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.

MRTI: Saturday Barber Notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Both the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires completed their first races of the weekend on Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park.

Indy Lights saw a pair of teammates battle for the win, while a series veteran suffered first lap trouble for the second race in a row.

In Pro Mazda, things were much more straightforward, as a title contender ran away to a dominant win from the pole.

Reports on both series are below.

Indy Lights: O’Ward Withstands Herta Challenge for Race 1 Victory

Lap 1 told the tale for Indy Lights Race 1, as Colton Herta led from the pole, but Pato O’Ward was able to sneak by on the inside entering Turn 5.

O’Ward subsequently had to withstand a race-long challenge from Herta, who kept the gap at less than one second between the two Andretti Autosport affiliated drivers – Herta races under the Andretti Steinbrenner Racing banner – for most of the 30-lap race. But, O’Ward kept Herta at bay to take the win by one-and-a-half seconds at the checkered flag.

This is also O’Ward’s second win in three races in the 2018 season.

Belardi Auto Racing’s Santi Urrutia finished third, followed by Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni, and Ryan Norman finished fifth to put three Andretti Autosport affiliated drivers in the Top 5.

Meanwhile, Belardi’s Aaron Telitz endured a second consecutive race in which he failed to complete a lap, after he was collected in a Lap 1, Turn 2 spin with Dalton Kellett. Kellett, who spun on his own, was able to continue despite the contact, but Telitz suffered damage to the right-front suspension, forcing him to retire without completing a lap for the second race in a row.

Results are below. Race 2 rolls off at 1:00 p.m. ET.

 

Pro Mazda: Thompson Roles to Dominant Race 1 Victory

Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson dominated Race 1, leading all 25 laps from the pole on his way to victory. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Race 1 for Pro Mazda was hardly ever in doubt. Polesitter Parker Thompson, who soared to pole with a track record in qualifying, led right from the drop of the green flag to lead all 25 laps on his way to winning Race 1.

Thompson had to withstand a brief challenge from RP Motorsport’s Harrison Scott on a Lap 4 restart – a caution was flown for debris on the front straightaway on Lap 2 – but Thompson immediately began gapping the field again, and the Exclusive Autosport driver won by over five seconds.

Scott came home in second, while BN Racing’s David Malukas, Team Pelfrey’s Andres Gutierrez, and Juncos Racing’s Rinus VeeKay battled for third, with Malukas holding off Gutierrez and VeeKay to take the final spot on the podium.

Results are below. Pro Mazda Race 2 rolls off at 10:50 a.m. ET on Sunday.

 

Check back later for driver quotes.

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