“We shouldn’t have agreed to double points” – Wolff

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff speaks out against F1’s controversial double points finale.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Toto: We have mega racing but we have to understand the fans (Mercedes)

“We have to understand the fans and their criticisms of certain aspects of the sport. Should we have agreed to double points? No, we shouldn’t have.”

Ecclestone Confirms Mexican Grand Prix Will Return In 2015 (Forbes)

“The first [key mover behind the race] is Tavo Hellmund the creator and mastermind of the F1 USGP and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin. His counterpart in Mexico is Alejandro Soberon, chief executive of the world’s third largest live entertainment company CIE.”

Mercedes open contract extension talks with Lewis Hamilton after confirmation of Nico Rosberg’s ‘multi-year’ deal last week (The Independent)

Lewis Hamilton has already opened talks with Mercedes with regard to signing a new deal.”

Toro Rosso’s half-term report – by team principal Franz Tost (F1)

“On Daniil Kvyat
FT: He is doing a very good job, taking into consideration how little mileage he was able to do before the season, he is driving very well, showing that he has natural speed. Equally importantly, he has had no accidents, nor has he made any mistakes. He is doing a fantastic job.”

Renault considers Mercedes split turbo (Autosport)

Renault head of track operations Remi Taffin: “For sure we are looking at a different solution. We will explore all the solutions.”

McLaren and Lotus pull away from F1 elitism to drive revenues (Marketing Week)

“Rights owners are cutting away the velvet rope around top tier racing in a bid to offer more complex sponsorship packages capable of opening new revenue streams.”

The Great Hamilton Conspiracy (The Times, subscription required)

“Mercedes have spent a small fortune – £60 million, we are led to believe – hiring the man they believe is the fastest driver in F1 at the moment, if not in history. That is some waste of money when you keep fiddling with his machinery to pin him back.”

Cooper Tire mystery guest attends FIA World Rallycross (Cooper Tires via Twitter)


Comment of the day

There’s lots of work to be done at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez if it’s going to be ready for a grand prix next year.

I was there two weeks ago and… let me put it this way: I was there because I went to watch the MTCC (BTCC but Mexican and with only seat Leon) and at the beginning they told us that the full course was close because a pipe broke and it folded the Esses sector. At the end they used the oval with a couple of chicanes.

My point is, I haven’t seen a single truck go in there to change something, and believe me, that track needs some work. The main stand is awful and rusty, you can’t see the cars go by. Also, the other main stand is on top of the pits, that’s a big no no for F1.

If we’re going to have a race next year, man! They will have to do a titanic effort to fix it to F1 standard.
Gustavo Sobrino

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Matt!

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On this day in F1

The first world championship season in 1950 only featured seven races, far fewer than the 19-race calendar we have today (and the record of 20 set in 2012).

But there were also 16 non-championship events, all held in Europe, one of which took place on this day in 1950 at the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands. Louis Rosier won the three-hour event in a Talbot-Lago.

Image © Mercedes/Hoch Zwei

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68 comments on ““We shouldn’t have agreed to double points” – Wolff”

  1. There once was a man named Bernie,
    He employs a good attorney.
    Tax troubled,
    Points doubled,
    Toto shows some concern-y

    That’s all I have to offer. COTD please.

    1. Best POEM OF THE DAY. POTD. :P :P

    2. Anyone spotted this new Tv overlay of a rather famous FIA message on the German GP? Bernie says “Think before you bribe”

      1. @peartree Haha I always imagine that it says that. I would love it if it got hacked and it displayed that.

        1. @nick-uk Me too. unfortunately though no one has indeed used cyber wisdom for good fun.

    3. you have my vote

      1. I have a haiku for you (in the 5-7-5 structure):

        With Abu Double
        A points lead is of no use
        F1 in trouble

        1. And a limerick attempt… (using the first line of yours)

          There once was a man named Bernie,
          Who had trouble in Germany.
          Safety car for a crash?
          I have to dash
          As only two laps were free.

