Formula 1’s controversial double points rule should be revisited because of the widespread fan backlash, reckons Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
There has been an overwhelming negative response from fans, expressed in comments on websites like this one, to the regulation change that will award double points for the season finale in Abu Dhabi. The plan has also drawn heavy criticism from teams, being labeled as “artificial” by Ferrari and a “fake fix” by Caterham.
Yet despite the outcry, the FIA, top teams and Bernie Ecclestone have remained unmoved and shown no willingness to back down over the matter. That has further infuriated fans who feel that their views are being ignored by the sport’s chiefs. Wolff thinks that scale of the negativity surrounding the rule justifies a reaction.
Asked whether or not the fans’ opinions mattered to teams, Wolff said: “I think obviously the s**tstorm we got afterward was something not expected.
“Was it the right move or not? 99 percent of our fans and spectators, and this is what counts, told us it was the wrong move, so perhaps it is something to revisit.”
Wolff confirmed that the matter had been talked about briefly in last week’s Strategy Group meeting, but there was no consensus to make a change, primarily because there are big concerns about F1’s dwindling audience.
“There are some arguments [to keep it],” he said. “If for whatever reason we have the same kind of power situation with one of the teams [as happened with Red Bull’s 2013 dominance], you add a little spice toward the end of the season.
“There is a lot to criticize but things need to be done, and with the audience dropping, you need to try out things. This maybe wasn’t the right thing, but maybe we need to find out.”
RED BULL NEVER IN FAVOR
Red Bull boss Christian Horner insisted the opinion of fans did matter, and made it clear that he had not been in favor of the rule when it was voted for in December’s Strategy Group meeting.
“I think of course the fans’ opinions matter, but I don’t think it’s any secret that I wasn’t particularly in favor of it,” he said.
“I can understand why the governing body and the promoter are keen to keep the championship alive, or hoping the championship is kept alive until the end of the last race. But two out of the last four years have gone to the last race under the previous points scoring system.”
Horner actually supported the view that double points should be extended to the final few races rather than just being the season finale.
“We need to look at three for argument’s sake, to take away an element of lottery over that last race,” he said.