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Wolff admits controversial double points system is unfair
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  22 Jul 2014   |  5:11 pm GMT  |  195 comments

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said that Formula One’s controversial double points system is “unfair” and that the sport’s team should not have allowed its introduction.

In a post-Hockenheim debrief, Wolff continued his weekend comments on the low turnout at the German GP (where a crowd of approximately 50,000 watched the race), saying that the sport needs to heed the opinions of fans regarding certain developments in F1.

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

Expanding on the theme, Wolff said: “I would be very surprised if [the championship battle] didn’t come down to the infamous double points race in Abu Dhabi. Even if one driver is 30 points behind, he can turn that deficit around if the other car retires.

“I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think we should be doing it from a sporting perspective. But from the view of the commercial rights holder, whose interests lie in selling sponsorship and growing TV audiences, the system works.”

The Mercedes boss added that should the title be awarded thanks to the controversial system, it may affect the championship runner-up badly.

“Of course, if a driver wins the Championship on double points he won’t care how it happened,” added Wolff. “But the one who loses may need psychological treatment afterwards!”

Wolff said that the low crowd figure for the German GP was “a real shame”, but he insisted that Formula One “is getting it right” in terms of the spectacle being offered to fans.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 17.08.41“To be honest I’m not really sure [why the figure was low] because this is not the first great race we have had this season,” he said. “The last couple of rounds in particular have been great to watch, with lots of overtaking everywhere on the circuit. It’s been mega sport, with some spectacular moments and great racing. I think this shows that Formula One is in really good shape.

“It’s important we understand the big picture, as from the sporting side I think all of us are getting it right,” he added. “We have to properly analyses why there were not more spectators in Hockenheim, as it was a real shame. I’m not a marketing expert in terms of why we may or may not have a particular moment behind the sport or a particular sportsperson. Having a local hero definitely helps a lot. Viewers switch on because they want to see their heroes compete – for them it’s all about the drivers and this is one of the appeals of the sport.

“The situation is far more complex than that, though. I think people have far more options in terms of how they can follow the sport than they had 10 or 15 years ago. Back then you wouldn’t open up the internet and have everything available to you instantly like you do now. Perhaps this has an influence, but unfortunately I don’t have the answer.

Regarding taking fans’ concerns into account, Wolff insisted that Formula One “does not need a revolution”.
“As team members we must be careful with out opinion on these things,” he said. “We are running teams and this is what we understand. Bernie is running the show and there is nobody better out there to do this [than him]. We’ve had good conversations about it over the last few days and we are going to have more opportunities to give our input but it is not our role to give an opinion on matters such as ticket prices and we shouldn’t try to interfere.

“There are many things to look at but Formula One definitely does not need a revolution. This should be an evolutionary process. We need to be open to all opinions and help to shape the direction of the sport moving forwards. As a group the teams talked the sport down at the beginning of the year, so in a way many of us are to blame.”

 

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1

I actually don’t think the double points system is a bad idea.

It creates a big spectacle for the final race of the year and puts a lot of pressure on whoever is ahead in the championship going into the final race, as even a 15-20 point lead is not safe. It’s going to be a lot harder to win the championship by only having to finish fifth in the final race than it used to be, and I don’t think it is a bad thing.

Where F1 gets it wrong is in the execution of the idea. If you want to turn the last race into a big spectacle, then add some more spice to the mix. Why not have the last race of the year at a different track each year? It would be a big honor for the track owners to be able to host the championship deciding event. Imagine the championship coming down to Suzuka or Monza or Spa on any given year rather than Abu Dhabi every single year.

2

Toto, I thought you were better than this…

“As team members we must be careful with out opinion on these things,” he said. “We are running teams and this is what we understand. Bernie is running the show and there is nobody better out there to do this [than him]. We’ve had good conversations about it over the last few days and we are going to have more opportunities to give our input but it is not our role to give an opinion on matters such as ticket prices and we shouldn’t try to interfere.”

