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Monday, October 27, 2008

Ecclestone wants scoring revamp

For the second year in a row, it comes down to the last race of the season to determine the world champion, with Felipe Massa trailing Lewis Hamilton by seven points.

That’s not enough for Bernie Ecclestone, however, who wants to once again tear apart the points system.

Ecclestone’s issue is Hamilton has driven defensively, rather than all out, on several occasions this season to bank points.

“The problem with next week's race is that Hamilton barely has to bother,” sources report Ecclestone told the Mail on Sunday. “I'd much rather he and Massa had to race to the finish to decide the title. It's all about the racing. There's not enough of it these days, and I want this to change. I'm not criticising Hamilton at all. He's played it smart, but the reality is he didn't try to win in Valencia or in Singapore and that's not right.”

Ecclestone’s solution? Medals instead of points. Gold, silver and bronze medals would be awarded to the drivers, while points would continue to be used for the Constructors championship. The Drivers’ championship would be decided on race victories.

Ecclestone will propose the system at next month's FIA World Council meeting.

“I don't think points mean anything. I mean, David Coulthard has score more F1 points than another other British driver, but nobody really knows this because people look at race wins,” he continued. “I've managed to convince everyone that we should do away with the points and award medals instead. Everybody realises it's the right thing to do.”

Were that system in place this season, Massa and Hamilton would be tied at five victories apiece heading to Brazil. Winner would take all. Instead, things are a little more complicated:

Hamilton will be champion if:
  • he finishes fifth or higher, even if Massa wins the race.
  • he finishes seventh, and Massa does not win the race.
  • he finishes eighth, and Massa finishes third or lower.
  • he fails to score, and Massa does not finish either first or second.

Massa will be champion if:
  • he wins the race, and Hamilton is sixth or lower.
  • he finishes second, and Hamilton is either eighth or out of the points.

But the reality is what we have now, and Massa pretty much has to win to have a shot at the title. Yet, the Brazilian thinks the pressure is all on Hamilton.

“Yes it's true I have a tougher job than Lewis in terms of the points situation but my own objective for the weekend is much more straightforward than his,” Massa said. “I only have to focus on winning the race on Sunday afternoon... The only thing I’m thinking about is winning. After that, the matter is not in my hands.”

After watching the title slip away in Brazil last year, Hamilton is trying to keep things in perspective heading into this year’s finale.

“Obviously, my aim for Brazil is slightly different from the other grands prix: I don’t need to win the race, but that won’t stop me from going into the weekend looking to be as strong as possible,” Hamilton said. “That’s what I am hoping to achieve in Brazil - a straightforward weekend that allows me to just focus on my car and my driving.”

But there is still another title up in the are as we head to Brazil, Ferrari is clinging to an 11 point lead in the Constructors’ championship. So McLaren will be hoping for a 1-2 if it is to have a shot.

Ferrari only needs a third and eighth to wrap it up.

So, points or medals? On paper, it sounds like the Ecclestone system would be more exciting, but not if one driver dominates race wins over the course of the year ala Michael Schumacher. Still, if the argument is only race winners deserve to fight for the championship, this would be one way to do it. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Switching to wins for the drivers or a bigger gap in points for each position would be okay with me. Much of the current rules were made in the past 15 years and were designed to stop Michael Schumacher and Ferrari from winning everything over and over. That includes the "no team orders" edict. Let's get rid of that, too, and get back to Formula 1 as a team sport, as it was intended to be.

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