F1’s hated double points finale likely to be a one-off

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

The Formula One drivers’ championship will be decided today in a race where double points will be awarded for the first – and potentially last – time.

Bernie Ecclestone’s decision to offer double points for the final race of the season, to increase the likelihood of the title being decided at the final round, was met with derision by fans of the sport. In an F1 Fanatic poll, 96% showed a preference for scrapping the plan.

Team bosses, former champions and even current racers – who are normally reluctant to criticise Formula One – have added their voices to the widespread condemnation of the plan, with only a small handful able to find anything positive to say about it.

While Ecclestone originally tried to have the plan extended to offer double points for the final three races, he has recently indicated it will be dropped for 2015.

That leaves today’s race as potentially a one-off. Given Mercedes’ performance, double points remains unlikely to affect the outcome of the drivers’ championship (see below), it could influence other positions in the final outcome, including the constructors’ championship ranking, which determines how much money the teams receive.

How double points could decide the title outcome

What they say about double points

Current drivers

For the future I wouldn’t perhaps advise it for the following years.
Lewis Hamilton

The concept is really artificial, I don’t like it and that is a pity, but that is the way it is and we have got to accept it.
Nico Rosberg

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Daniel Ricciardo

Whatever the situation will be I am not a fan of the double points, as I don’t understand the reason behind it.
Sebastian Vettel

I don’t know [if he would have been happy to win the championship in 2008 with double points]. Maybe it can be worse now.

I think it’s impossible to say ‘it’s stupid’, or, ‘it’s a good thing’ before it happens. It’s a crazy thing, but maybe it’s interesting and we’ll see.

To be honest, I think that when you have a very good championship, it could even help make it better. If you don’t have a good championship, it doesn’t change anything.
Felipe Massa

I think it will create a much better final race where things can completely change for everyone.
Sergio Perez

Past champions and others

I was never in favour of double points because it’s artificial. Maybe sometimes it could be good for the interest of the championship. But I don’t like very much the idea of a race giving more points than another.
Alain Prost

With the new points regulations it could be catastrophic – I would not have won those two championships because of it. I don’t think it’s a brilliant idea, it’s not good at all.
Mika Hakkinen

I think it’s a terrible idea. It’s showing that Formula One right now there’s no way to invent any more to try and create some interest. It’s overly artificial, just the way the rules are in general with the DRS and everything.

But at least that one with the points is the same for everyone. Everyone knows before the start of the season that at the end of the season there will be a double-point race. I’m not sure what the purpose is apart from keeping the Abu Dhabi organisers, who spend millions to have a race, trying to keep the interest until their own race.
Jacques Villeneuve

I’m not a supporter. I don’t think they should be there. We have to keep it pure. I don’t think it’s going to add anything to the season.
Jackie Stewart

I’m sitting on the fence with the double points at the last race because I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing.

I’d hate for either one of them to go into the last race and have a mechanical and lose the world championship because of double points.
Nigel Mansell

It will make things exciting. I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s stupid but why isn’t it a good idea? Maybe it’s a great idea. It’s all artificial anyway.
Damon Hill

I hope the result doesn’t get affected because of the double points, because that will be raised down the years.

It was a stupid thing to bring in so let’s hope we’ve seen the last of it. It should have been cancelled before this race happened. It’s a shocker but we’ll have to live with it for this race.
Eddie Irvine

With the double points in Abu Dhabi, you would hope that the champion is not the one that wins because of that. Because there will always be an asterisk [alongside his name].

But then again, he’s still the champion.
Mario Andretti

Purely a commercial gimmick. I think it’s totally and utterly wrong. This means of trying to artificially change the results of championships or races is something which is not in the true spirit of what we should be trying to achieve.
John Surtees

Formula One figures

[It] just seems to me to be cheapening the sport. It makes it just a little bit WWF* to me.

*World Wrestling Federation, now World Wrestling Entertainment
Adrian Newey

I think when it was decided we didn’t put too much emphasis on it, we didn’t think it was a big drama. It’s clear that you have to support the commercial rights holder and if TV audience dropping I think we have an obligation to listen.

When we got the reaction afterwards it was not what we expected. You have to honour that and I think nothing has changed since then. The last race remains double points. Let’s see what we are able to do next year.
Toto Wolff (in March)

Exactly the same as what Toto was saying.
Claire Williams

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.
Toto Wolff (in June)

I can’t say I like this idea very much as it seems rather artificial and not very sporting.
Luca di Montezemolo

I think of course the fans’ opinions matter and I think that I don’t think it’s any secret that I wasn’t particularly in favour of it.

I can understand why the governing body and the promoter are keen to keep 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 scoring system.
Christian Horner

The fact it came to us, that’s good for Abu Dhabi, it will keep things exciting to the last minute – I feel the mentality of the drivers will change.
Yas Marina chief executive Al Tareq al-Ameri

I was surprised to get so much emotion for this thing that I do not feel is a huge change in F1. But again we need to listen to that and hopefully we will take that into consideration.
Jean Todt

The double points is a fake fix. What’s better is to solve the issue and make the racing more compact.
Tony Fernandes

[Critics of double points] don’t know why it’s a bad idea. They have no idea why.
Bernie Ecclestone (in January)

One race is stupid but imagine if it was the last three races. It means that somebody would have to have a 150-point advantage minimum to be sure they will win. The teams have not accepted it because they are bloody idiots.
Bernie Ecclestone (in November)

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

    Browse all 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    20 comments on “F1’s hated double points finale likely to be a one-off”

    1. We’ve been focussing so badly on the championship and this double rule that we forgot about that other championship. It most likely won’t affect Ham vs. Ros but might be a big influence if both Williams drivers end up in trouble with both Ferrari cars in the top 5.

    2. The only way I’d come close to liking double points would be if it was turned into a Joker system similar to what they have in Speedway, effectively every driver would be given the opportunity to pick a race that they’d score double points in but they’d have to nominate the race before 1st Practice on Friday.
      Even then I wouldn’t be overly supportive of the idea and would much rather have standardised scoring for ever race.

    3. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      23rd November 2014, 10:31

      Jacques is the only one with the balls to chastise double-points for all it deserves. Good on you mate! Well said!

      The key figures of F1 like the drivers, the team bosses and previous legends etc. have not been outspoken or critical enough about it. They all say “well I don’t really think it’s a good idea.” Or “I’m not particularly in favour of it, but perhaps we should give it a chance.”.

      What a load of tosh. These people of high importance should use the weight of their opinion to stamp out this idiocy if Formula One wants to maintain itself as an actual sport, not a circus act.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        23rd November 2014, 10:36

        And John Surtees, well said.

    4. “Past champions and others”

      I think you meant “…and Irvine” :p

    5. I don’t like double points, but I’ll be a cynic this time.

      Double points is unfair, but it achieved it’s goal – to keep interest until the last race. If there weren’t double points, Hamilton would have to finish 6th to clinch title and the interest wasn’t as huge as now. And if Hamilton is stuck behind one of the Williamses after the start, we may see a huge drama, considering Williams have about 7 km/h speed advantage on the straights.

      Besides, many people are talking about double points. That means, F1 is getting some exposure, nevertheless negative one. And it’s better than getting nothing.

      So double points may prove a masterstroke plan.

      1. @osvaldas31

        it achieved it’s goal – to keep interest until the last race. If there weren’t double points, Hamilton would have to finish 6th to clinch title and the interest wasn’t as huge as now

        Obviously I don’t like double points either, and I’m not sure I’d even grant it this minor success.

        Without double points the championship would still be undecided. Do the fairweather fans F1 hopes to attract with this gimmick really draw that big a distinction between the likelihood of Hamilton finishing third instead of sixth? I doubt it.

        Besides which, with Mercedes being so quick this year, he’s very unlikely to finish in either position.

        Besides, many people are talking about double points. That means, F1 is getting some exposure, nevertheless negative one.

        This is the worst argument in favour of anything. There’s a limit to how often the sport can make itself look stupid before people stop losing interest. And with F1’s viewing figures already plummeting, now is not the time to put that to the test.

      2. @osvaldas31 The objective was to increase viewing figures. But has it done that *over the season*?

        DP has made all the other races LESS important, after all.

        Only 50,000 at Interlagos…

    6. Correct me if i’m wrong : Eccelstone and Hamilton had a talk and Hamilton said that he liked the idea 3 last races worth double points

      1. I believe he said it was slightly better than one race, but that no double points is always better.

    7. Double points for the season opener, the last race in Europe and the finale could work. This could keep an aspect of injustice grumbling on throughout the season. This would keep F1 in the press. The bidding for whom gets the mid-season double points race would add to Bernie’s coffers and their circuit would get lots of promotion. Traditionalists would not like the system but they would still watch.

    8. So the only ones who like this silly BS are those who have financial gains from it. Everyone else is against it.

    9. Am I the only one to noticed that someone wanted the RBRs not to bother Lewis Hamilton at all…. That’s more artificial than double points… If you trust the scrutineers, RBR was just singled out if you don’t or you think that other teams are doing the same, you could say that this is a criminal offence from whoever ordered it.

    10. I don’t like the idea that any of the races have more emphasis than the others… they should be equivalent. That’s why I hate this double points system.

    11. Massa’s last sentence says it well: To be honest, I think that when you have a very good championship, it could even help make it better. If you don’t have a good championship, it doesn’t change anything.

      … and this year, it actually devalued the previous race as Brazil could have been a decider otherwise, but wasn’t due to ROS just winning.

    12. If you want double points, hold a double race on the last weekend of the season, as they have done several times in Indycar this year. Qualify on Friday, Race 1 on Saturday, Race 2 on Sunday. Two events, each with normal points. There shouldn’t be extra points if you’re not driving the extra miles. Simple concept, I think.

    13. Bernie says:
      [Critics of double points] don’t know why it’s a bad idea. They have no idea why.

      Love it. Bernie, how about just hearing what they said: It’s phony, arbitrary and potentially highly unfair and will eventually create a hollow result. Just imagine, if Hamilton had been driving Rosberg’s car today, he’d have lost the championship, even with almost double the wins. Crazy.

    14. Bernie really is a massive idiot. Actually, that’s the wrong adjective given his unfortunate stature.

    15. Well that is some good news.

    Comments are closed.