You suck, Toto.

If Bernie was doing a properly good job, you wouldn’t be having to address plummeting TV viewer #s, depressed ticket sales, and worldwide, widespread fan-disgust with the state of the Formula (1).

Just another “go along to get along” man whose expression of regret about agreeing to Bernie’s Folly (double points) rings totally HOLLOW.

3

Double points – this is a good example of “group think” where the implications of the decision were not thought through. It has all the elements of quick fix marketing idea that did not consider the impact on the F1 brand and the consequential loss of followers.

4

It feels like ages since this ill-thought rule was set against Red-Bull-Vettel domination. Now the talk is about the Lewis-Nico intra-team battle.

But what about the midfield? An Abu-Dhabi race with plenty of retirements (like Monaco or Canada) would for instance allow a midfielder to finish 5th, bringing 20 points to the team and overtaking a team or two in the Teams’ Championship. That is worth millions and the losing Team Principals will be in want of psychological help.

5

Double points is introduced to put more pressure on a team who has a big advantage.

We know from the Vettel WDC’s that fans start to lose interest when a championship leader has a big margin. Double points means teams far away in points have a chance and a chance worth fighting for.

So we can all blame Vettel and RBR for this 😉

The point is that now you have the Merc’s running away with it but F1 needs fans to keep watching and attending races towards the end even if 1 team or driver has a big advantage.

Make no mistake that the battle between ROS and HAM will keep the fans watching and thats what F1 management want and you know what, it’s also secretly what the fans will want when their favorite driver from MERC either HAM or ROS is behind with a few races to go.

When the field evens up then lose double points otherwise stop whining about it because you know you want it !

6

“Admits” implies he was pushing for it. Was he, ever?

7

Who knows if his original comments to MercAMGPetronasF1 PR were even made in English…may very well have spoken in German from which the english-language article was translated for posting to Merc’s site? Idk…just speculating, and can’t be bothered to go check on Merc site since JAonF1 did such a good job reporting on TW’s comments.

8

the only unfairness i see is change of rules midway through the season. track limits were viciously policed in austria costing hamilton hugely during qualifying and yet ignored in Germany. once the season has started they should keep all rules the same until the end of the season for the sake of fairness. double points is surely not unfair in my eyes.

9

Sorry aveli but I can’t agree with that one.

As much as the teams and their sponsors want us looking at their cars double points won’t make a speck of difference in that regard.

The only cars we usually see are the ones who are fighting for position. Cars at the back are rarely seen – which is understandable – but while you would think that that the cars at the front would get more attention ask yourself: In the race just gone how often did we see Rosberg on the TV? Answer: Almost never.

It’s my hope for Abu Dhabi that we get to see some good fights and that at the end of the day the double points won’t make any difference to who wins the championship, because if that doesn’t end up being the case then it’s going to be unfair and an absolute shame for whoever has to go home second.

10

if all the teams stop developing going into the last race and marsupial put most of their effort into the last race and win it, how much advertising will they get? they will be in all forms of media.

11

In that sense it’s not unfair and I agree 100% with what you say, but what Wolff is saying is that the rule itself is unfair (which I also agree with 100%).

12

i like your take on logic random 79 but i am not sure if it is my place to be telling you about advertising. rosberg was on the podium to receive the highest number of eye focus. those eyes later read about his success on newspapers, magazines and internet, focusing yet again on his logos.

williams built on their past small successes into bigger successes by getting rid of pdvsa and getting proper sponsorship. they caged their rottweiler and bulked up on key staff. look at them now, how many days have got by without a story being written about them in any of the media?

i could go on but i think you’ve got the outline at least. double points could bring a team which maintain their focus from the back of the grid to the front if their competitors gave up to focus on next season’s car, resulting in further exposure to attract further sponsorship. all of a sudden double points are regarded differently. yes stories get written about battling cars too but more so if your cars is in with a chance. got it?

