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'Double points' storm hits F1 bosses

2014-01-30 08:12

UPROAR: Mercedes boss Toto Wolff (above) and other F1 bosses are facing the wrath of disgruntled fans who want the new 'double points' rule to be abolished for the last race of the 2014 season. Image: AFP


JEREZ, Spain - Formula 1 may have to "revisit" a controversial rule-change awarding double points for the final race of the season because of the backlash from fans.

Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff told reporters at pre-season testing here in southern Spain, when asked about the decision, said: "I think the storm we got afterwards was something not expected.

"We discussed it up and down and the reason (for the decision) was that for the last years we have seen the dominance of a driver and team and the TV audiences were not as expected.

"Was it the right move or not? Ninety nine percent of our fans and spectators, and that's what counts, told us it was the wrong move. Perhaps it is something to revisit."


Social media has been abuzz with opposition to what many see as a needless gimmick ever since the sport's rulers announced the change in December as a means of keeping the title battle open for longer.

Red Bull won four Drivers' and Constructors' titles in a row in 2013 with Sebastian Vettel wrapping up his fourth consecutive championship with three races to spare last year.

Vettel has called the rule change "absurd"; Caterham team owner Tony Fernandes dubbed it "a fake fix" and Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo found it "too artificial".

However, a meeting of F1's strategy group in Switzerland earlier in January 2014 failed to overturn it and the change remains in the 2014 regulations.


"We decided to keep it for the moment," said Wolff. "There are discussions ongoing. There are some arguments (in favour)."

The Austrian, whose team finished runner-up in 2013, could dethrone Red Bull in 2014 if its new V6 power unit proves to be the pick of the field. He explained: "If we have the same kind of power situation with one of the teams, you add a little spice towards the end of the season.

"Things need to be done, and when you see TV audiences generally dropping then you need to try out things. This maybe wasn't the right thing, but maybe we need to find out."

Red Bull principal Christian Horner said the fans had to be listened to. "I don't think it's any secret that I wasn't particularly in favour. I can understand why the governing body and the promoter are keen to keep the championship alive, or hope in the championship alive, until the last race but two out of the last four years it's gone to the last race under the previous points system.

"It would probably be better... to look at three races to take away an element of lottery over that last race."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.


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