This headline is doing the rounds today in all but the most respected F1 news outlets, and although this has yet to be reported by Autosport, Skysport, or the BBC’s F1 site, I don’t doubt it’t authenticity. Here is the full quote from Nico Roseberg:
“I love this rule. I know I can win every race, so my tactics are not really changing. It’s still all to play for in the battle for the drivers’ championship and I won’t be giving up the fight until the flag drops in Abu Dhabi.”
Right off the bat let me state for the record I think this was a terrible idea — extra points for the final race in Abu Dhabi. Unlike many other ideas the Formula 1 think tank has come up with: movable wings, less down-forcey body work, faster degrading tires, KERS, the extra points idea falls squarely into the cockamamie category.
I’m not really sure what caused this addition to the 2014 regulations. I can’t recall the F1 fan base throwing their arms up and saying, “Dammit F1 we are sick and tired of the way the season has ended over the last few years, so do something to fix it!”
Unless I missed the memo, two out of the last four years F1 had a very exciting championship right down to the last race, once in Abu Dhabi and then in Brazil courtesy of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. There have been many others.
However, it is what it is, and now we just have to deal with it. Fine. As much as I feel this rule was unnecessary, every team and driver knew from the beginning of the year about the rule and therefore each team and driver had exactly the same opportunity to benefit from it or to fall victim from it. In this way the rule is a net sum game for all. Right? Wrong.
Where the rule will have the most effectiveness, or rather do the most damage, is in the case of a DNF if one of the contenders is crashed out by another car, a la Grosjean into Alonso, and thus ruin the chances of Lewis Hamilton, as it currently stands, to claim his third WDC title.
In yet another scenario, if Hamilton was to finish for some unknown reason down in ninth place, due to a mechanical issue or the coming together with another car, maybe a botched pitstop, and Rosberg finishes in first, the points difference would be a whopping forty-six instead of the usual twenty three and in my opinion this outcome is just not right. Simple as that.
However, if all goes to plan, the way it has for most of the season and the Merc boys finish relatively close to one another, then there is no real consequences and my previous points are mute. By the way, I think I read this rule is to be scrapped for next year. But if things go the way I have outlined them or something close to it, then the damage will have already been done and I predict F1 will have yet another public relations disaster on it’s hands.
Lastly, think about this, if Nico Rosberg were to win the championship in this fashion, how many fans would actually feel he won it fair and square? Not many is my guess. Think about the stigma that Rosberg will have to deal with, the countless questions, “Nico, taking into account the fans reactions to the points systems for the final race and the outcome, what do have to say about the championship that you just won?” Or something like that. It would be a shame if the championship concluded like this for whomever takes it, either Hamilton or Rosberg.
I am usually on board with the FIA and the Formula 1 Strategy Group and their pursuit to make F1 more exciting and to ensure the survival of the sport – something that I have taken a lot of heat for in the past, but in this case I am completely in opposition to this rule. Hopefully there is no drama come the final laps under the lights in Abu Dhabi, but knowing F1, that is usually not the case.