Report: Double points for F1 finale gets green light

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The “Abu Double” is still on, as the BBC’s Andrew Benson reports that the controversial rule of awarding double points for the Formula One season finale – currently, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (pictured) – will remain intact for the upcoming season.

According to Benson, the matter was raised in a meeting of the sport’s leaders in Geneva, Switzerland, but no attempt was made to overturn the rule.

The subject of the 2015 cost cap was also brought up in the summit; however, per Benson’s report, while some agreements were made, the teams couldn’t hash out a figure for an upper limit of spending under the cap at that time.

In December, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone had noted the possibility of double points being thrown out, even though he himself preferred that the final three races of the season be worth that much as he believed it would keep observers interested to the very end of the championship.

Ever since the double points decision was handed down by the FIA, a largely negative reaction has ensued across much of Formula One, with current drivers such as four-time defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel and past drivers such as former World Champion John Surtees and Eddie Irvine denouncing the measure.

However, there have been some figures that have supported double points, including Force India’s Sergio Perez and, naturally, FIA President Jean Todt, who recently wondered why there’s been so much focus on the rule and not as much on F1’s new technical regulations for 2014.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images
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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480 mph), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.