F1 »

Ecclestone: Medals will make drivers `try harder`.

Formula 1 drivers will have to 'try harder' from now on if they are to be crowned world champion, Bernie Ecclestone insists – as he pushes ahead with the introduction of his radical new Olympic-style gold medals system into the sport from 2009.

The F1 commercial rights-holder has come up with the initiative as a means of preventing the kind of situation that saw Lewis Hamilton clinch the drivers' trophy by a single point even though he finished only fifth in the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos earlier this month. More overtaking, excitement, wheel-to-wheel battles and unpredictability, he reasons, has to be the principal driving force.

By contrast, Felipe Massa – who not only triumphed on home turf in São Paulo but indeed won more races than his McLaren-Mercedes rival over the course of the campaign as a whole – missed out on the ultimate laurels. Ecclestone is determined that such a scenario should not be allowed to re-occur – and under his new system, whereby gold medals are awarded for victories and the driver with the most gold medals at the end of the year prevails, it would not [see separate story – click here].

“It's going to happen,” the 78-year-old told a press conference. “All the teams are happy; the FIA is happy. The whole reason for this was I got fed up with people talking about no overtaking. The reason there's no overtaking is nothing to do with the circuits or the cars – it's to do with the drivers not needing to overtake.

“If you were in the lead and I'm second, I'm not going to take a chance and maybe fall off the road or doing something silly to get two points, but if I need to get a gold medal, because the most gold medals will win the championship, I'm going to do that. I will overtake you, I promise you. That's what will happen.”

“This year, on a number of occasions Lewis did not bother to overtake Massa for that reason. If he'd driven for me and if he'd tried and made a mistake, I would have complained. It's just not on that someone can win the world championship without winning a race.”

Ecclestone added that he hopes to see the proposal ratified at the upcoming FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting next month, ahead of being brought into being in time for the start of next season. The Formula One Management chief executive also responded to suggestions that it would not be fair for a driver who won six times but failed to finish any other races to beat a rival who finished second 17 times but never reached the top step of the podium by simply firing back: “He'll have to try harder next year.”

There are, however, some misgivings about Ecclestone's idea, most notably that it could lead to the title battle being decided earlier than has been the case of late. The current top-eight points system was introduced in 2003, a season that saw Kimi Raikkonen take his duel with Michael Schumacher right down to the wire in the final outing at Suzuka in Japan.

Under the new system, though, the Finn – who triumphed just once all year to Schumacher's six successes – would have been out of contention two races earlier at Monza in Italy. Moreover, with gold, silver and bronze medals respectively for the top three finishers, the initiative would likely remove much of the incentive for the sport's smaller teams, for whom bankable results would become even harder to attain.

“In reality, [it is] difficult to see F1's minnows backing a system that would see them end the season empty-handed,” reasoned Adam Parsons of BBC Sport.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
28.07.2006 Hockenheim, Germany,  Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), CEO of Formula One Management (FOM) - Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Friday
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13 race winner

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Phill T

November 26, 2008 3:09 PM

Bernie Of all the stupid ideas you have come up with in the past this one takes the biscuit Or is it your intention to finally alienate the few die hard F1 fans who have been watching the sport for years despite interference by yourself & the FIA All of which have been allegedly to improve the spectacle, but has usually turned it in to a bigger farce If this happens it is the final nail in the coffin of a once great sport that has been reduced to a cash generator for you & your companies Take a look at the rules from the 1980’s when it was a great sport then you might actually come up with something the fans want

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.