ABU DHABI (Reuters) - The fans do not like it, and even Bernie Ecclestone is now opposed to his own idea, but there can be no denying the unprecedented prospect of double points has spiced up Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The pitch by promoters has been “double the points and double the action” and whatever the view, the race is a 60,000 sellout.
Under the previous system, Lewis Hamilton would be going into the Formula One season-ender with a 17 point lead and needing only to finish sixth.
That might have been a just reward for the winner of 10 races to team mate Nico Rosberg’s five this season but instead the Briton faces the possibility that he could leave empty handed.
A win for Rosberg and third place for Hamilton would make the German only the second son of a champion to take the title.
The word ‘travesty’ has been bandied about, particularly in the English speaking media, but that has only served to put the sport even more into the limelight and achieve commercial supremo Ecclestone’s aims.
The drivers themselves accept the situation is what it is but the sport is walking a tightrope nonetheless.
“My personal view is that we have had a big backlash from the fans and many vocal personalities who don’t like the system,” commented Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff.
”I have been a racing driver myself and if I put myself in the situation, I wouldn’t want to have double points and probably the decision which we have all taken together wasn’t the right one and we need to change it for the future.
“But as a matter of fact for 2014, the rules are how they are. Whoever is going to score the most points is going to be the world champion and I think we need to be realistic about that and both drivers have been.”
It could be that double points will not impact on the outcome, with Mercedes chasing their 12th one-two finish of the season, and at least Hamilton can be thankful the system was not in force before now.
If it had been, Brazilian Felipe Massa would have been 2008 champion for Ferrari instead of him.
Also in the ‘what if’ category, Fernando Alonso would have won the 2012 championship for Ferrari and denied Sebastian Vettel one of his four titles with Red Bull.
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly