Ecclestone calls for medal system support

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has called on fans to back his plans to introduce an Olympics-style medal system into the sport

Ecclestone calls for medal system support

Ecclestone had hoped for the idea to be rubber-stamped at a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council last week, but instead the issue has been put on a list of ideas where feedback will be gathered from the public before a decision is made.

But in a rallying call issued on his own official F1 website, Ecclestone says he has no doubts fans should support the move because it would make the sport much more interesting.

"Quite simply, it will make Formula One a much more exciting spectacle because it will incentivise drivers to race to win," said Ecclestone.

"We should see much more overtaking, drivers will take more chances and they will race each other all the way to the chequered flag. At the moment, quite often we see drivers settling for second, third or fourth position, and the race can be dull in the final stint after the last round of pit stops.

"The drivers aren't to blame, they're racers, but the scoring system forces them to be too conservative. As things are, if they want to take the title, it is better to settle for a few, safe points rather than chase down the guy in front and risk going home with no points.

"But this is Formula One, the pinnacle of world motorsport, and only the best driver should win the title. Being a Formula One world champion is not about being a consistent and reliable runner-up. It's about racing hard, taking chances and not settling for second best.

"Last year, Hamilton was leading the drivers' championship before he had even secured his maiden win. Likewise, after Canada this year, Kubica led the drivers' championship on points even though Hamilton, Massa and Raikkonen had all won more races. Lewis and Robert are both extremely talented, but I don't think the system should produce that kind of result.

"It shouldn't be possible for someone to be crowned world champion without winning a single race, but that really could happen unless we change the scoring system."

Ecclestone clarified that only the drivers' championship would be decided on the medal system, with the title being handed to whoever wins the most golds. In the event of a tiebreak, it would then go to whoever had the most silver or bronzes. The current points system would be retained to decide the -Constructors' Championship.

"For the teams, constructor points are purely a financial matter as they determine a team's share of the annual prize fund," said Ecclestone. "Fighting for a point or two really matters to the teams further down the grid and I don't see any reason to change that.

"Back in 2003, we extended the points system down to eighth place which was great for the teams, especially the smaller ones, but it aggravated the problem with the drivers scoring system because by increasing the number of points for coming second from six to eight, we made the step from first to second place too shallow.

"That year, Michael (Schumacher) won the title from Kimi (Raikkonen) by only two points but Michael had won six races whereas Kimi had won just one race. Kimi is a great driver and a natural racer but I don't think it would have been right had he won the title in that situation, however it nearly happened."

Ecclestone is confident that the introduction of a medal system will not result in championships being settled by the mid-season.

"I think that can happen under any scoring system if one constructor dominates with a superior car, but actually I think it is less likely under the gold medal system," he said.

"With four or five races to go a driver who is three or four gold medals down could still win the championship, which is far less likely now if the difference between winning and second place is only two points.

"In any case, the way to keep the championship wide-open and exciting is to reduce the cost that a team needs to incur to be competitive. I am very pleased that the teams have now seen sense on this issue and agreed meaningful proposals to cut their expenditure, as Max (Mosley) and I have been urging for some time now.

I think they've all had a wake up call and have realised that their present levels of expenditure are simply not sustainable. What is more, the racing should get much closer too."

Ecclestone has also denied that his motivation for pushing for a medal system is because he was unhappy at seeing Lewis Hamilton claim the title this year.

"Rubbish! Lewis is a worthy world champion and nobody was more delighted than I was that he won. He was destined to be a champion and it was just a question of when, not if, he would win.

"The only thing I was uncomfortable about was that under the current system Lewis needed to finish only fifth in the last race to win the title and I don't think the fans go to races or switch on their TV to watch a great driver aim for fifth place. The want to see the best drivers in the world battling hard for a race win."

shares
comments
Trulli says he will win a race in 2009

Previous article

Trulli says he will win a race in 2009

Next article

South Africa rules out F1 race before 2011

South Africa rules out F1 race before 2011
Load comments
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looked back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021