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.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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