Felipe Massa has given a tentative thumbs up to Bernie Ecclestone’s proposed medal system, though he denies that his interest is personal after he narrowly lost out to Lewis Hamilton in last year’s world championship despite having won more races.
Ecclestone’s controversial idea for an Olympics-style medal system – which would see drivers’ points scrapped and the title decided by the most wins (gold medals) – was parked by the FIA World Motorsport late last year in order to assess public reception.
The system has attracted an onslaught of criticism with former team boss Eddie Jordan describing the idea as “nonsense.”
However Ferrari’s Felipe Massa has become one of the first drivers to express an interest in the system, though he denies that his is to do with his title clash with Lewis Hamilton last year. If the medal system had been in place the Brazilian would have been crowned champion.
“Yes, it’s an interesting idea – we’ll see,” Massa told La Stampa newspaper.
“I know what you want me to say: with this system, I would now be World Champion. But that is an argument that does not hold because at the start of the year , we knew what the points system was and we worked to that.”
Bernie Ecclestone has affirmed his view that the medal system would help to increase overtaking and stamp out situations where drivers settle for second place to preserve the car.
“Formula 1 is the pinnacle of world motorsport and only the best driver should win the title,” Ecclestone said on his official website after the FIA decided that more research was needed. “Being a Formula 1 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. 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 also said that he was not worried about the possibility of a driver wrapping up the championship midway through the 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.”