Double points ditched, standing restarts stalled
Strategy group calls time on double-points last round but can’t agree on finanical relief for struggling teams
The widely loathed scheme to award double points at the final race of the season has been dropped after just one year.
The strategy group of leading teams, F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt voted to ditch the idea two days after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff afterwards described the move as “the right decision”.
The strategy group also overturned a plan to introduce standing re-starts after a safety car period – something it had put forward itself earlier in the season but which was again met with bemusement.
After closer examination, it was decided that the move was not workable.
Much of the strategy group’s discussions, which lasted 10 hours, were focused on the financial plight of the smaller teams. Lotus, Sauber and Force India’s push for a more equitable split in the sport’s revenues has grown in force in recent weeks.
They won an acceptance from Donald MacKenzie – the co-chairman of F1’s main shareholder CVC and effectively Ecclestone’s boss – that more should be done and they needed more income. But so far no agreement has been reached as to how to do that.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff proposed that the 48m euros of prize money that would have gone to Marussia if it had survived should be shared between only the smaller teams, rather than between all the teams according to championship position as the teams’ contracts dictate.
But that idea went nowhere at a meeting shortly after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the same goes for a proposal by Bernie Ecclestone for the bigger teams to give up $25m of their budget to help the smaller ones.
The strategy group also agreed that, if a buyer can be found for Caterham or Marussia, the teams could run with their 2014 cars, despite the new 2015 nose regulations.