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: 634

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

  1. Shimks (@shimks) said on 24th February 2014, 9:18

    Of course, I voted no.

    To be honest, I don’t think Bernie is serious about this either. He chooses these sorts of ridiculous stances because he knows they will cause controversy = headlines = free marketing.

    As they say, There is no such thing as bad publicity.

    This strange saying may derive from Oscar Wilde, who once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

    Is Bernie soon to find out it is worse to be talked about? I have my doubts he’ll be ejected, to be honest. He’s the ringmaster and makes those who shelter him millions upon millions of dollars every year.

  2. Nikos said on 24th February 2014, 9:57

    The reason behind double points is that it is believed that this will attract new viewers. Don’t they understand that this will also drive traditional viewers away?
    Many people have suggested that we should not be watching double points races, but I’m going one step further and will not watch any race at all this year if this goes ahead.
    Since it is only numbers that they care about then all I can say is that If my wishes as a customer are not respected then I am not buying.

  3. Dr. Jekyll (@dr-jekyll) said on 24th February 2014, 10:12

    If only elections were this unanimous.. oh wait bad comparison since dictators and stuff.
    hmm maybe a good comparison after all

  4. I think add penalty by 10kg,5kg,2kg for podium 1,2,3 to slow the best teams and make a more even race over the season – penalty weight added should be fuel !

  5. Bernie has totally lost the plot. It is time he goes before he destroys F1.

  6. 1v2.0 (@1v2-0) said on 24th February 2014, 12:18

    Is he trying to do as much damage as he can to the F1 before he leaves?
    If so he is doing great job. I will skip all double points races as a tribute to all he is done for the sport.

  7. Steve C said on 24th February 2014, 12:57

    I think I still have the best idea for all this. I’m a fan of double points, why, because the teams already know about it and they plan for it. No big deal, IMHO. But:

    The venues want to be noticed more here too so why not make three races have double points but do so so that other venues get a chance to host a double points race.

    One of the first four races will be a double points race. One of the middle 12 will be a double points race. One of the last three will be a double points race.

    Set all this up like they set up “Champoins” Leagure football (soccer to those of us in the US). Have pretty ladies pull different ping-pong balls from a bowl to determine which races get double points. It’s fair and it keeps some excitement in the pre-season.

  8. Dawson (@dawson) said on 24th February 2014, 13:23

    I am heartened to see that the vast majority of F1 fans agree that the double points idea is simply wrong.

    This is the first time I’ve signed up to any forum or posted any message. Although it may make little difference I hold out hope that the sheer numbers of fans coming out against this rule might count for something.

    To echo the view of a few other posters back in December, part of me wants to believe this is all a publicity stunt to ensure Formula One remains in the newspapers during the off-season. In fact to begin with I barely took the whole issue seriously as it’s such a bizarre and self-defeating concept – bizarre as it cannot be assumed that it would work as intended, e.g. Vettel winning the championship by even more points last year; and self-defeating as any F1 fan will clearly despise the very notion of devaluing all the other races.

    However what has moved me to make a vote and say my piece is that even if this does prove to be one of those things we look back on and say: “…hey, remember that crazy double points rule Bernie came up with to get all that publicity?”, it has gone far enough now to feel as though those in positions of power in Formula One really do view their fans with disdain and disrespect.

    It saddens me to say it, but if this rule remains in place I shall for the first time in my life voluntarily abstain from viewing a Grand Prix. If it is extended to three races?… Yup, those too.

  9. Everyone’s free to their opinion and all that, but I’m curious who the other (currently) 4% are.

  10. A shorter season would also guarantee that the later races are more likely to be meaningful for the championship. Taken to extremes, if there was only one race in the season, that last race would be VERY meaningful. But who would argue that that is a good solution? Probably less than the 4% in this poll. How about the first 18 races are practice races and the last race is the only one with points awarded? Or the first 12 races are the regular season, then the bottom teams or drivers are eliminated and the rest go on to the playoffs? Or variations like that? Surely those ideas would be quickly rejected, but are they any more ridiculous than double points for one race?

    Every season has a personality – and we cannot know what that personality will be ahead of time. It would spoil the competition and the drama if we could. Perhaps some seasons would have been more exciting if a bizarre point awarding rule was employed, but others would be much less exciting. Why tamper with a system that is fair and sporting at all, let alone if it will decrease the experience at least some, if not all, of the time?

  11. Tucker (@tuckeratlarge) said on 24th February 2014, 16:47

    Let us go back to 9,6,4,3,2,1

  12. shortcat (@shortcat) said on 24th February 2014, 16:54

    I don’t agree on unfairness argument. It’s fair as long as all drivers are in same circumstances. They will just have more responsibility for that final race. Contrary, technical rules changes are often is unfair because they draw back one or a few teams.

    • Bobby (@f1bobby) said on 24th February 2014, 22:43

      But by definition it isn’t fair:
      You won the first race of the season, from lights to flag over 300 kilometres taking 2 pit stops and collected 25 points.

      I won the last race of the season, from lights to flag over 300 kilometres taking 2 pit stops and collected 50 points.

      It’s idiotic.

  13. jpowell (@jpowell) said on 24th February 2014, 17:56

    I have been firmly against altering the points system but I have given it an enormous amount of soul searching ,brain aching consideration in the last 10 seconds and I have come up with a solution that fits into our more tolerant and lets face it luvvy duvvy 21st century society. There should be no more of this winner is best attitude , from now on all the drivers should be spoken of in a pleasant and conglatudry way at the end of each event with a small trophy for all ‘competitors ‘ they could all be on the podium at the end ,and another old man could tell them «they were all his favourites»… There you are No Winners, No Champions no need to award double points.

  14. Paul Gawne (@foolishyouth) said on 24th February 2014, 19:29

    Personally I think double points is a good idea for the final race. It does make a lot of sense!

    Please hear me out on this one!

    Firstly, It does have the potential to make the championship run until the final race. Of course this is good for the excitement for us fans but also for the sponsors & tv networks who guarantee more viewers throughout the whole season.

    Secondly, It enables the broadcasters and FOM a great marketing opportunity to hype up an end of season Finale with double points. A great spectacle where fighting to win means more than ever! This can certainty be an exciting prospect.

    A lot of people are saying its not fair, but a quick look at other sports shows that they too use different methods such as end of season play-off’s in football and the new Nascar chase so these things do have precedence.

    So is it really all negative? I don’t think so.

    • jSmith said on 24th February 2014, 21:33

      When you change the points you the history and the accomplishments of what the drivers have done. Every time they get changed, we have to rely more on counting outright wins and placings to know who was great.. because the point structure system has been diluted or tampered with. This is a sideshow maneuver and has nothing to do with maintaining F1′s great history. It only cheapens it.

      • jSmith said on 24th February 2014, 21:34

        *When you change the points you change the history and the accomplishments of what the drivers have done.*

    • Bobby (@f1bobby) said on 24th February 2014, 22:34

      Why not make it triple points? Or half points if someone wins two races in a row? Or a mid-season “Super Race” where the people who finished on the podium in the previous race have to start at the back of the grid but they can earn a 25 point bonus if they can fight their way back to the podium?!

      I jest of course. F1 is a big enough folly at the best of times, the last thing it needs is double-point season finales to give it even less credibility.

  15. Babar Ali said on 25th February 2014, 9:46

    DOUBLE points for the last three races would make it all very interesting. Isn’t it true that once the championship is decided earlier, the remaining races becomes just a formality. It is most damaging
    for this sports that it becomes a “formality to race”. Therefore Bernie has a valid point !!

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