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Brundle hopes drivers don't get punished for 'having a go'

Martin Brundle has spoken in favour of Formula 1's new scoring system whereby the driver with the most race wins rather than necessarily the most points will be crowned world champion at season's end – but he urged the FIA not to penalise drivers for 'having a go'.

The sporting and technical regulation changes were announced following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council earlier this week [see separate story – click here], with the new means of determining the destination of the title designed to encourage drivers to attempt more overtaking moves, in the knowledge that second place – and the 'safe' eight points that go with it – will no longer be enough.

“What Bernie [Ecclestone – F1 commercial rights-holder] is fed up with is the fact that Lewis [Hamilton] can cruise around to fifth to win the championship in the final race, though of course what a race that was,” BBC F1 commentator Brundle said on BBC Radio 2, referring to the nail-biting 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.

“Maybe now we will get a couple of desperate young drivers who have to win the race, because second place isn't just a comfortable eight points anymore. All I hope is that if young drivers are challenged to go for it, they don't then get penalised for having a go, which we have seen in the past.”

That last comment is undoubtedly an allusion to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps last year, when Hamilton was demoted from first place to third following the race for having run over the grass in overtaking Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages.

Though the McLaren-Mercedes star gave the position back to his Ferrari rival immediately afterwards, the race stewards nonetheless deemed that he had gained an unfair advantage from the manoeuvre – and imposed one of the most controversial penalties in the top flight's six decades of history.

Suggesting that the change is relatively insignificant compared to F1's new optional budget cap [see separate story – click here], Brundle went on to speculate about what the future holds for the sport once its ringmaster has to eventually hand over the reins.

“I think there are bigger issues F1 has to worry about,” the former McLaren, Benetton, Ligier, Jordan and Brabham ace argued, “like the new £30 million budget cap. To go F1 racing for the same price as effectively two Premiership footballers I think will debase the sport a bit. I'm more concerned about that.

“[The scoring change] is all a bit late in the day and random, and does it really matter? In the end I don't think it's going to make a lot of difference, frankly. Thirteen times in the past 59 years it would have changed the world championship outcome, but that doesn't tell the whole story, because statistics sometimes lie – you win a championship over a whole year, not just over one race.



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Phil W - Unregistered

March 19, 2009 11:13 AM

I agree with a lot that Martin Brundle says here, particularly about the new method not really mattering. The teams and drivers will always adapt their approach to the championship to best fit new rules. What I don't agree with is this whole thing about the politics of the sport being somehow interesting or newsworthy. I think we have two old men (Max & Bernie) leading the sport who may have great knowledge and experience, and who are doubtlessly skilled in politics and debate, but who simply don't know what it's like to sit down at home on a Sunday afternoon and watch a motor race. They don't understand the 850 million fans who do because they both live in such a rarefied world.



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