Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Zoom Zoom: Another Day, Another Blunder

Fresh off yesterday's post announcing my tepid enthusiasm regarding the upcoming Formula 1 season, Bernie Ecclestone dropped another bomb on racing fans.

It appears Bernie thought that a points system didn't work. It appears he somehow thought that of all the things ailing F1, the way a champion is determined is what deserved his attention. Now, whichever driver wins the most races wins the Championship.

I wonder if it's just a coincidence that a Ferrari driver would have won the Championship had this rule been in effect last year? Having failed in all his attempts to foil Lewis Hamilton and McLaren last season, he will try to re-write the record books going forward. Of note: 13 past champions would not have won the championship if these rules had been in effect.

How are we to measure their accomplishments now? Have we empowered revisionists to claim: "Oh, he wasn't really a Champion, that's from the old era's rules"? Bernie has essentially opened the door to a "win at all costs" mentality that could lead to erratic teams and drivers winning the Championship in a best case scenario. Worst-case scenario? Drivers become dangerous to protect their place at the front of the pack.

Since there are 17 races this season, it is now a first past the poll system where 9 wins guarantees the Championship. And so if we get to round 13, the Italian GP, with a driver winning his 9th race - the season is over. No need to get up on Sunday morning anymore. And do you think teams will compete as hard as they can once a Champion is crowned in mid-season? Fat chance. Teams, including the Champion's team, will protect their assets, save on costs and start preparing for the following season.

One thing sports fans demand is consistency. Consistency in rules is the bedrock on which we can evaluate our current heroes against the annals of history. Is Lewis Hamilton as good as Ayrton Senna? Michael Schumacher or Jackie Stewart? It just got tougher to tell. You can change the rules governing the size of your rear wing and substitute slicks for grooved tires, but once you start messing with the barometer with which we crown our Champions, that's where we get ourselves in trouble.


lola said...

During Schuey's time at Ferrari there wasn't a lot of reason to get up on Sunday mornings then either as the season was generally decided by Silverstone.

I think this is worth a try. Number of wins should count more than beign slow and steady.

and um, no. Lewis Hamilton is not as good as Aryton Senna. Go wash your mouth out with soap!

Bruce said...

Go figure, Schumacher not a fan of the rule change.