Teams surprised by reaction against double points

2014 F1 season

Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2014Formula One’s team principals admit they were surprised by the strength of the reaction against the plan to award double points at the final race of the season.

Fans have overwhelmingly criticised the plan, with 96% opposing it in a recent F1 Fanatic poll.

The idea was proposed by Bernie Ecclestone in an attempt to prevent a repeat of last year’s decline in viewing figures in the final races.

“I think when it was decided we didn’t put too much emphasis on it,” said Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff, “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.”

Claire Williams and McLaren’s Eric Boullier endorsed Wolff’s view during the team principals’ press conference in Melbourne.

The possibility of awarding points for qualifying positions has also been raised. Renault’s Rob White said: “I think as long as the points structure is understood in advance it’s an optimisation target like all the rest and Formula One is a fantastic machine for getting the best out of a given set of constraints.”

“I personally am not in favour of things that are hard to understand. And therefore if it gets too complicated I won’t like it.”

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78 comments on Teams surprised by reaction against double points

  1. John H (@john-h) said on 14th March 2014, 11:34

    I think as long as the points structure is understood in advance it’s an optimisation target

    What is wrong with these people and how do they get into such positions? Humans still decide the relative weightings between smaller targets in any multi-objective problem. That’s where the subtlety lies.

    Too many engineers aiming to solve problems instead of thinking about the construction of the ‘problem’ itself.

  2. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 14th March 2014, 12:08

    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.

    Here’s a thought. Why don’t you see what you are able to do this year?

  3. Maciek (@maciek) said on 14th March 2014, 12:15

    It has to be doublespeak – I cannot wrap my head around the idea they didn’t think this would stink to most fans. Among many other problems with F1 at the moment is that drumming up interest from non-fans, any which way, has become the main objective. But then again should we really be surprised? The ‘sport’ costs too much, simple as. We all love the innovation and the technology, but eventually things have to balance out somewhere.

  4. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 14th March 2014, 12:57

    I’m pretty sure a lot of the surprise comes from the fact that they were probably very much taking fans’ views into account when they came up with the idea. People were crying last year about Red Bull sewing up the championship early, and saying that F1 was boring because the championship was over too soon and that they weren’t going to bother watching the races after the title decider. In some respects, a tweak to the rules system which means that the championship is likely to go down to the last race would appear to be the perfect solution to what fans were complaining about.

    They obviously missed the bit where fans complain about everything, regardless.

    • andrewf1 (@andrewf1) said on 14th March 2014, 13:33

      @mazdachris so you’re a fan of the rule then?

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 14th March 2014, 13:39

        No, I can’t stand it, I think it makes an absolute mockery of the sport. I just hate that there is a very vocal group of people who just moan about absolutely everything like a bunch of little Caligulas who demand 100% wall to wall entertainment. It is exactly these people, the ones you see on here moaning about processions or boring races, and so on, who are being pandered to by this absolute abomination of a rule change.

        But put yourself in the shoes of Wolff and so on. They see that viewer numbers are declining, so they go on F1 forums and see what people are saying. They see that people are moaning that the championship is boring, that they hate it being decided early in the season. And so they come up with this idea to keep the championship alive to the end. It makes sense, in a manner of speaking. And I can also understand why they would then be surprised that people moan about this too. But I don’t think it necessarily follows that it means they don’t listen to the fans, since this would very much appear to be a direct response to a complaint which many many people made last year and have done in other years gone by as well.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 14th March 2014, 13:50

          But were fans of F1 on forums, complaining and moaning and threatening not to watch because Vettel was winning all the races? I don’t think so, I think the people complaining were the non-fans and the uninformed sports journalists who regard football as more important than life itself, not true F1 fans.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 14th March 2014, 13:53

            How would the people in the sport ever know the difference?

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 14th March 2014, 13:55

            I mean, in some respects it’s a meaningless definition. A fan is someone who will watch no matter what, and so to some extent their views aren’t really that important. They are more interested in the opinions of people who won’t simply watch regardless, but who might genuinely turn off if they don’t like what they see.

  5. Don Mateo (@don-mateo) said on 14th March 2014, 13:20

    I just hope that whoever wins the title this season wraps it up with several races to go, just to make a mockery of this stupid rule.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 14th March 2014, 13:51

      Me too, it will allow me to feel smug and take the pain out of my boycott of the last race.

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 14th March 2014, 14:34

        A boycott of the last race, especially if the championship is already decided, isn’t likely to have much of an impact since the decline is likely to be considered part of the usual dropoff.

        A much better idea would be an organised, publicised boycott of a very popular mid-season race. Ideally one which is also shown FTA, so the British GP for instance. If a huge number of people made a point of not tuning in for that race, then people may take notice.

        Unfortunately that simply isn’t going to happen.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 14th March 2014, 15:42

          No it’s not, but I will take the time to complain as loudely as the turn-offs and to tell anyone who will listen why I am boycotting the last race, after all it’s not as if my not watching is going to come to their attention any other way, even if all F1Fanatics joined the boycott it would not set off alarms seeing as we are spread all over the world, but the TV program buyers need to know that the quick-fix pill Bernie has sold them is worse than the ailment they took it for. @mazdachris

      • Tiomkin said on 14th March 2014, 20:01

        When F1 went behind a paywall, the thinking man would not of subscribed. Most ‘fans’ just put their hands in their pockets and paid. If the majority had snubbed it, F1 would be back FTA by know and there would not be any gimmicks because those in charge would know the fans would revolt. As it stands I expect it carry on down this path as mugs will just continue to support them whatever they do and moan about it.

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 14th March 2014, 22:16

          Tiomkin, I’m sorry, but that’s just naive. Sky F1’s viewing figures are nowhere near the BBC highlights, but not only have they kept the experiment, they’ve expanded it to other countries. Sky F1 was never about the ratings – it was about the revenue.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 14th March 2014, 22:17

      @don-mateo Which will make fans complain in the process, and allow Bernie to ram through his original idea of THREE double-points races? Be careful what you wish for.

  6. DaveD (@daved) said on 14th March 2014, 14:57

    I think it is incredibly arrogant for them to ignore our concerns this year and talk about next year. WE are the reason there is a sport. WE ultimately decide if money is spent on advertising to pay THEIR bills.

    I absolutely love Formula 1, but I’ll be damned if I’ll watch the last race this year. That’s the only way I get to “vote”, so I’m going to do it.

  7. PJA (@pja) said on 14th March 2014, 19:13

    If the powers that be in F1 were surprised by the reaction of fans to double points at the final race it just shows how out of touch they are.

    The decline in viewing figures last year was simply due to the continued domination of the sport by Vettel and Red Bull not because of the points system.

    In F1 there will always be seasons where one team and driver dominate and if they do it is only right that they clinch the title early.

  8. W-K (@w-k) said on 15th March 2014, 0:24

    Personally I think all these excuses of the fans complaining of ……… are overblown. Most organisations recognise that the time to worry is when the ‘great unwashed’ stop complaining.
    Take lack of overtaking complaints. It is quite obviously they haven’t watched many races as some of the best F1 action has taken place when two drivers have fought for any laps and in the end no overtaking has taken place.
    Give people the best food in the world and there would still be complaints because they hadn’t been fed on fat overloaded burgers, heavily salted chips covered in sugar rich tomato ketchup.

    But this idea of double points has to be stupid. And has occurred because of the move to PPV, and the subsequent loss of viewers, which will mean less sponsorship etc. etc.

    Maybe, we the fans, should consider, if the championship results are altered because of this ridiculous decision, should consider each of us making a small donation to buy a trophy and get Keith to present it, to the true champion.

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