As is so often the case, the 2008-2009 Formula One silly season did not fail when it came to producing endless amounts of content to keep F1 in the news throughout the winter.

With rumours running wild like 'Alonso to Ferrari', 'Will Piquet get dropped?' and 'Which Brazilian is going to get the Honda seat?', there was never a shortage of news. However, this year, the silly season was in full swing long after all the available seats were filled. So, if the drivers were locked into place, who was causing all the commotion?

Enter the FIA, Mr Ecclestone and Mr Mosley. By far the silliest acts of all have come from them.

Although I fundamentally disagree with a few of the FIA's cost cutting plans - the limit on testing practically destroys the hope of any rookies entering F1 - I applaud that attempts are being made to help secure the long-term future of the sport. I then found it comical when Ecclestone proposed a 'medal system' to crown the champion, as did most of the F1 community. The idea seemed to disappear rather quickly.

I was even willing to forgive the Overtaking Working Group for creating, without question, the ugliest era of F1 cars in history (although Brawn GP and Red Bull have bucked the ugly trend better than most) that most fear will be no easier to overtake. What's done is done. Can't fix that now. If anything, it may mix up the order a bit.

But then, as a brilliant final winter test came to a close and everything was coming together for Melbourne, things got very silly indeed. The FIA announced that, effective 2009, the championship would be given to the driver who had won the most races throughout the season. This has since been deferred to 2010, but 365 days makes the idea no less ridiculous.

The concept of a champion based on race wins is a sad attempt to spice up the racing. Drivers are programmed to win. That is why they do what they do. If a driver is following another and sees an opportunity to make a move that they believe will end in success, they will take it regardless of whether they are 'racing for points'. No matter what the team says, they will make the move. It is against a driver's nature to do otherwise. Take Singapore for example; Lewis Hamilton was 'racing for points' and content to take third, but if Nico Rosberg had put a wheel wrong, you bet that Hamilton would have pounced. And, if Hamilton had been racing for the win, the outcome would have been the same, because these cars are tough to pass and these drivers are the best on Earth. Only a mistake would lead to a pass.

So, rather than reward a driver who is clever, consistent and fast on a variety of circuits and throughout an entire season, or a driver who comes back from mistakes in qualifying to still get a good points haul, you give it to the man who can crash out of majority of the races and still have the title locked up a little after half way in the season? Not only is that not Formula One, that's not even really racing. I can only hope that the upcoming season will be exciting enough that the 'medals' concept never sees the light of day.
Hinch

 

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