          1. Ex driver and owner came back,
            To lead the F1 pack.
            How drunk was he
            To not clearly see
            That double points, F1 does not lack.

            He thought it was right for sure,
            But Abu Double at the end is obscure.
            So much for a title scrap,
            It’s all just a trap,
            Double points is so immature!

        2. Ooof these are really good!

    4. I hope everyone agrees to the departure of B. Ecclestone.

      Loud mouth Lauda has hit upon some rather salient points in his observations/critique of F1.

      Please go away B. Please. And let’s get some serious digital/internet delivery. I’ve paid for MotoGP and Tour de France coverage via internet/ipad. I’ll gladly do the same for F1.

  2. What about adding Marc Gene and Andrea Bertolini to Ferrari’s Twitter directory?

  3. I still can’t understand why they agreed to it in the first place. Yes, it’s a relief that at least the teams can read fan reaction and appreciate in retrospect what should or shouldn’t have happened and what might need changing/reversing (apparently unlike the FIA and Bernie). But that they were so out of touch to think the reaction would be anything other than a backlash is pretty worrying. Disconcerting even.

    If the grounds for complaint had simply been that super-bonus points were untraditional, then I could accept the teams being a bit confused and needing to say “we didn’t appreciate how firmly routed in tradition the fanbase and by extension the sport itself is”. But the grounds for complaint is how unsporting the concept is. So their response of essentially “we didn’t appreciate that the fanbase supports or understands a thing called sporting integrity, nor that it should probably be a fundamental concept in all sports, even this one” still sounds backwards even if they’ve at least changed their tune.

    1. maarten.f1 (@)
      23rd July 2014, 6:26

      Probably because with every major change, fans complain until the commotion dies down a bit and people get used to it. It doesn’t make double points a good idea, but I disagree that a negative fan reaction should stop F1 from making changes. If that were the case, they’d still be racing with V12 engines and that’s not the way to go forward. As it stands now, the double points are there and all we can hope for is that the championship is wrapped up by either one of the Mercedes drivers before then.

      1. Double points hardly compare to engine regulation changes. That’s not at all a valid analogy.

        Engine changes are for technical progress and are uniform across the grid. This nonsense is purely to “enhance and prolong the spectacle of the championship”.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          23rd July 2014, 10:13

          @vettel1 , @maarten-f1 – They’ve tried to move Abu Dhabi around to get the championship decided there for a few seasons now but it hasn’t really worked out… The reason double points exist is because Abu Dhabi paid for double points to exist.

          No-one thinks it’s a good, sporting, fair idea. It’s just that Bernie gets paid even more for it to happen so it’s going ahead.

        2. And scoop some more cash from some Arab sheikhs. I bet they had to pay a premium for this.

        3. maarten.f1 (@)
          23rd July 2014, 10:20

          @vettel1 I’m not comparing it to engine changes, I’m comparing it to rule changes (and the engine change is an example of a rule change). Whether they change the engine, tyre, aero or qualifying rules, people end up complaining and kick up a storm. I’m not defending double points, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a terrible idea and definitely misjudged by the teams. But, if F1 lets the fans decide which direction to go, they wouldn’t move anywhere. They’d be a dinosaur that’s slowly becoming extinct.

          1. Yes, but there is a distinction between moving the sport forward on the technical side and on the sporting side. A massive distinction.

            Besides, are you seriously claiming they are moving the sport forward @maarten-f1? Embracing social media and online streaming sound familiar?

          2. maarten.f1 (@)
            23rd July 2014, 11:23

            @vettel1 I’m saying that if they had listened to the fans when it comes to rule changes, we’d be stuck with a formula that no manufacturer wants. Rule changes come in both technical and sporting sides. Yes, there’s a distinction, and no, they’re not embracing modern technologies when it comes to connecting to the fans. They’re not perfect, far from it. But neither are the fans. And fan opinions isn’t something Holy. I’ve already said that double points isn’t a good idea, I think it devalues the other races. But I am trying to offer a different perspective as to why the teams agreed with it. Perhaps at the time they thought it was a good idea, and on hindsight they might have to conclude it wasn’t. But if the fans don’t agree with something, it shouldn’t necessarily be a reason not to run with it.

