Formula One supremo unveils radical new medal system to spice up the action
Bernie Ecclestone is confident that his controversial medal system to decide the Formula One world drivers’ championship in which points are replaced by medals for the top three finishers will be given the green light by the FIA at the next World Motorsport Council meeting in December.
“It’s going to happen,” said Ecclestone, speaking at the launch of a technology partnership between Formula One and electronics giant LG.
“All the teams are happy. The whole reason for this was that I was fed up with people talking about no overtaking.”
“The reason there’s no overtaking is nothing to do with the circuit or the people involved, it’s to do with the drivers not needing to overtake.”
“If you are in the lead and I’m second, I’m not going to take a chance and risk falling off the road or doing something silly to get two more points.”
“If I need to do it to win a gold medal, because the most medals win the world championship, I’m going to do that. I will overtake you.”
Ecclestone pointed to this year’s title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa as an example where a reluctance to overtake hindered the racing spectacle.
“This year, we saw on a number of occasions Lewis not overtaking Massa for that reason,” he said. “If he’d driven for me, tried it and made a mistake, I would have complained. It’s just not on that someone can win the world championship without winning a race.”
Former team boss and recently confirmed BBC pundit Eddie Jordan dismissed the new system as “nonsense”, saying that it would damage teams who lack the resources to challenge the front-runners.
“I think it’s a nonsense,” he told BBC Radio Five Live. “The focus of everyone in Formula One at the moment must be on the current situation with costs and cost cutting, and nothing else. The rest is just dressing it up.
“The points are necessary. I was one of the team principals in the team principals’ meetings who advocated that the points should go down to eighth place, because one point to a team down there is as important as a win is to the likes of McLaren and Ferrari, and we must never forget that.
“I can promise you, having been in that position, two points against no points is a huge difference.”
“Drivers like (Felipe) Massa, who started at the very bottom and worked his way up, know how important those points are at the back of the field.
“Everybody that’s involved in the financial side knows how important it is, and the extraordinary excitement that there is for getting a point at the back.
“McLaren and Ferrari are working on a budget of perhaps 250 million, and then you have other teams like Force India and Toro Rosso, who to everyone’s surprise won a race this year, who would have maybe ten or eight times less budget to play with, and inferior drivers because they’re learning their trade and they will come and be world champions in years to come.
“But they have to find their feet somewhere, and that place has to be in the smaller teams because they’re the people who take the risks.”