Double points: One race, three races – or none?

2014 F1 season

Start, Yas Marina, 2013The start of the 2014 F1 season is three weeks away, yet a fundamental question about how the sport works remains unanswered.

At the insistence of Bernie Ecclestone the rules were changed late last year to award double points at the final race of the season. The news prompted an angry response from fans when it was announced.

Over 90% of F1 Fanatics said they were against the plan. Fans’ objections to the plan have featured prominently in much of the media coverage of the controversial rules change.

Nonetheless Ecclestone is lobbying for the plan to be extended so the last three races of the season are all worth double points. Where do you stand on this debate?

For

Ecclestone’s reasoning for offering double points for races at the end of the season is that it will increase the chance of the championship being decided later in the year.

Last year Sebastian Vettel won the world championship three race before the end of the season. Ecclestone hopes that by making the last three races worth twice as much he can prolong the championship contest and sustain interest from television audiences for longer.

Against

The plan is fundamentally unfair. The races where double points are offered are not double the race length and do not feature double the number of competitors. There is no sporting reason for these races to be valued higher than the others.

This plan will arbitrarily give some drivers twice as great a reward for winning one race, and punish others them twice as severely for some misfortune. It threatens to undermine the outcome of the championship.

I say

This is the latest example of Formula One grappling with the conflicting demands of sport versus entertainment. In this case F1 has sacrificed sporting integrity for commercial reasons, and I have no difficulty understanding why so many fans are against it.

For those in charge of the sport, it is ludicrous to believe they can make the sport more interesting to potential viewers by introducing something which the overwhelming majority of existing fans strongly dislike.

It should not need pointing out that the previous, far fairer points system produced thrilling last-race championship deciders in many recent seasons – including 2012, 2010, 2008, 2007 and 2006. Had the latter races in these years been worth double points it would have diminished the spectacle, not enhanced it, because of the taint of artificiality that would have been introduced.

Formula One should abandon Ecclestone’s double points plan, not extend it.

You say

Do you think the double points plan should be kept – or extended to three races? Or should it be scrapped entirely so that all races are worth the same number of points?

Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should some F1 races be worth double points?

  • No races should be worth double points (96%)
  • The last race should be worth double points (1%)
  • The last three races should be worth double points (2%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 633

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190 comments on Double points: One race, three races – or none?

  1. I say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, no to double points. Unfortunately F1 says if it ain’t broke, smash it into a million pieces and rearrange it into something hideous.

  2. Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:38

    On a serious note, if the championship is eventually decided in a double point race that has a direct effect on the winner, do you think the drivers themselves would be “contrite” about it?

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 23rd February 2014, 13:06

      You’ll end up with the “Massa was world champion for 30 seconds” thing, but way worse. Though people forget that some drivers have scored more points than others but ended up losing world championships before because of the dropped score systems. The two I can think of off the top of my head being Graham Hill (1964) and Alain Prost (1988).

      • Brace (@brace) said on 23rd February 2014, 13:34

        @geemac
        I’m still seeing stupid comments on the web like “Senna smashed Prost in his first season in the team”, when Prost actually had more points…
        I think I’d rather have a decent championship that doesn’t go down the wire, than have a better driver lose a championship because of some gimmick.

  3. andae23 (@andae23) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:42

    Well that’s a no-brainer.

  4. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:45

    No races should have double points. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anymore this season, so I fervently hope double points don’t get extended to three races. With a single race, for me it will be a case of “biting through the sour apple” and hope it does not change the championship winner, but three races will be a real turn-off for me.

    I’m still open to the idea of experimenting with two races in one weekend (with qualifying sessions for each race), not necessarily at the final round (preferably not) and of course rather not at a venue like Abu Dhabi, but perhaps at one that has few support races anyway, Canada perhaps? It does not seem like this idea has been floated with the powers that be, however.

  5. Girts (@girts) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:47

    None. As for the idea to give double points for the final three races, it is not only unfair but has other potential risks, too.

    Firstly, why should a casual spectator watch (or go to) one of the first 16 races if the championship is going to be decided in the final three anyway? It might even lead to a drop in viewers over the whole season.

    Secondly, it’s impossible to predict how the title fight is going to develop. Double points might as well turn a potentially thrilling battle into a damp squib if one driver, who is slightly behind in the standings with three races to go but enjoying a particularly strong end to the season just runs away with title.

  6. TribalTalker (@tribaltalker) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:47

    If Bernie wants to really mess with the points, how about this: he gets to choose which races have double points AFTER the race has run so that he can ensure that the last race has at least two championship contenders. Much better…

    Personally, if at least 3 races had to be “doubles” I’d make the first two races worth more – to give a big random boost to the championship and probably allow teams at the bottom of the order to score better. Then I’d give double points for a race in the US or Russia – for some cheap publicity.

