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Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

F1 boss plans scoring revolution


Changes will encourage overtaking - Ecclestone

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says he is determined to introduce a new scoring system that would see the driver with most wins crowned champion.

Lewis Hamilton would have failed to win this year's title under such a system, which Ecclestone wants for 2009.

"It's going to happen. All the teams are happy. The whole reason for this is I am fed up with people talking about there being no overtaking," he said.

Gold, silver and bronze medals would be given to the top three finishers.

Regardless of the distribution of those medals, the driver who won most races would be crowned world champion.

The system still requires approval from F1's governing body, the FIA.

Its world council - the body that would decide whether to introduce the system - meets next month.

BBC Sport's Adam Parsons, who was attending the news conference where Ecclestone made the remarks, said: "Ecclestone said he was determined to bring in a radical new scoring procedure.

"Instead of scoring points for the top eight positions, as is the case now, it would see gold, silver and bronze medals being awarded for the top three positions, and at the end of the season the driver with the most race victories would take the championship.

"Ecclestone says it is a way of introducing more overtaking and says all the teams back it. In reality, it is difficult to see F1's minnows backing a system that would see them end the season empty-handed."

Ecclestone said: "The reason there is no overtaking is nothing to do with the circuits or the cars - it's because the drivers don't need to overtake.

"If you're in the lead and I'm second, I'm not going to take the risk of falling off the circuit or doing something stupid to get two points.

"If I need a gold medal to win the championship, I will overtake. It's just not on that someone can win the championship without winning a race."

The teams, through their umbrella organisation Fota, have made it clear they are keen to come up with new ways of improving F1 - and that includes considering a new points system.

But BBC Sport understands that several of the teams have misgivings about the system and that these surround a number of issues.

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone believes his proposal would help promote overtaking

Prime among them is that the new system could lead to the world title being settled earlier than has become the custom under the new system.

The current 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points distribution was introduced in 2003, partly to try to ensure the world championship stayed open for longer at a time when Michael Schumacher and Ferrari were dominating the sport.

In 2003, the world title went down to the last race between Schumacher and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen even though the German had won six races to the Finn's one.

Under Ecclestone's new proposal, the title would have been decided after the Italian Grand Prix in September when there were still two races remaining.

Conversely, the 2005 title - which Renault's Fernando Alonso won with two races to go - would have been decided in the Spaniard's favour only after the last race on a countback of second places after he and Raikkonen tied on seven wins each.

This season, McLaren's Hamilton won one less race than Ferrari's Felipe Massa - but only because the Brazilian was controversially handed victory in Belgium after the Englishman, who had won on the road, was given a penalty.

Ecclestone claimed on Wednesday that there were quite a few races Hamilton did not try to win in 2008.


Former team boss Eddie Jordan, who will be a BBC Sport pundit in 2009, said: "I think they (Ecclestone's proposals) are a nonsense.

"I can't possibly believe he's thinking straight, especially on this one. His focus must be on cost-cutting and nothing else. The rest is just dressing it up.

"The points are necessary. I was one of the team principals who advocated the points should go down to eighth place because one point is as important to those teams as a win is to McLaren and Ferrari.

"He is tinkering with something on which he has lost the understanding. He thinks only wins matter.

"When Hamilton lost the race in Spa and it was given to Massa, can you believe the controversy that would have created?

"There has not been enough thought put into this and for him to say that it comes with the full approval of all the teams - I'm sorry, I just don't believe it."

F1 is introducing a major change of technical regulations for 2009 in an attempt to spice up the racing.

These include changes to the aerodynamics and engines to make it easier for cars to follow one another through corners.

The front wing will be wider and lower, the rear wing narrower and higher and the number of aerodynamic appendages elsewhere on the car has been slashed - in an attempt to reduce the cars' sensitivity to aerodynamic turbulence.

On top of that, the introduction of kinetic energy recovery systems (Kers) - where energy expended under braking is stored and reapplied during acceleration - will give drivers "push-to-pass" buttons that they can use for a limited amount of time each lap.

Ecclestone made his remarks at a news conference to announce that South Korean electronics giant LG would become a sponsor of F1 and have its branding on on the international broadcast feed, timekeeping systems and graphics.

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see also
Last-gasp Hamilton takes F1 crown
02 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton stripped of Belgian win
07 Sep 08 |  Formula One

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