          3. @maarten-f1 Changes like this is where they should acknowledge the fans. I would say also with DRS, as there have been many alternative solutions proposed which I would argue are far better than the current implementation (my favourite is a DIS – downforce increasing system – which essentially does the opposite of DRS in giving you more downforce where you lose it in the corners).

            Particularly with double points though, not once did they think about the spectators and their interests. We do not have a problem with the points system as far as I’m aware, and it doesn’t take an IQ of 180 to figure out that changing the points situation does not make the performance gap any smaller.

            Sebastian Vettel would still be trouncing everyone last year even with double points.

      2. “fans complain until the commotion dies down a bit and people get used to it.”

        The commotion IS the fans complaining, and it dies down once we realise the people in charge arnt listening. As i’ve said before, the only way of them listening is if nobody tunes in on Sundays.

        That said though, their arguement for the double points is to increase viewing figures, so if we all stopped watching in protest, they’d think they’d need to have superduper quadruple points at every round.

    2. The process is the following

      1. F1 media tells the world FIA is about to introduce a new controversial rule.

      2. F1 fans (via well known blogs), former drivers and journalists (via papers) express their anger but FIA implements the rule anyway

      3. If after one year to rule is too unpopular to bear, they kill it. If it can be manageable, it’s kept.

      My best hope is, we will not have double points in 2015.

      1. @N I think you are right that the best way to communicate disgust at this is to not watch on Sundays, especially not the final one, but I don’t think the result would be ‘superduper quadruple…’ because I think they would know, and already do, what the issue is for fans…the gimmick aspect, the lottery, the unfairness etc. Ie. if it were to backfire on them this year, I highly doubt they would redouble their efforts. Although, if for whatever reason they decide they need to pursue this avenue, I agree with what Horner said of having double points for the final 3 races so that at least it’s a bit less lottery-like, and drivers would have a chance to answer back to other drivers suddenly snatching some big points when they haven’t really ‘been there’ all season.

        @jcost I agree. I too hope this is a one-off experiment and I think there is a good chance that the biggest part of the backlash will come after the final checkered flag and the WDC will have won just because of the extra points. BE’s best case scenario will be that the ultimate winner would still have won it without the double points in which case he’ll try to keep the concept alive, but hopefully the teams will disagree with him enough this time.

        There is huge outcry about this issue, but there has been huge outcry about other issues too, and what BE will be looking for is the actually viewership numbers in spite of the verbal outcry. If viewership remains high or acceptable to BE he will keep the concept and will have the attitude that from the fans it was just talk. And I think most fans will watch because it will be the WDC deciding race, double points or not.

        1. the best way to communicate disgust at this is to not watch on Sundays, especially not the final one

          That’s entirely dependant on the way viewing figures are calculated in your area. If you are UK based, then not watching doesn’t alter the viewing figures at all unless you among the 1 in 5000 with a box which records your viewing habits.

  4. 20 races @ $30million + TV rights, + trackside advertising rights + catering rights, 5 year contracts and you get to keep 37% of the profit after all expenses have been deducted, who wouldn’t want to buy, roll-up, roll-up, get you billions here !

  5. Ironic that Renault is claiming they’re evaluating the Merc split turbo idea… R. Taffin said they evaluated it for this year’s PU and felt their solution was optimal.

    1. I guess that reality showed them otherwise.

    2. Learning process…. trial and error :)

  6. If Toto Wolff thinks double points are a mistake based on the fan reaction, Why does he continue to defend the standing restarts which have had an equally negative reaction, Not just from the fans but also from the drivers & F1 media in general.

