Max Mosley has suggested that Bernie Ecclestone's contentious proposal to replace Formula 1's traditional points-scoring system with gold, silver and bronze medals for the top three finishers may never see the light of day.

The sport's commercial rights-holder Ecclestone has claimed in recent weeks that his Olympic Games-style idea - designed to generate more overtaking and a better spectacle, with drivers needing to win races in order to be in with a shout of winning the world championship - can be implemented in time for the start of the 2009 F1 season. The 78-year-old's ally and business partner Mosley, however, is not so sure.

"Medals can't be done in 2009 without a unanimous agreement," he told British newspaper the Daily Mail, "and that may not be forthcoming."

Critics have pointed to the fact that with only the podium finishers in each grand prix being awarded medals towards the drivers' championship, the initiative would simply act as a further disincentive for mid and lower-ranked drivers and teams to turn up and race - which, in an age of economic crisis and in the light of Honda's shock withdrawal from the top flight last week, could turn out to be costly indeed.

The matter was discussed during the pivotal FIA World Motor Sport Council reunion in Monaco today, with a post-meeting statement reading: 'Market research is being conducted to gauge the public reaction to a number of new ideas, including possible changes to qualifying and a proposal for the substitution of medals for points for the drivers. Proposals will be submitted to the FIA when the results of the market research are known.'

Meanwhile, despite having insisted in the wake of the sex scandal that rocked F1 earlier this year that he would stand down from the most powerful post in international motor racing at the expiry of his current, fourth term in October, 2009, Mosley has now clouded the issue somewhat by seeming to hint that he may yet stay on for a further four years.

"I don't think I shall stand again," the 68-year-old told the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco this week, "but we shall see. I am delaying a decision until June."

Ecclestone has previously stated that his long-time friend has never had any intention of stepping down next year no matter what he might say, and in the wake of the News of the World expos? back in March Mosley himself pointed to 'pressure' for him to stay on.


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