Formula One has sold its soul to the God of Tacky Gimmicks.
The FIA has announced that from 2014 onwards, the final race of the year will award double points in an attempt to keep title races alive right to the end of the season.
That's right folks. A win at classic beauties like Monaco, Silverstone or Spa will be worth half as much as a win at the characterless, dreary Yas Marina.
With 50 points awarded to the victor, the FIA hope the move will keep fans interested for longer. Respected motorsport correspondent Kevin Eason summed up the general vibe on Twitter:
No need to debate the FIA's double points for final race idea. Daft. Far too much messing. F1 in danger of becoming a joke— Kevin Eason (@easonF1) December 9, 2013
The move seems to be a response to the ever-expanding pall of apathy which descended over F1 towards the end of 2013 as Sebastian Vettel ran away with the title. But it would have made no difference to 2013.
And have they already forgotten 2012, or the other 25 occasions on which the championship battle went down to the wire?
Under the new system, a number of past championship results would have been different.
Michael Schumacher, record-breaking seven-time world champion, would only have six titles to his name—Kimi Raikkonen would have stolen the crown in 2003. Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel would be equal at three titles apiece because the Spaniard would have won in 2012.
Felipe Massa would have snatched the title from Lewis Hamilton at the last race of the year in 2008.
Going back further still, Alain Prost—edged out by Niki Lauda by half a point in 1984—would have added that title to his haul, making him a five-time champion.
Alan Jones would have won in 1981 ahead of Nelson Piquet, and Gilles Villeneuve would have stolen the title from Jody Scheckter in 1979.
Would any of them have deserved the title just because they got double points in the final race? Absolutely not. The final race isn't longer, more difficult or special in any other way, so it should be worth exactly the same number of points as every other round.
What do you think to the new system?
F1 already has enough gimmicks designed to "improve" the spectacle—DRS, tyres which fall apart, Hermann Tilke tracks—but this one is a step too far.
Awarding double points for any race—first, last, middle, whatever—is an absurd, monumental error.
It should be consigned to the "stupid suggestions we ignored" box down at Place de la Concorde before it has the chance to rob its first true champion of the title.
And before some poor driver has to deal with being the first undeserving champion in F1 history.