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SBD Global/December 23, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone Says Double Points Rule Could Be Voted Down Next Month

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that the "controversial decision to award double points at the final grand prix of each season could be overturned by next month," according to Tom Cary of the London TELEGRAPH. Ecclestone said that "the rule change is likely to be put to a new vote at the next meeting of the Strategy Group in January." The idea of issuing double points at the season finale "was greeted with derision by almost everyone within the sport when it was announced this month." Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo became the latest to voice his objections this week when he said he found the concept "too artificial." Montezemolo said, "I'm not enthusiastic." According to Ecclestone, however, "the change could well come as soon as next month." Ecclestone said, "Personally my preference would be for the final three races to be worth double points. But it may well be that the rule is canceled altogether at the next [Strategy Group] meeting in January. I think it should be the final three races or nothing" (TELEGRAPH, 12/20). EUROSPORT reported world champion Sebastian Vettel said that "the double points idea was absurd." Vettel: "This is absurd and punishes those who have worked hard during a whole season. I respect the old traditions in F1 and do not understand this new rule" (EUROSPORT, 12/22). FOX SPORTS reported had the plan been in place this year, "it would have borne little impact on the F1 drivers' title chase." Vettel wrapped up the title with three races to go at the Indian Grand Prix, "while Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber would still have finished second and third." But over F1's 54 world championship seasons, "double-points finales would have changed the course of history several times" (FOX SPORTS, 12/22). CRASH reported Montezemolo "has called on F1 teams to start planning for a future" without Ecclestone at the head of the sport. While Ecclestone remains in charge of F1, the 83-year-old "is currently embroiled in a series of legal battles linked to allegations of bribery over the deal that saw CVC secure control of the sport, with Ecclestone having always denied any wrong doing." Should Ecclestone be forced to stand down, or indeed when he elects to retire himself, "there is currently no-one lined up as his replacement." Montezemolo: "We are arriving a little bit at the end of a very, very important cycle and era of Formula One. While Bernie is here, Bernie knows and Bernie is intelligent. Sometimes he is too conservative but he's Bernie. We have to discuss, because at the end of the day this is our business. I think that after Bernie, who is unique, it's necessary to approach a different governance for the sport" (CRASH, 12/21).
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