F1 demeans itself with double points gimmick

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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

  1. Cristian (@cristian) said on 10th December 2013, 13:02

    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!

  2. David not Coulthard (@) said on 10th December 2013, 13:14

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

  3. Steven Smith said on 10th December 2013, 13:17

    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?

  4. David not Coulthard (@) said on 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.

    Pescara…Reims……Macau?

  5. Sherlock said on 10th December 2013, 13:26

    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.

  6. drmouse (@drmouse) said on 10th December 2013, 13:33

    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.)

  7. 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.

  8. MarkM (@mpmark) said on 10th December 2013, 13:42

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

  9. Yosi (@yoshif8tures) said on 10th December 2013, 13:44

    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.

  10. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 10th December 2013, 14:21

    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.

  11. It’s already been said but this is spot on, Keith. I don’t have a single point to argue with here. If we could get everyone to print this out and post 5 or 10 copies to the FIA, teams, WMSC, we might actually get considered in this farce.

  12. If there is no change to this rule by the begining of the season, then I really hope that either Vettel or Alonso or Hamilton or anyone win the championship in Brazil with 51 points to spare!! Now that will be something!

  13. Hi guys, I think F1 is not a Tv show as someone will do, it’s a motorsport. Someone will kill it. I don’t believe it.

  14. Bharat said on 10th December 2013, 14:55

    The teams will reject this ruling as well….A ruling has been passed by the FIA but the teams have to accept it unanimously in order for it to be processed in the year 2014…Firstly, the ruling on minimum pitstops was suggested by the FIA…2 in this case…That ruling is out of the window now as teams have rejected it…….Soon, teams are going to reject this stupid rule as well and all will be placed in order again…………This rule is beyond ridiculous……its blasphemy…………..

  15. Not sure if it will help, but I created this facebook group “Boycott the Final F1 Race of 2014

    I am hoping that we will be able to get a decent no of likes which we can than forward to someone at FIA to reconsider this most stupid decision.

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