    F1 is & should be a sport, The racing should be as pure as possible (Leave the gimmicks to the lesser categories). Introducing gimmicks & stuff purely for entertainment & spectacle is not the direction F1 should be going & will do nothing but continue to turn people off. Since these gimmicks started coming in (And I include DRS & Pirelli tyres in that statement) F1 has been in decline.
    Many longterm fans like myself who dislike the gimmicks have turned off & the casuals they were brought in to cater for don’t seem all that interested either.

    Its going a bit like Nascar, Which also introducing gimmicks aimed purely at entertainment & other such spectacle & they have been in decline ever since. Many of the older fans have gone & the casuals havn’t stuck around & in a panic Nascar have introduced more nonsense just for entertainment & spectacle (Boys have at it, The absurd chase points system made even more absurd this year) & all its done is continue if not speed up said decline.

    Racing fans want racing, They don’t want stupid gimmicks which do nothing but cheapen the sport so its no wonder many around the world have turned F1 off since 2011.
    If these casuals don’t think the racing is good enough without the gimmicks, Then frankly they don’t understand racing & won’t continue watching regardless.
    It was the purity of the racing & the excitement of the racing that got me hooked 35 or so years ago & thats kept me hooked ever since. Its these stupid gimmicks that are turning me off & I’ve missed a few races in the gimmick-era (Post 2011) & before that I’d watched every race that was shown on TV.

    Slowly but surely the gimmicks are killing my interest in F1 & slowly but surely there killing F1. The longer there kept, The harder they will be to get rid of & the more they will throw in.

    Take the sport back to 2010, One of the very best, Most exciting seasons I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. No gimmicks, Finally no fueling, Tyres drivers could race hard & most importantly real racing & real overtaking with a real championship battle. Thats what F1 should be about, Not cheap gimmicks whihc kill excitement & the sport!

    1. pretty much where I am at right now, glad you mentioned re-fuelling as that was Bernies 1st gimmick and was the beginning of the end for me.

      1. Didn’t refueling also has something to do with Ferrari having a thirsty engine and thinking they’d benefit from being able to run it full-throttle? (another of my bugbear about F1 .. Ferrari)

    2. Preach!

      Well said my friend. Well said. Gimmicks are killing F1 softly.

      1. I agree about gimmicks, but I don’t have nearly the issue with standing restarts as I do about double points. They have always done standing starts, so to me standing restarts make far more sense in adding excitement than gimmicks that have never been part of F1 until recently…the degrady tires, DRS, double points, and races being more about endurance and conservation than sprint than ever.

        Now that aero is reduced, and may remain reduced due to the need for fuel conservation, even if restrictions in the technical regs can get surmounted by the teams to claw back some downforce, and now that the tires are at least somewhat better, at least at some tracks, in terms of their durability and consistency, to me it is a great time to do away with DRS, and of course double points should just be erased and could be in a heartbeat. Standing restarts is for me far and away the least offensive of recent ideas.

        1. @robbie for me double points are levels above standing re-starts but my issue with standing re-starts is the ‘logistics’ involved. People moving into the track, engine and brakes coolers… how are we going to cope with those races with multiple SC? Unless they keep the new approach towards SC deployments (“let the marshals do it without SC!”)

          1. @jcost My understanding is that there won’t be any people on the grid. Essentially, the last lap of the safety car will be the same as the formation lap before the initial lap. It will still be a mess and I’m sure cars will line up incorrectly quite often…

    3. If Toto Wolff thinks double points are a mistake based on the fan reaction, Why does he continue to defend the standing restarts which have had an equally negative reaction

      The reaction against standing restarts has been largely negative, but not as vehement as the near-universal condemnation of double points. For example:

      67% say standing restarts will not improve F1 races (20% think it will)
      96% say no races should be worth double points

      1. @jcost Yes it is as @mike-dee has pointed out. There will not be crews coming out on the track etc like for the normal start. If it was like that I would also be against it. That would be too much delay and anti-climax imho. Rather, the safety car will pull off, the cars will line up in their respective spots on the grid, the red lights will come on as usual and then go off and away they go…should only add about a minute to the delay vs. a rolling restart.

