x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Ecclestone expects gold medals in place for 2009

The F1 boss is confident about his proposed new championship system, which would have given Massa the title.

Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari is seen in the paddock following qualifying for the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza on September 13, in Monza, Italy. Massa would have won this year's title under Ecclestone's proposal.
Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari is seen in the paddock following qualifying for the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza on September 13, in Monza, Italy. Massa would have won this year's title under Ecclestone's proposal.

LONDON // The Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident his proposal for the world drivers' championship to be decided by gold medals awarded to race winners will be implemented next season. Ecclestone said yesterday he was moved to act by Lewis Hamilton's triumph, when he clinched this year's title by finishing fifth at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. Under the proposed system, which Ecclestone said should be approved by motorsport world governing body FIA next month, Felipe Massa would have won the title because he beat Hamilton 6-5 on race wins.

"It's going to happen," Ecclestone said. "All the teams are happy. The reason this happens is that I get fed up with people talking about no overtaking. "It's just not on that someone can win the world championship without trying to win the race." Under the current system, the winner of each grand prix race earns 10 points in the championship standings, with second place worth eight points and third place worth six. Each of the top eight drivers in every race earn points.

Although the new system is designed to add to the drama of F1, Hamilton's title win already featured one of the most exciting ever finishes to a season. Hamilton lost the fifth place he needed for the title when he was passed by Sebastien Vettel with two laps to go in the season-ending Brazilian GP, but managed to overtake Timo Glock on the last corner of the last lap to become F1's youngest ever world champion.

The Briton, 23, beat the race-winner Massa by a single point in the overall standings. Ecclestone was asked if it didn't seem unfair that under his new system, someone could finish second in every race over the season and lose the title to a rival who got lucky and won a single GP. "You'll have to try harder next year," Ecclestone said. If the new scoring system was applied retrospectively, there would be as many as 12 different winners in the 58-year history of the championship.

Keke Rosberg, for instance, would not have won his 1982 title because he only finished first in a single race. The medal system will be discussed by FIA at the World Motor Sport Council meeting. Ecclestone said he was confident that F1 could withstand the global financial crisis without ill effects, but that it was too soon to make definitive statements about the sport's future. "The world is and will be affected for sure," Ecclestone said. "It's pretty obvious that maybe promoters are affected by crowds being smaller. We need to wait and see. The world needs to wait and see. We can't say what will happen in six months."

*AP