the 2014 F1 calendar was taken “to maximise focus on the championship until the end of the campaign”.

One would not have to be unduly cynical to note this unexpected rules change coincided with Abu Dhabi’s relocation to the end of the season. Have the Yas Marina circuit owners coughed up some extra money for a double-points end-of-season ‘spectacular’?

Nor should it be forgotten that the teams’ FIA entry fees are directly linked to the number of points they score. That may diminish hopes the new rule will be weeded out before the V6 engines fire up in Melbourne in 94 days’ time.

But there remains the possibility that those in charge will realise the self-defeating folly of introducing a rule purportedly to make F1 more appealing which the vast majority of fans actively dislike.

In the social media era the FIA, FOM and teams have no excuses for failing to be aware of popular opinion. The reaction against the new rule has been voluble and extremely negative.

At the time of writing 90% of almost 600 responses to this F1 Fanatic poll are against the plan: a point made by The Times in its story on the new rules*.

It sends a depressing signal that those in charge of F1 no long view it as a ‘sport’ but merely as ‘entertainment’ – something to be manipulated by any means necessary to produce a storyline.

This is why so many fans oppose the plan so strongly and will no doubt continue to put those complaints to the teams and the FIA on Twitter, Facebook and every available avenue over the coming weeks.

It is a worrying trend in the development of Formula One’s rules. When a football match ends nil-nil a cry does not go up for goals to be widened for any team which is struggling to score. Yet in DRS that was F1’s response to the difficulty of overtaking.

If a football season is decided before the concluding matches, do they increase the points for the final game? Of course not.

Those running F1 need to have the some faith in their core product, wean themselves off their addiction to gimmicks and work at the deeper problems affecting the sport. Such as the negative effect aerodynamic turbulence has always had on the racing, and why F1 has gone 18 years without a full grid of cars.

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  • 237 comments on “F1 demeans itself with double points gimmick”

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    1. Remember the idea to change the points system to a medals system? That was scrapped because the teams disagreed. I haven’t seen anything from any teams yet about this.

      1. They agreed with it. Not sure why but they have to (via strategy group) otherwise it cannot become a rule.

        Medals was a bit of a Bernie boiler to distract from other things happening

    2. is this an example of the politically most powerful team in F1 flexing its hooves?

    3. I dont get why there trying to dilute the sport with silly gimmicks. Its not as if this is a new racing category that needs a USP of sorts. It isn’t a lower racing category that needs a gimmick. This is F1, THE pinnacle of open wheel racing and THE pinnacle of motor racing. We watch it because the worlds best racers go head to head on the worlds greatest tracks, racing for the some of the greatest car companies in the world. We dont watch for needless gimmicks and rules. Whats next we get to vote for our favourite driver to save them from elimination.

    4. Shall we all boycott the final race next year?

      of course I’ll download it from a torrent site the day after so as to only negate the tv viewing figures, the likely outcome is vettel or whoever will win by a bigger margin anyway so we probably won’t miss much…it’s about time F1 catered for the hardcore petrol head fans first!

      1. They won’t know whether you’re watching or not anyway unless you’re one of the 5,000 homes with a device which records your viewing habits.

      2. I didn’t bother watching the Abu Dhabi race this year, and look what’s happened…

    5. If we want double points, so give hem for real tracks like Spa, Monza on Silverstone, not for boring gulf kartdrome….

    6. I don’t think DRS and KERS is good for the entertainment either.

      At the last race, my mother watched F1 with me, something she never does. I had to explain how DRS worked and why some cars receive an advantage to overtake the guy in front. It took me long to explain the KERS concept too. Does making the sport more difficult to follow as a casual viewer any good to the viewing figures? I don’t think so …

    7. I still can’t understand how such gimmick will improve the show.
      It may keep the fight to the final race in one boring dominant season, but in the same way it can destroy great, close title fight. I can’t believe this, season 2010 would have been for Sebastian even without the wrong strategy from Ferrari. The title in Brazil 2008 was decided few corners before the chequered flag, whit this gimmick Massa was going to be champion leading the race from start to end – where the …. is the excitement in this??
      Even the final in 2012 was going to be destroyed and i think this was the best race i have ever watched, my heart nearly gave up back then. Alonso was going to be champion because Hulk rammed HAM, and after VET had his large amount of misfortune? But like this wasn’t enough lets give and more points too… I don’t know why FIA don’t quadruple the points. You know, that way even 2013 final would be interesting. Really, is this the way we want to crown our champions?
      Thanks, but no thanks.

    8. I quite like it. It means the teams will have an incentive to keep developing their car right to the last race. It’s not a gimmick, it’s just another points system change.

      There should be more things like this. F1 is what it is and it’s going to be this way for a while so lets got in there and spice it up.