        In terms of multiple safety cars…first of all that is rare, but I suspect in that case, as Whiting pointed out, these standing restarts will be at his discretion, and I’m sure there will be times when he will simply resort to the standard rolling restart when appropriate.

        As to the stats Keith has produced, I would add that in my own informal notation of comments being made there is not only universal condemnation about the double points, but everyone has several really strong and solid reasons to be against it.

        With standing restarts, not only are fewer against it, it seems to me the reasons aren’t as plentiful nor the arguments as strong…’it’s not normal or pure’ ‘it’s dangerous’ ‘it’s not fair’….to which I’ve argued, it is done to start races so it’s quite normal, most cars will pit for fresh tires so will be restarting on a level playing field ie. someone on 30 lap old tires will not likely be in the way as they won’t likely be expecting a successful restart on such tires and therefore won’t, and a leader could not only lose his gap but lose the lead altogether, and yes that is an unfair risk but without this type of potential there would be no excitement to the concept and they might as well stick with rolling restarts, and besides, DRS will take care of a leader ‘unfairly’ losing his lead due to a standing restart and he’ll be back in front in no time especially if he was dominating.

        I’ve never heard anyone crying for rolling starts to races, so if standing starts are ‘the only’ way to go, then I really don’t see the big outcry over standing restarts.

  7. Regarding the COTD….Did this not happen last year already? Feels like deja vu.


    I mean maybe Bernie has his ducks in a row this time I don’t know. However, I was under the impression it was not put on this year’s calendar for the exact reasons stated in the COTD….to fix the place up.

    1. I’m only making a guess here but I think the reason it wasn’t really possible to do it this year was because all the permits and detailed plans couldn’t have been finished in time to start the job early.

      I imagine most of that is done now already so it should be pretty straightforward this time around.

  8. Look im a Ham fan so it could work for him as he is behind or it could work against him. Does anyone think if a driver is a race win ahead going into the race that if that car retires the team should bring other guy in. It would sre be a fair way especially as the constructors will be rapped up. They would’nt do it bt i can garantee if Ros or Ham win because of double points they will be a fake WC

    1. Formula 1 drivers don’t care if they are labelled a fake World Champion

      1. as proven by Hamilton, who thought not calling out the safety car was a conspiracy – he would have gain 20 seconds and places – FAKE positions – not through driving, and he would have won the german GP :) They are all the same though when it comes to winning. look how Raikonnen won his championship, Massa had to give way to him.

  9. Hungary would be one of the first tracks I’d remove from the calendar given the chance. Whilst it is a great track to drive it usually produces a dull race. Rain looks possible for Sunday so hopefully that will make things interesting.

    1. it is a good track for a video game, but utterly terrible for F1.

  10. Well done Toto. I hope this prompts other people in paddock to speak their brains as well.

    1. It would have been better if they’d used their brains (or their fans’ brains) before they made the stupid decision in the first place. Being contrite after the event doesn’t really help.

      I like Toto Wolff and I’m glad to be hearing a lot from him this year as he comes across well and speaks a lot of sense, but that article included the quote “Bernie is running the show and there is nobody better out there to do that than he is.” Really? Is that truly Toto speaking his mind? Do these intelligent, business-savvy (well some of them) team principals and exec directors really think that no-one could do a better job than Bernie Ecclestone?

      1. Yup, I fully agree.

  11. It does beg the question: why did they take up until now it recognise they had made a “mistake”, when it was initially met with universal derision?

    I just hope it is deleted from the regulations at the climax of this season and we can forget about the whole torrid affair, and focus on the real issues such as Ecclestone’s alarmingly large retirement fund and more equal redistribution of wealth to allow the smaller outfits to compete.

