Having asserted that the teams 'are all behind' his contentious proposal to introduce an Olympic Games-style medals system into Formula 1 [see separate story - click here], Bernie Ecclestone now has proof in part - with McLaren-Mercedes having pledged its support for the initiative.

Many of the sport's leading observers have rubbished the idea, and FIA President Max Mosley has cast doubt upon the likelihood of the alternative points-scoring format being approved ahead of the 2009 campaign - if at all.

Ecclestone appears to have found an ally, however, in the form of soon to be ex-McLaren team principal Ron Dennis, who yesterday announced that he is to hand over the reins of the multiple world championship-winning Woking-based outfit to understudy Martin Whitmarsh after almost three decades at the helm [see separate story - click here].

Though his young prot?g? Lewis Hamilton would have lost the 2008 crown had it been decided upon the basis of most victories - triumphing five times to Ferrari rival Felipe Massa's six successes - Dennis admitted that he broadly agreed with the F1 ringmaster's standpoint.

"Obviously Bernie still has very strong views about his medal idea," the 61-year-old is quoted as having said by international news agency Reuters, "and he has voiced those opinions - but in essence I think his view is that the person that wins the most races should win the world championship.

"We don't disagree with that view, and if that becomes the objective then we'll make sure we win enough races to win the world championship. Our objective was to win the world championship within the points structure that existed in 2008, and that is what we did."

Hamilton, though - who at just 23 became the top flight's youngest-ever title-winner when he pipped Massa to the laurels by just a single point at the end of a truly nail-biting season finale at Interlagos back in November - was less enthusiastic about the suggestion.

"We work hard as a team to win and be consistent," the nine-time grand prix-winner stated, "and whether you finish first or third, it's got to be the driver and team that's done the best job over the whole year and not just who's won the most races."


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