13

i like your approach random 79 but double points will keep the teams all focused on the job right up to the last race, fighting for eyes focused on their sponsorship logos.

14

I’ll be keeping the normal 25 points at the finale. I’ll know in my head who was the real champion.

P.S. James. Any chance telling Bernie to get rid of these stupid electronic advertising’s we are increasingly seeing on TV, they’re putting me off watching the race.

One camera shot you see a Pirelli sign or whatever and then you see another camera shot and there’s nothing there!!

I think F1 already has enough fakeness thanks:(

15

Just wait until they start introducing CG crowds.

You know it’s going to happen…

16

While we talk about how the double points will affect the outcome of the drivers championship the midfield teams are the ones that could really be affected most. There is little doubt that Mercedes will win the constructors championship and the monetary rewards that come with the title but lower down in the standing there are a number of teams in close battles that stand to win or lose millions. Just a thought.

17

If Hamilton wins the last race and wins the championship due to the benefit of double points, will people still think its unfair even if he suffers more retirements than Rosberg during the season?

I don’t agree with double points for the last race (as its unfair) but curious to what people think of this possibility. I dislike the points system but I dislike even more the effect of car reliability on the outcome of a drivers championship. I think its worth considering going back to the old system (pre 1990), where only the drivers best results counted.

18

ooo, interesting potential material conditional scenario.

all I know is that, by hook or by crook, I hope Hammy is 2014 WDC!

19

Red Bull Racing consultant Dr. Helmut Marko, who has Vettel under contract until the end of next year, said McLaren has made the four-time title winner an “outrageously” high offer.

Source Autoweek

20

An outrageously high offer? Like a car that doesn’t break down every second race? 😉

21

You can say all you like on the subject of the double points, but it really boils down to one thing and that is it is just “WRONG”

Off the top of my head I can not think of another sport which when it gets down to the business end that it is made easier.

I play sports my self, and once you get to the end after having a battle with another person, and you are at the business end that is when sport comes into its own. That is what sport is all about!! Its then a battle of will, a battle to make yourself go that extra mile, BUT DOUBLE POINTS JUST MAKES THIS INTO A JOKE…….

F1 is fast becoming a joke sport……I like F1 because if something doesn’t work they change it, it may come at the next race, the next year or for major changes maybe a couple of years later. How many sports are prepared to do that? Change the fundamentals of their sport for the sake of the sport, but I am affaird that they have started to take this a bit to far and instead of making changes for the best, they are making changes that makes it look stupid.

If the final race is won and it changes the way the championship is won, F1 will be a laughing stock to the world. Its not high on the agenda at the moment because its many months away and its not in many people thought process, but mark my words come November when the new champion is selected, if it swaps hands because of the final double points, there will be an out cry then and people will feel cheated because of the out come.

I can see it happening right now, THANK YOU BERNIE……..

22

I was agreeing with you, right until the ‘Bernie’ part.

The team bosses agreed on this. ALL of them.

23

If he doesn’t like double points then why did he vote for them?

The rest of his comments are just putting his head in the sand. Attendance has nothing to do with German culture, or the world cup, or any of that. The same weekend there was a truck race at the Nurburgring that got 100,000 people and the weekend before another 100,000 went to the German Moto GP race. If F1 is only getting 50,000 then you know that will ring some alarm bells.

24

Trucks? Was it at the ‘modern’ track or the proper one?

I count myself an F1 fan, but between this year’s race and a bunch of trucks hammering down the Nordschleife (if that’s were it was), I don’t think I would have taken too long to make up my mind… I bet the tickets would be cheaper, too.

25

Double points is a farce. Cost control is a farce. Racing is Russia is a farce. Someone should ask Toto how his Petronas sponsors feel about having their marque displayed in Sochi come October. Even better, someone should ask Petronas.

26

How is racing in Russia different from racing in Bahrain, China or US?

