Formula 1 teams opposed to double-points races

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP takes the lead from Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing at the start of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix 2013.

The majority of Formula 1 teams are against Bernie Ecclestone's proposal to award double points for the final three grands prix of this season.

The sport has introduced double points for the last race in Abu Dhabi but F1's organiser wants to extend it, for which he needs the teams' unanimous approval.

BBC Sport has learned there is widespread disquiet at the latest plan.

Only Lotus would comment, a spokesman saying: "The best thing would be to make all the races double points."

Bernie Ecclestone in the paddock before a grand prix.
Will Bernie Ecclestone get his way?

Discussions with Ecclestone are ongoing but teams have a range of concerns about the idea:

  • More than one top team believe it would be wrong to change the rules a month before the start of the season
  • Some point out F1 fans have given an overwhelmingly negative response to the one-race-double-points plan, so it would not be wise to antagonise the sport's public further
  • Changing the rules at a time when pre-season testing has already started, and at least some sense of the competitive order is emerging, would not be sportingly equitable, some argue
  • Red Bull and their engine supplier Renault had a nightmare first test, and may well struggle to be up to speed for the start of the season, so their rivals are not keen to weight the championship towards the final races.
  • Early season unreliability is a chance for the lower-budget teams at the back of the field to score good results, so they would be opposed to increasing the importance of later races when the rich teams will benefit.
  • Trying to improve the show by what some have termed a gimmick is papering over the cracks and tantamount to admitting that there is a fundamental problem with the current state of F1, some say.

In theory, only one team needs to object for Ecclestone's three-race plan to be scuppered.

However, one insider pointed out that Ecclestone's position within F1 is so powerful, and that he has significant influence with the teams. He added: "If Bernie wants it, he'll get it."

Ecclestone says his motivation for introducing double points at some races was falling television audiences last year after the championship was won by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel three races before the end of the season.

Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull Racing prepares to drive during day two of Formula One Winter Testing at the Circuito de Jerez on January 2.
Sebastian Vettel has already called the F1 double points plan "absurd"

He initially proposed double points for the last three races, but when teams objected to that plan, he and FIA president Jean Todt pushed through the one-race idea in December.

Ecclestone wrote to the teams last month saying he now wanted to go back to his original idea and extend the plan to the preceding races in the USA and Brazil as well as Abu Dhabi.

Sources say the promoter of the Brazilian Grand Prix - a close ally of Ecclestone - has asked for double points to be awarded at that race.

Ferrari had already made clear their unease about the single-race scheme before Ecclestone's latest proposal.

Their president Luca Di Montezemolo said in December he felt it was "artificial", although he has since accepted that it should be employed at the final race this season on a trial basis.

And Mercedes co-team boss Toto Wolff said last week that he also had concerns about it.

There have been plenty of rule changes for the 2014 F1 season

"Ninety-nine per cent of the fans say it is the wrong move so perhaps it is something we have to revisit," Wolff said.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said last week that he felt extending the scheme to the final three races would "take away an element of lottery over that last race".

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