Bernie Ecclestone was advocating an Olympic-style medal system during the off-season and while the medals may not be included int he new FIA/WMSC’s dramatic scoring system overhaul announcement yesterday, the spirit of Ecclestone’s system has been endorsed. A ‘winner-take-all’ system in which the person with the most wins at the end of the season is announced as the World Drivers Champion.
The WMSC did mention that they refused to adopt FOTA’s recommended points system adjustment but offered no justification nor did they offer justification to assuage any fears of their own modification. Bernie Ecclestone has come to the defense of the WMSC’s decision telling BBC’s 5 Live:
“It’s a modification of my idea of medals, which I wanted to go down to bronze in third place, but this is a good start,”
“The idea is to get people racing. Somebody that’s second has got to try and win rather than thinking that if he happens to win he’ll only get two (more) points – not a big motivation to try and get past someone.
“For what reason would they want to get past? If somebody’s in the lead and you’re in second, why are you going to want to take risks to get past for two (more) points?”
“There are all these complaints that the cars are wrong and the circuits are wrong, but in the end I think the guys that are actually driving the cars have a lot to do with it,” said Ecclestone. “If you were first and I was second, and I thought it was a risk to overtake you, I wouldn’t bother.”
What about Massa winning the title in 2008 instead of Hamilton under this system?
“On a couple of occasions when he could’ve and should’ve overtaken, he didn’t,” Ecclestone said.
Speaking of the drivers reactions to the new regulations:
“Really and truly the guys that know they’re going to win are quite happy, and the ones that aren’t going to win don’t care,” said Ecclestone.
“It was unanimously agreed by the world council, it went through nicely, and we’re going to leave all the points for the other championships as they are at the moment.”
It is hard to asses what people will and won’t do for a win and that may be the danger in this drastic change to the Championship determining factors. Perhaps Bernie and Max have an insight that I am not taking in to account but I sense there is a lot of ancillary side effects that will come from this. Team orders, dangerous moves, decreased racing, cheating etc. Every action can have a not-so-equal and opposite reaction in Formula 1. Chanign the slightest thing to reduce costs can actually increase them and it is the job of the FIA and FOM to vet the regulations from all angles to prove its worth and ability to be controlled. I just think this ‘winner-takes-all’ system hasn’t been properly considered for the impact it could have. I am not sure if NASCAR thought the ‘Race for the chase’ was going to have the negative impact it has on their sport as well.
Ultimately is this another Bernie/Max shot across the bow in political negotiating? Bernie and Max realize the danger of a unified team organization.