Double points “isn’t really a big change,” says FIA prez Todt

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Judging from the reaction it’s generated, the FIA’s decision to award double points at Formula One season finales starting next season would appear to be kind of a big deal.

FIA president Jean Todt, however, thinks it isn’t much of a big deal at all.

The former Ferrari general manager has told a Spanish publication that he believes more talk should be centered on how to reduce the cost of racing in F1 and the new 2014 technical rules, not on what’s been called by some as the “Abu Double” in reference to the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“A lot has been said about the new point rules but it isn’t really a big change to be honest,” Todt told Spanish sports paper AS. “I believe it is far more important to talk about the reduction of costs in Formula 1.

“We will be saving 40% fuel because of the new [V-6, turbo] engine. A new point system is a very small change in the rules, but nothing more than that so I really do not understand why all these people are talking so much about such a little change in the sport.”

Upon first hearing these comments, I had two thoughts. Either Todt is, 1) blissfully unaware of the hornet’s nest his organization kicked over with double points; or 2) the comments are his way of telling everybody, ‘It’s happening. You’re wasting your time squawking about it. Deal with it.’

But if Todt believes that double points is “a very small change in the rules,” doesn’t that naturally lead the fans to ask why the FIA carried it out in the first place? And also, why they chose that instead of another, less artificial way to spice up the World Championship?

In any case, all the talk could be for nothing in the end. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone recently remarked that the double points rule may be scrapped next month during a meeting of F1’s Strategy Group. We’ll see if that comes to pass.

FIA returns Manor’s F1 entry fee for 2017

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Good news: Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited got a refund of an entry fee it paid to the FIA to run in this year’s F1 season.

Bad news: Manor still hasn’t run this year, and won’t be for the foreseeable future (especially as Manor’s former leadership staff is moving that team into FIA WEC’s new-look LMP1 class in addition to its LMP2 program).

Manor Group’s receivership outfit, Just Racing Services Limited, went into administration earlier this year. As there was no new buyer for the F1 team, Manor dropped from the 2017 grid before the season.

The FIA said it would return its entry fee to help Manor Group pay off outstanding debts.

It basically means nothing in the grand scheme of things since Manor missed out on 10th place in the constructor’s standings in 2016 and fell from the F1 grid as a result, but hey, it’s a goodwill gesture going into Thanksgiving this week.