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Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

F1 boss wants Massa to win title

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone poses on a Ducati MotoGP bike at Ferrari's annual media event in Madonna di Campiglio
Ecclestone is banging the drum for an overhaul of the F1 points system

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says he wants Ferrari driver Felipe Massa to win this year's world championship.

The 78-year-old said the Brazilian had endured "bad luck" in losing out to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by one point last season despite winning more races.

"I hoped that Felipe would do something last year so let's hope he does it this year," Ecclestone said.

"Lewis had bad luck the year before and [then] won. Felipe had bad luck last year so I hope he recovers."

Ecclestone made the comments on a visit to Ferrari's annual publicity event at the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort, where he wore a red jacket resembling official Ferrari team kit.

His remarks came in the context of his continuing campaign to radically overhaul the F1 points system.

Ecclestone wants to introduce a new system whereby the driver with most race victories would be champion.

I don't think a guy that is second who's got a lot of points should be world champion

Bernie Ecclestone

Last year Massa won six races to Hamilton's five, although one of the Ferrari driver's wins was in the Belgian Grand Prix, where Hamilton was controversially stripped of victory for an infringement.

"Forget the word medals," Ecclestone said, referring to his previous proposal that would see gold, silver and bronze medals awarded to the top three finishers.

"I just think the guy that wins the most races should win the championship," Ecclestone said.

"I don't think a guy that is second who's got a lot of points should be world champion, that's all.

"Last year a lot of them sat there being second. It's up to the teams to really push that through. I hope they have enough sense to agree."

Hamilton, whose new car is unveiled on Friday, clinched the title in dramatic style on the last corner of the final race in Brazil - passing Toyota's Timo Glock to move into the fifth position he needed to clinch the championship.

Had he failed to get past, Massa - who won the race - would have been champion.

Felipe Massa
Massa missed out on last year's drivers' title by one point

Hamilton drove a deliberately conservative race, aiming to stay out of trouble and secure only the fifth place needed to ensure he finished above Massa in the final rankings.

"He did what he had to do to win the championship. I'm not complaining, I don't blame him," Ecclestone said.

"What I'm trying to see is that the person who has won the most races is the world champion because it's a bit cranky that although somebody who maybe won one or two races has got more points than the guy who won five races... it just doesn't seem right.

"Last year, I'm sorry to have to say this, and he would admit it, Lewis in lots of cases didn't bother to try and win because to get two points it's not worth taking the risk. I want them to take the risks."


Had Ecclestone's proposed system been in place in the past, the team he used to run, Brabham, would not have won the titles they clinched with Nelson Piquet in 1981 and '83.

Ecclestone denied he was in Madonna to smooth tensions with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who has been critical of the way F1 is being run.

"It's not my intention (to meet him). To be honest it's a cheap weekend for me," he said.

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see also
Hamilton's new car set for debut
16 Jan 09 |  Formula One
Medals would help F1 - Ecclestone
15 Dec 08 |  Formula One
F1 boss faces battle with teams
20 Dec 08 |  Formula One
F1 unveils cost-cutting blueprint
12 Dec 08 |  Formula One
F1 boss plans scoring revolution
26 Nov 08 |  Formula One

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