Confusion reigns over double points finale
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 protable 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.