    Obviously I actually don’t want to see any of these. NO DOUBLE POINTS.

  7. CeeVee (@ceevee) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:48

    Why not have points JUST for the last race of the season? Ensures that the championship will always go down to the wire.

    • TribalTalker (@tribaltalker) said on 23rd February 2014, 13:00

      Yes – much simpler, @ceevee. Should have thought of this myself! 22 “test” sessions (televised of course) and one climactic race. Purest spectacle, plus the rights to run the “one race to rule them all” would rake in stupendous amounts of pocket money for whoever takes over from Bernie.

  8. Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:48

    You all get it wrong:
    * Only last race of 2013 will get full points, all other races will get half the points.
    * Next year 3 last races will get full points, all other get half points.
    * 2015 last 5 races get full points + Monaco + Russia GP get full points for obvious non-obvious reasons.
    * 2015 all F1 videos will be taken down from the internet for copyright infringement.
    * 2016 all races get full points except tracks which have financial problems, they are only worth half points.
    * 2017 all races get tripe points except for all except for the last one.
    * 2018 drivers get qualifying points. Vettel wins the championship by only winning Qualifyings. He doesn’t start in a race.
    * 2019 there will be two 30min races in one weekend because 1.5-2h race is too long for theyattention span of young people.
    * 2020 finally Bernie’s idea of overtaking shortcuts on track will be used. Every driver gets 3 “push to pass” uses of the track shortcut… pushing a button (touchscreen) on the steering wheel opens a gate on the track, just like DRS.
    * 2021 what F1?

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 23rd February 2014, 13:02

      @f1lauri Haha, true :)

    • David not Coulthard (@) said on 23rd February 2014, 13:20

      there will be two 30min races in one weekend because 1.5-2h race is too long for theyattention span of young people.

      In reality it isn’t, but Bernie won’t believe me. Then again, I might as well say he’s too old to care about globalisation as he came from a pre-WWW (and pre-jet-engined-aircraft) generation and should therefore step down.

    • Palle (@palle) said on 23rd February 2014, 14:26

      It starts to resemble the complexity of how mobile phone companies charge the use of data, SMS’es, calls etc.
      No matter what Bernie would ideally like to be able to change the rules as the season unfolds to make sure that the last lap of the last race will be decisive. His problem is that all the preceding laps of the season won’t be very interesting then. What a predicament for Bernie:-)

  9. falken (@falken) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:50

    I don’t understand why 19 races should get half points…

  10. D (@f190) said on 23rd February 2014, 12:52

    If F1 were a sport then this wouldn’t be needed. This is only being included because F1 is now a form of entertainment, rather than a sport. It’s a shame we have lost F1 to the entertainment industry. That’s said, on a plus note it should bring the cost of watching races down, as viewers should no longer have to pay extra for the sky sports package.

  11. terry hopkins said on 23rd February 2014, 13:00

    why not give points all the way down to last place at least that way everybody scores points 22-1 or however many teams take part. – just a thought, what do others think

  12. When I was talking about the double points with a friend who casually watches F1 ever since he’s known me (2007-ish) he asked me a very profound question: ‘Have they given up on trying to make the sport itself more exciting?’

    Let’s face it; Abu Double is merely a measure to increase the entertainment levels. Sports need entertainment (ask anyone who doesn’t live in a country where speedskating is popular about the Dutch success, or any non-cricket playing country about the sport in general), but in the past the sporting regulations were changed to minimize the gaps between the front and the back of the field. This rule completely negates the racing, the quality of the race for purely mathematical fun.

    This worries me. Like my friend asked, have Bernie and the FIA given up on improving the races? Do they think the racing is ok? (Because as long as there’s DRS, it’s not.)

    I’m nearing a point where I can no longer rationally explain people why I like F1. It’s a part of my life, and has been since I was 7, but it’s becoming that crazy aunt/uncle you love because they’re family, but have to ignore whenever she does something stupid..

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 23rd February 2014, 18:02

      That is indeed an apt remark @npf, clearly Bernie has stopped caring about f1 as a sport. I can only hope it gets better, and I do think the new engines might help improve the races.

  13. David not Coulthard (@) said on 23rd February 2014, 13:07

    That was way easier than trigonometry, wasn’t it?

  14. Lauri (@f1lauri) said on 23rd February 2014, 13:13

    Start typing “hermann tilke” into google and see what’s the first suggestion ;) One of the biggest reasons for boring races.

  15. HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd February 2014, 13:19

    Normally I look forward to every race whether the champioship is alive or already decided but if this plan of double points comes in I will be embargoing those races, so they will need to find a new viewer just to kee the figures as they were and will need 2 new viewers to improve the numbers viewing. I prefer to be able to watch all races but if you are not prepared to make sacrifices for principal then as they used to say in the 60s you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

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