Teams: double points scheme must go
Bernie Ecclestone aside, it appears few in F1 are happy about plans for double points in Abu Dhabi
Leading F1 teams are determined to ditch the controversial doublepoints scheme. So far, the row over the plan to award double points at the season nale in Abu Dhabi has been overshadowed by debate over other elements of the new rules, and efforts by Red Bull, Ferrari and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to change them.
The public position of all those in F1 is that they will see how this season goes, then decide whether to continue with double points. But one leading team boss said: “Nobody’s talking about double points at the moment, but it’s important we get rid of it.” Another added: ‘We’ll get rid of it – don’t worry.”
The idea was presented by Ecclestone at a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group in December. There have been rumours that the idea may initially have come from Red Bull, once they realised how much trouble Renault were in with their engine, but senior gures both inside and outside the team have dismissed these claims as false.
The FIA said the plan had unanimous approval when it was announced in December. But insiders maintain Ecclestone tabled it, there was a brief debate in which several people expressed reservations, and it was then announced in the meeting that it had been agreed.
Ecclestone remains in favour of the idea, which he justied on the basis of a drop in television audiences once Sebastian Vettel had tied up the championship early in 2013. He felt that double points would keep the championship alive for longer, and therefore keep viewers tuning in.
But other senior gures have pointed out that TV audiences have been dwindling over the past four years, and that this is an inevitable result of the new model of splitting coverage between low-audience subscriber channels, which generate bigger revenues, and big-audience free-to-air channels, which pay less for the rights.