27

Not to mention that fact that neither Bahrain, nor China nor even US govt are supplying advanced military air defense hardware to untrained, undisciplined, drunk rabble seeking to overthrow a legitimate, democratically-elected sovereign gov’t (diplomatically recognized w/ a seat at UN too, btw!), who then just happen to use it to murder nearly 300 innocent civilians flying over a European country at 33k feet.

28

Sanctions

29

Ouch toto is reported to have had a cycling accident resulting with a lot of broken bones and metal work…get well soon toto!!!! Guess we wont see him at the next few races.

I know how much that hurts cos same happened to me couple years back

30

Maybe you, Wolff and Webber could start a cycling team 😉

31

he’s as tough as schwarzenegger so should be on the pit lane.

32

This just in..

Rumours abt an outrageously high offer made from Mclaren to Vettel ( From the mouth of Dr.Helmut Marko ) and Mercedes also showing interest in Vettel ( though unlikely)to have an all German line up for 2015

Anyone has got anything to add?

33

Yer, heard that Vettel is going to retire for good.

34

If we must have a farcical rule such as double points, why not allow a driver a ‘joker’ which he can play at any race entitling him to double points for just that race.

At least it would enable an element of skill from the driver and team predicting their competitiveness at any given circuit to use double points to their full advantage. Playing of the joker would be announced by all teams at the same time on race day morning so no team could react on the actions of another.

Once played that’s it.

35

The Double Points Bonanza will sure create Outrage & Heartbreak. If that is the goal of the FIA, then they should go ahead. Personally I think it is a bit unfortunate to have the double points in Abu Dhabi. It is not a classic circuit. It tends to produce boring races.

36

it’s the last race and teams tend to loose interest in the championship by the last race if the main positions have already been decided before the last few races. the double points will keep their focus.

37

My vote too on how silly and disappointing the double-point is in case FIA is listening as Toto says it should.

Interesting to note that the last race is at Abu Dhabi – a venue that has never hosted the last race in F1. Correct me if I’m wrong. Interesting also that the UAE is a super rich nation with a bold drive to survive past the fossil fuel era. Land reclaimed palm Island and mini Earth are cases in point. They are bold and inspiring projects, no doubt. Is Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with double points for winner another such project?

No one can deny that while the reasons given for the double-point system is to take the fight to the last race, it also humbles UAE equally well. Lots of attendees, lots of focus, lots of money (which will find its way to CWC, no doubt). Is this the motivation? If not, why wasn’t Spa, Monza, Interlagos chosen for the last race? They are real classics of F1. Me smells some’ fishy. No disrespect intended to UAE!

38

Abu Dhabi has hosted the last race in F1. My apologies for saying otherwise.

39

You are wrong.

Abu Dhabi has hosted the final race of the season!

Vettal’s first world championship, when Alonso got stuck behind Lotus/Renault in 7th place and Webb made a huge mess of crossing the winning line, which both gifted Vettal the championship because he went on and won that race and just did enough.

40

Abu Dhabi hosted the last race of the season in both 2009 and 2010. Both were utterly dreadful races, as the layout makes racing nearly impossible. It also has a very small capacity (45,000) so the atmosphere just isn’t there.

41

Look on the bright side about this rule. It looks like the Mercs will be locked into a tight battle going into the last race. It will be winner take all. No being 10 points ahead and cruising around in second place. We would see some ugly scenes there with one Merc backing the other into traffic no doubt. Would be hilarious to watch. What we will see is an all our effort to win the race from both guys. I can see Nico heading to the last race ahead because of DNF’s etc for Lewis and then bottling it.

42

+1

People seem to forget that last year most F1 drivers were looking forward for the F1 season to end before they even turned a wheel on InterLagos. Driving the race was a mere formality to them. They were already looking forward to the Xmas break and the 2014 season …

This will no longer be the case.

All the hard work can be undone at the very end.