      If you don’t like the way it has become then remember to cancel your sky subscription and don’t watch the race. But I guess you complained last year and the year before but still watched all the races!

      1. @jaymz
        This incentive to keep developing the car until the end is something that will favor the big teams with enough resources to develop both the current car and next year’s car. The small teams will still have to switch focus to next year’s car at some point. Perhaps towards the end of the year we’ll see even larger gaps between teams as the big teams continue to develop aggressively while the smaller teams back off.

        It’s not just another points system change. Points have always been given out equally over the calendar. Choosing one race to hand out double the amount is unfair and unsporting.

        1. It’s not just the big teams fighting for points. In fact it might be even more of an incentive for the smaller teams who score the lowly points.

          I wish people would give up on this big team hating. All the while supporting one I bet. Yes it’s a bit unfair that a smaller team can’t really compete for championships but there is still money to be won even when you score no points at all. And being a big team is on guarantee you will be successfull in winning a championship, but if you have a good business plan then you can still go racing and even make a bit of money.

      2. The teams and drivers already had plenty of incentive to make a good showing all the way through the last race. Teams and drivers are always looking to score more points for WCC and WDC. Many championship races throughout the field are not decided until the last race, even without extra points. Also, drivers trying to get rides for the next season are keen to do well to impress prospective teams.

    9. Well said Keith. I hope the FIA realise how disliked this gimmick is and act despite the extra money they’re getting from Abu Dhabi, because let’s be honest, this wouldn’t be happening if the finale was in Brazil.

      Just think how hollow the title victory would be if the winner gains say 49 points on the leader at the last race due to the other having an engine failure, for example. They wouldn’t be the real champion in many people’s eyes.

      The decision needs to be overturned for F1 to retain some credibility.

    10. I know we will be seen as the grumpy oldmen opposed to change, (I’m 29) but this is so much. I’ll see re-runs if they stay with this rule. If the 2014 champion clinches it due to this rule, I will not consider him that way, not even if it’s Vettel himself who gets benefitted from it.

    11. This decision is a disgrace. I love Formula 1 since 1996, I haven’t lost a race or a qualifying session for years now and I strongly thought until I read this that I will continue watching for the rest of my life , but this rule approved by some corrupt incompetents made me rethink it in an instant. The championship is no longer fair, it favors the car most well-suited to this track, it favors the better qualifier over the better driver, etc
      As others said, decisions like the medal system, shortcuts or water artificially sprayed on the track no longer seem unrealistic, the governing body seems determined to turn F1 into a scam, something as real as WWE.
      The race organisers of Abu-Dhabi have the most to win, their race being moved to the end of the year and the FIA accepting to ridicule itself and its main product to maximise this event. It’s obvious that Todt and the others received money for this and someone should investigate this.
      I accepted DRS but this is too much. I still think that they will rethink their position after the public reaction, but not only Bernie is braking the law up there, I think almost everyone does!

    12. David not Coulthard (@)
      10th December 2013, 13:14

      Here’s a simple solution (albeit more a patch than a fix): Double the length of the last race!

    13. Surely a gimmick dreamt up in order to prevent Vettel becoming World Champion whilst the season is still in Europe.
      Will this “rule” be aboilished when he hangs up his gloves or leaves Red Bull?

    14. David not Coulthard (@)
      10th December 2013, 13:21

      Or shouldn’t the FIA give double points for races on the Nordschleife, the best version of Spa (which isn’t the original as Spa originally came without Eau Rouge), or perhaps rebuild Brooklands and award double points there.


    15. Maybe at FIA Gala they can roll big lottery balls and play out which race had 0 points, which had double points etc.

      Fun,fun, fun.

    16. I’m fed up of this. F1 is dying, and it’s taking a piece of my heart with it.

      (This may sound over dramatic, but… no, it IS over dramatic. But it’s what it feels like at the moment.)

    17. I have been an F1 fan since 1986 and I was looking forward to 2014, but as each headline passes about 2014, I grow increasingly weary of F1. Yesterdays double points announcement is the icing on the cake and I think I am finally done with F1.

    18. Goodbye F1!!!! Bon Voyage, GOOOOOOOOD-bye! off to moto GP

    19. This is so retarded. I hope redbull do another 2013 and Seb wins 19 in a row just to shove it to the FIA.
      525 points to Seb and he can surely take the record of youngest driver with the most points.

      *please note my heavy use of sarcasm.

    20. What next? “Drivers on the lead lap can pass turns 5-6 and drive straight through to turn 7”? Mushrooms? 1 UP boxes on the long straights? Points just for finishing a race? Since 2009 F1 has become gradually more like Super Mario Kart, with KERS (which goes into ERS for 2014), unsafe degradable tyres, DRS and now Turbo boost. I wouldn’t mind the double points if the race was twice as long, but it’s the same length! Do what FIA WEC (of all things) does and only award more points for longer races.

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