Teams: dou­ble points scheme must go

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

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 justied 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.

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