There’s been a steady drip feed, but over the next fortnight expect the flow of criticism to increase as the elephant that has been lurking in the Formula One garage all year finally makes an appearance in Abu Dhabi.
The double points system was introduced, in it’s own words, to ensure a more tightly-contested championship which would enable the title battle to go down to the wire. Fair enough.
It was brought in to effectively try and curtail the dominance of Red Bull and avoid the 2011 and 2013 seasons where Sebastian Vettel was confirmed as world champion four races from the end.
This time it’s Mercedes who have ran away with positions one and two on the podium – Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg winning 15 of 18 grands prix this year – and the title will now be decided in the UAE on November 23.
However, given the gap between the Englishman and the German is 17 points, this would be case anyway. All double points has done is widen the parameters to which one of them can win, rather than increasing the number of title challengers.
Ecclestone himself admits he wanted it installed for the last three races of the season only to be knocked back by the majority within F1. To then grant it to just one race seems a bit token and, well, pointless.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with freshening up the sport. But why not change rules to do with team financing, or greater mechanical restrictions. Legislation that would be far more wide-reaching and less artificial.
Had Ecclestone had his wish the only slight difference to this year’s race is that going into the US Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas would have been mathematically still in the hunt.
Granted, it would have taken a spectacular collapse from both Hamilton and Rosberg and either the Australian or Finn having to win at least two of the remaining three races, but at least it would have been with some justification.
At best, the idea will prove to be a huge waste of everyone’s time and F1 will hold its collective breath it does not have a telling impact come race day at Yas Marina Circuit.
With 17 points separating Hamilton and Rosberg the worst case scenario would be if the Briton crashes out and the German is able to cruise home in fifth.
That will of course be a hugely unpalatable end with all the fears of Toto Wolff, Luca di Montezemolo, Sir Jackie Stewart, Vettel, plus many other in the sport confirmed, but given both Mercedes drivers have just five retirements between them this year – three in the first half of the season – it’s pretty unlikely.
Under the standard points format, Rosberg would finish on 327 and Hamilton 334, but the new model dictates the German with 337, and sealing a maiden title by three points.
There are many, many other permutations but this would ultimately show the system up in the worst light.
Of course, the drivers knew the deal from the start but that doesn’t change the fact that it was a rushed through decision and even Ecclestone is now turning against it, as good as accepting it’ll be cast aside from next season.
Hamilton and Rosberg have gone toe-to-toe this season as team-mates and as title rivals. Their duel deserves more than the eventual victor having an asterisk by their name indicating they won via a botched one-off points system.
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