Formula One's controversial double-points proposal may be scrapped before it is even implemented.
Personally my preference would be for the final three races to be worth double points. But it may well be that the rule is cancelled altogether at the next [Strategy Group] meeting in January. I think it should be the final three races or nothing. The final three races would mean the championship is kept interesting for everyone—fans, press and television—right until the end.
On December 9, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) announced that double points will be awarded at the final race of the 2014 season. The change was met with immediate and widespread criticism.
In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph's Steven Beacom, former F1 driver Eddie Irvine said:
This latest rule of double points for the last race is insanity. That actually made me realise I am not going to watch another race until that rule gets kicked out. That is just embarrassing. It really is. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Meanwhile, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told reporters at a Christmas lunch that, "I am not enthusiastic about it, because for me it looks too artificial. We will see," according to Alan Baldwin of Reuters.
Force India's Sergio Perez was one of few dissenting voices, telling ESPN F1 that, "I see it as a positive. I think it will create a much better final race where things can completely change for everyone."
The rule change was approved by the FIA Strategy Group, which includes representatives of the FIA, Formula One Management and six teams. The group meets again in January and, presumably, could overturn the double-points proposal.
Of course, Ecclestone also said he would prefer that the final three races be worth double points. That was already considered and, given the reaction that double points for the final race elicited, it is difficult to see it being expanded.
With what seems like a majority of people inside and outside the sport against the double-points change, an expansion of it could lead to a full-scale mutiny. In attempting to keep the championship interesting to the final race, F1 is alienating its most loyal followers.
If the folks on the Strategy Group are actually trying to give the fans what they want, the double-points rule will be reversed in January. However, if Ecclestone does get his way—as he often does—the double-points controversy is about to get three times worse.
Follow Matthew Walthert on Twitter @MatthewWalthert