    1. @vettel1
      The thing is Mercedes have never expected to be as dominant as they are now otherwise they would have opposed that rule straight away. The thing is Wolff had realized now that his team could be affected by this rule, not directly because even if both Roseberg and Hamilton will retire in the final round of the championship one of them will become WDC. In my opinion Mercedes will be heading towards “Abu Double” with one of their drivers (probably) having more wins under his belt than the other but with a chance for the 2 drivers to win the WDC.
      Imagine if that scenario happens, you will see how much bashing, booos and probably boycott (à la Hockenheim) F1 will get, it will be also a bad publicity to the Mercedes who will celebrate his first ever championship since its return.

  12. You would think Merc should be able to negotiate lower salaries for Lewis and Nico now that they’ve proved they are a championship winning team. Who would want to give up their seat at Mercedes at the moment :)

  13. Todt said they reviewed Double Points in the Strategy Group and it stayed because a team voted for it.

    1. @lockup

      Bernie said it was to help Ferrari.

      1. m.crash.net/f1/news/200012/1/blame-ferrari-for-double-points-ecclestone.html

      2. @baron-2 That isn’t really what Ecclestone said, but his point was fatuous anyway so I wouldn’t waste time on it. He was just having a dig at Montezemolo.

      3. @baron-2
        Bernie said that but we all know how much of a honest man he is. The thing is Bernie won’t do anything to help anyone unless his pocket will benefit from it. It is very obvious in this case the influence of the petrodollar. If Bernie’s intention is to help Ferrari to compete, why not he didn’t propose the removal of the engine freeze regime or the return of the unlimited testing ?

  14. “We shouldn’t have agreed to double points” – Wolff

    Oh really?!

    1. @vettel1 Aaaand you beat me on that :D. I was just about to put this in comment’s:
      “We shouldn’t have agreed to double points” – Wolff …. and Bernie broke his arm as a consequence.

      1. @vettel1 @nidzovski And toto’s response to it was rather epic…

        We’ve decided to leave it to the pros now. Lewis and Nico are better wheel to wheel at 300 km/h than we are at 30 km/h

  15. Did anyone click on the link: “The Great Hamilton Conspiracy (The Times, subscription required)”
    the summary underneath sounds like a Hamilton die-hard wrote it ,would be interesting to know if anyone paid the subscription and read the dribble.

    Toto is having second thoughts because he expected to be behind Redbull as usual, now he is finding out he will be the bad guy for spoiling one of his drivers championships and now regrets his support for double points. he is learning the ropes well in f1, he is acting more and more as a politician – he probably got that from Brawn.

    1. It sounds more like the article will point out how blatantly ridiculous it would be to hire a driver for a fortune just to hobble him.

    2. I read it before it was paywalled, and it did basically say that Mercedes wouldn’t pay $60 million+ for the best driver (in their opinion of course), then purposefully hobble his car.

  16. Boycott the race… turn off the tele… that’s all that matter to the powers that be.

    1. Won’t affect viewing figures.

  17. “We shouldn’t have agreed to double points” – Wolff

    too little too late…

  18. Right so if Wolff has spoken out about the gimmick how long before somebody else speaks out? Haven’t really heard much from teams in regards to this. Is it possible however, if all the teams disagree that there could be a revote?

  19. With regards to the “The Great Hamilton Conspiracy”, just responding to the quote, but that doesn’t proof anything. McLaren paid a fortune for Alonso and at the end of the season they were in no hurry to help Alonso win the championship.

    They got Hamilton to help them create a better car, Rosberg learned a couple of tricks from Hamilton’s telemetry and now they don’t actually need Hamilton anymore to win the championship.

    I don’t believe there is a conspiracy against Hamilton, but it does seem that Rosberg got the better team of mechanics and other little things like that. They way Toto Wolff keeps cracking down on just about everything that Hamilton says also shows there is not much love lost there.

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