Double Trouble in Abu Dhabi?
Every form of entertainment wants an exciting finish and sport these days doesn’t care if that has to be manufactured in some way. That’s why we see all these play-offs taking place and explains just why F1 is lumbered with the ridiculous double points race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
It was the landslide victory in 2013 by Sebastian Vettel that caused F1 to take this crazy step. Vettel had the title sown up so early the season ended with a bit of a whimper last year and F1 was determined not to see that happen again this year.
The trouble is that the double points rule simply isn’t needed this season. Despite two drivers totally dominating the championship this year, we still have a classic finish lined up regardless of how many points are on the line in the final race.
So how does the double points rule affect the final race? It simply gives an advantage to the driver chasing the championship leader. Of course if Lewis Hamilton finishes ahead of Nico Rosberg, then it doesn’t matter if it’s double points or triple points as the British driver will win the title. Incidentally if in 2008 there had been double points on the last race then Felipe Massa and not Hamilton would have won the title that year. The results of the 2003 and 2012 title races would also have been different if the rule had been in place then.
If Rosberg does win the race on Sunday then normally Hamilton could afford to finish sixth and still win his second World title. But with double points a Rosberg win means Hamilton would have to finish in second place to win the title, If Rosberg were to finish second and Hamilton sixth then again the German wins what would surely be a tarnished world title. If Hamilton was to fail to finish, Rosberg would simply need a fifth placed finish to win the title compared to second under the usual sensible rules.
What’s really crazy about this stipulation is that when F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone raised the idea, no attempts were made to overturn it. So if that’s the case why do so many drivers and F1 teams hate the idea? Even before the rule was passed one leading team boss anonymously told the BBC “most participants would agree to ditch” the proposal if given the chance.
Since then the criticisms of the new rule have been plenty. Ferrari President Luca Di Montezemolo said he’s “not enthusiastic” about the rule and feels it’s “too artificial.” He likened the rule, to making footballers play in tennis shoes in the rain “because they slip more”. Now don’t give footie fan Ecclestone any ideas Mr Di Montezemolo, just in case he ever buys a league team.
The drivers aren’t too keen on the rule either. Sebastian Vettel feels it’s “absurd and punishes those who have worked hard for a whole season. Drivers, fans and experts are horrified.”
Ecclestone doubts if this unwanted rule will be in force next season but it could have been even worse. Bernie actually wanted the final three races of the season to have double points but won’t be recommending that for 2015. He told ‘The Independent’: “I’m going to let them get on with it. I don’t know what we’re going to do next year.”
Commenting on the one-race double points scenario, Ecclestone ranted: “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. They are all mechanics. They think of their team in the short term.”
I’m sure Bernie takes too many afternoon naps because he really does live in dreamland sometimes. How on earth can you think having a championship with double points for the last three races is a good idea? How can you criticize opponents of such an idea to be “bloody idiots”?
The big fear is that the double points ruling does produce a different result and a World champion who wouldn’t have won under the usual rules. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: “It would put a big shadow over the championship if it was turned by a technical issue. Hopefully double points will not make a difference,” said Wolff. I’m sure that is something we all agree with.
The simple fact is that Rosberg and Hamilton have battled each other around the globe with level points being awarded and should be doing just that in Abu Dhabi. There’s no need at all for the double points now a final race showdown is guaranteed so why can’t it just be dropped?
Hamilton deserves his lead and it will be a travesty if this rule costs him a second world crown. Sure no one likes to see a title decided before the last race but if that happens it’s because the champion has deserved to do so. What if Chelsea were five points clear with one game to go and they decide it’s six points for a win in the last round of matches. I wouldn’t fancy being the one to tell Jose Mourinho that ruling would you?