Opinion: Double points spells double trouble in latest F1 farce

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Lewis Hamilton has taken to driving his car really quickly. I mean really, really quickly. Winning every race going, setting records, you name it: he’s doing it at top speed.

He’s overhauled team-mate Nico Rosberg in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship, and has ten race victories to his name in 2014. He is quite clearly the best driver, in the best car.

And yet there is still a chance that he may not win the drivers’ title, all thanks to the frankly bizarre decision to award double points for the last race of the year in Abu Dhabi.

This is the equivalent of kids playing football in the playground, and one minute before the bell is due to sound, shouting ‘next goal wins!’ even if one team is leading 17-0. The final result might be 17-1, but the team with the one go into double chemistry as, technically, the winners.

Now, chances are that Hamilton is driving so well at the moment that Rosberg won’t be able to overhaul him. But if it does come to pass that the double points decide the title, it will make a mockery of all that has gone before it in the season. The record books will forever need an asterisk, denoting this was the year that F1 took leave of its senses.

There is nothing wrong in the idea of double points per se, but surely a little more thought might have been put in at the outset. I’d have selected four or five races as, effectively, the equivalent of golf’s Majors or tennis Grand Slams. Australia, Monaco, Britain and Brazil maybe (it doesn’t really matter, but you get the idea). Or, if the notion is to keep interest alive all the way to the very end, cut off the top six in the Drivers’ Championship with four races to go and let them compete in a mini points race to the end of the season.

As it stands at the moment, the man who is clearly the fastest might not win. All because of one very odd rule. But then these are not good times for F1.

With the Marussia and Caterham teams having gone into administration, and other smaller teams threatening to boycott races, the sport needs to get its house in order. Sauber, Lotus and Force India are the ones most in peril and, as Autosport columnist Gary Anderson said: “We could end up with six teams. We could even end up with four teams. And four teams, even with three cars, is only 12 cars.” Meanwhile, the sport’s ageing impresario Bernie Ecclestone has spent much of the year locked in a legal fight.

Lewis Hamilton should, and probably will, win the drivers’ title. But one hopes his sport will be able to continue, even if it does insist on having some very daft rules.

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