The subject of awarding double points at the end of the F1 season has proved controversial since its introduction at Christmas. As things stand the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner will collect 50 points and the driver finishing third will score 30 – more than the winner gets at any other 2014 Grand Prix.
Bernie Ecclestone, whose idea this was, is now pushing for the last three races to be awarded double points, which would require unanimous approval from the teams.
But with the obvious problems faced by Renault powered teams at this early stage of the season – Red Bull in particular – the word among teams backed by Mercedes is that they will block any upgrading of the final three rounds.
A senior figure in one of the customer teams pointed out that “turkeys are hardly likely to vote for Christmas”, while Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said last week that F1 should listen to its audience – the fans – and take note of the angry reaction to the idea of double points.
Renault has promised a fix for its problems with the new hybrid turbo power train by the next test in Bahrain, but Red Bull is already on the back foot after limited running in Jerez.
It looks set to start the season chasing the Mercedes and Ferrari powered teams and would surely welcome the chance to close the gap in October and November with three double points hauls. So now it’s gone from a novelty idea aimed at hopefully boosting audiences to a political football and there is a strong lobby against.
Red Bull’s record in the final three races of the last five seasons is very strong.
In 2009 Red Bull won the last three races, two for Vettel and one for Webber; in 2010 Vettel won two of the last three races, in 2011 he had already clinched the title by that stage; in 2012 he had a second and a third place; in 2013 he won all the last three races.
Ecclestone meanwhile has come out with the astonishing claim that he pushed through the double points initiative to help Ferrari. He has made public some quotes today suggesting that he told Ferrari’s president he had done it to help his team, because they were not performing,
“He (Ferrari president Luca de Montezemolo) was talking about it and I said: ‘It is very simple why we got that [rule]. It is because you aren’t performing. If you were doing what you should be doing there wouldn’t be any need for it,’ ” Ecclestone is quoted as saying.
“He said: ‘I know, I know.’”