Old guard criticise points scheme

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A trio of Formula One’s old stars have all criticised Bernie Ecclestone’s controversial double-points system for the final grand prix this year.

With just 17 points separating Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg going into the last three races of the season – starting with Sunday’s event in the United States – it appears certain double points will have an impact in Abu Dhabi on November 23.

It is precisely the scenario Ecclestone envisaged when he conjured up the idea, with the 84-year-old likely to be feeling proud of himself.

It is a far cry from the gold-medal scheme Ecclestone proposed a few years back, one which would have resulted in Hamilton being crowned champion at the last race in Russia given he has won nine races to Rosberg’s four.

For the likes of Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart and John Surtees, however, they all feel the awarding of double points in the last race to simply prolong the entertainment is abhorrent to the sport.

Moss, renowned as the greatest driver never to win a title as he was runner-up on four occasions, told Press Association Sport: “I have enjoyed the races this year, they have been extremely good.

“Although there is no doubt to win a race you need a Mercedes engine first, and then you need Lewis.

“Lewis is certainly a very fast, competent driver, and well lined up for his second title.

“But I don’t really like the idea of double points at the last race. It seems to be a pretty stupid thing to do.”

Hamilton faces the prospect of potentially winning 11 races, yet he could still miss out on his second championship.

It is why Surtees, the only man ever to win world titles on two and four wheels, feels Rosberg still has every chance of being champion.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, Surtees said: “It’s not a very satisfactory situation.

“It is a gimmick I don’t particularly like. I’m not sure it’s fair on drivers or teams, but it is a factor.

“So I wouldn’t underestimate Nico in any way as he’s a very intelligent driver, although he has made the odd mistake lately.”

Surtees, who celebrated the 50th anniversary of his F1 triumph at the weekend, has been thoroughly impressed with the way Hamilton has handled himself of late.

“Lewis does appear to have found some calmness in his driving,” added Surtees.

“Some of the things he has said and done off the track were once counter-productive for both the sport and for him.

“But it’s been pleasing to see he has come to a point where he is focusing more and seems to be presenting himself in a better fashion.”

Three-times world champion Stewart, meanwhile, has again voiced his dissatisfaction with the double-points scenario.

“I’m not a supporter,” said a dismissive Stewart to Press Association Sport.

“I don’t think they should be there. We have to keep it pure. I don’t think it’s going to add anything to the season.

“I would rather the world championship was won on purity, which means one set of points.”

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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