Mika Hakkinen and Max Mosley have both lent their support to Bernie Ecclestone's controversial plan to replace the conventional points-scoring system in Formula 1 with an Olympic Games-style medal format.
The sport's commercial rights-holder – who believes the initiative can be brought into force as soon as next season, and claims it has the backing of all the teams in the top flight – has argued that it would generate better racing and more overtaking by increasing the value of race victories [see separate story – click here
1998 and 1999 F1 World Champion Hakkinen – who would still have clinched his back-to-back title successes even under the medals system – seems to agree.
“I have thought about it and I must say I think the concept is very good,” the former McLaren-Mercedes, 20-time grand prix winner told motorline.cc
. “Sometimes when you are in a grand prix and in fifth place, you think 'okay, a few points', but with the medal system you would be under more pressure to move forward to get a medal. They would have a bigger goal and there would be more fights.”
Part of Ecclestone's argument is that had such a format been in place this year, Lewis Hamilton would have had to have gone all-out to beat Felipe Massa in the Brazilian Grand Prix in order to lift the trophy, rather than settling for a conservative fifth place at Interlagos as he did.
Though there are concerns that the awarding of gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three finishers and nothing to those drivers taking the chequered flag fourth and below would be a disincentive to many of the sport's midfield and lower-grid teams to try – or even to remain in the top flight given the current precarious economic conditions – FIA President Mosley has also expressed his favour.
“I'd be inclined to go for medals,” the 68-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live
, “but I'd really like to listen to what everybody says about it, because when you make these big changes, sometimes there are unintended consequences.
“My real preference would be to ask the public. I think we ought to do a bit of market research.”
The proposal is due to be heard by the governing body's World Motor Sport Council next week.