Expect a raw ending of the 2014 season.

There will be tears. Just like in 2008.

Remember, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

For 2015, please swap Abu Dhabi with Brasil.

43

I agree, swap Abu Dhabi with Brazil. The random nature of the Interlagos track with the weather would be amazing with it being an all or nothing race.

I don’t like the double points rule but I do want to see an all or nothing race.

44

“Viewers switch on because they want to see their heroes compete – for them it’s all about the drivers and this is one of the appeals of the sport.”

This is only true for a portion of fans. Some of us enjoy the entire spectacle without firm favourites.

“The situation is far more complex than that, though. I think people have far more options in terms of how they can follow the sport than they had 10 or 15 years ago. Back then you wouldn’t open up the internet and have everything available to you instantly like you do now. “

He is way off the mark with this statement, and herein lies a major problem with modern F1; that it has NOT taken advantage of the modern technologies.

Most people have to pay to watch F1 on TV.

Ticket prices are prehibitively high, even in the more affluent countries.

There is no online alternative for watching a race in real time.

Fix those three things and you will have viewers by the billions. Then there will be no need for the gimmick of double points.

The racing this year has, despite my fears of DRS etc, been excellent. In my opinion all that is needed is easy access to watch the races, and perhaps a smaller focus on money-making by the owners which only serves to alienate those fans who are expected to have “ownership” of F1.

45

Errr, so I guess you’re completely unaware of the fact that anyone, anywhere in the world can access the live SKYSportsF1 feed in near-HD quality on race day w/ a couple of mouse clicks to any one of a dozen websites that make it available free of charge? And that what Wolff is saying is that, unlike 15 years ago, there is massive coverage of F1 available online including in real-time via social media updates and post-race summaries that are available only as long after the race as it takes the author to publish his text – so w/in an hour, say – not to mention torrent sites like Racing for Me that all together mean you never need visit a grand prix or sit in front of a live broadcast to know who won and how?

46

Perhaps the drivers should all have a season ‘joker’ and play it at the start of the race of their choice.

Then they get double the points they score in that race, just like that good old TV show.

And then, after each race, spin a ‘wheel of fortune’ for each driver to earn bonus points if he can answer a trivia question correctly.

Add on how many litres of fuel he has left, deduct the number of seconds whilst stationary in all the pit-stops he made and add the last digit of his racing number.

That should spice it all up a bit…

47

I said that in a post many months ago and I agree with you this whole idea would be made better if everyone had a joker card to play..!!!

May be in one race a driver could use a bumper car and take people out, it could be like Mario Karts and people shooting apples and orange, and laying the track with oil…….

Yes that all sound so stupid and silly, but you know what, its just as silly and stupid as DOUBLE POINTS…..

48

Have said all along (as it would seem have the majority who frequent this site) that the double points idea is ridiculous.

If they can make a rule change that requires actual effort by the teams (removing FRIC), they can surely change the farcical double points rule.

As for the state of F1 in general, I’ve loved the sport since I first saw it as a 12 year old. I’m probably in a minority here, but there is nothing they could do that would ever make me NOT want to watch it. I’m a fan for life.

49

“I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think we should be doing it from a sporting perspective. But from the view of the commercial rights holder, whose interests lie in selling sponsorship and growing TV audiences, the system works.”

It hasn’t happened yet so how can Toto Schwarzenegger say “the system works”?

It is so stupid in the way that F1 finds audience figures are dropping when fans have been complaining about the lack of noise, the wide front and tall + narrow rear wings, EDB, Vettel, bendy noses and flexi-floors were to blame, then Bernie decided it was the points that’s the problem. How the fook is points related??

F1 is becoming a huge farce, bloody nonsense.

50

Hahahaha I like what you did there 😛 😉

51

Hopefully one of them will win the championship before then, or the points tally is so tight between them that under both points system scenarios, that it will be a winner takes all race. I hate double points beyond 100%.

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