Con­fu­sion reigns over dou­ble points fi­nale

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Bernie Ec­cle­stone keeps F1’s stake­hold­ers guess­ing over the fu­ture of the widely re­viled dou­ble-points rule

F1 boss Bernie Ec­cle­stone has im­plied that the con­tro­ver­sial dou­ble points scheme could be dropped for 2015. He was be­hind the adop­tion of the idea for the nal race this year, but the plan has met with wide­spread dis­dain from driv­ers, team bosses and fans around the world.

Ec­cle­stone ad­mit­ted he had wanted the scheme to ap­ply to the nal three races of the sea­son “then peo­ple would be­lieve it was still pos­si­ble for somebody else to win. But they all say I’m mad, so we won’t do it.” He also said he had pro­posed the idea be­cause he felt it was “the right way to keep the cham­pi­onship open”. But he of­fered a con­fus­ing re­sponse when asked if it would be kept for 2015: “Don’t know. Prob­a­bly not. We can’t see whether it has worked, so it de­pends.” Team bosses have been dis­mayed by the plan and have been pri­vately de­ter­mined, since the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, to ditch it as soon as pos­si­ble. But Ec­cle­stone’s court case in Ger­many, which he set­tled in the sum­mer, de­layed any ma­jor de­ci­sions to do with the run­ning of the sport.

Now the un­cer­tainty over Ec­cle­stone’s fu­ture is over, plan­ning can con­tinue. He is con­tin­u­ing to push the idea of three-car teams in the fu­ture, say­ing he would rather have three Fer­raris, for ex­am­ple, than some of the teams strug­gling at the back of the grid. The Con­corde Agree­ment has clauses that re­quire some teams to run third cars if the grid drops be­low 20, as it would if just two cur­rent teams were to exit F1. But this has met with a luke­warm re­cep­tion from team bosses. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said top teams run­ning a third car was “not good for the sport”. He also re­jected claims from Sauber team prin­ci­pal Mon­isha Kal­tenborn that teams could make money from it by run­ning driv­ers who brought funds. Wolff said the gures men­tioned by Kal­tenborn were “not re­al­is­tic”, adding that it would cost £20-25mil­lion to run a third car for a sea­son and that there was “not a prota­ble business case for it. I don’t see it com­ing.”

Even Ec­cle­stone ally Christian Horner of Red Bull has played down the like­li­hood of it hap­pen­ing, which raises ques­tions as to whether Ec­cle­stone has another agenda and is us­ing third cars as a dis­trac­tion.

This would be a clas­sic Ec­cle­stone ma­noeu­vre – pro­pose some­thing no one wants, so when you sug­gest some­thing else they’re not keen on, but you want more, they are more likely to ac­cept it on the grounds that it is less bad than the rst pro­posal. If this is so, it re­mains to be seen what Ec­cle­stone ac­tu­ally does want.

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