Report: Toto Wolff speaks out against F1’s double points finale

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Considering his two drivers are likely the only ones with a shot at this year’s FIA Formula One World Championship, to hear Mercedes commercial boss Toto Wolff speak out against the double points season finale in Abu Dhabi is very interesting.

But his comments are now in the public sphere. Speaking to Autosport, Wolff called out Bernie Ecclestone and FOM without referring to them by name in terms of ramming the double points through.

“I don’t think it is fair and I don’t think we should have done it,” Wolff said. “But the commercial rights holder, who takes the sponsorship and cares about the TV audiences, said we need to keep the excitement until the last race, and it looks like he was right. I would be very surprised if it [the title battle] wouldn’t come down to double points.”

The ideal situation to avoid the double points playing a major role in deciding the title between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton is that the two come into the race with a seven-point gap between them or less, same as it would be for the normal gap from first place (25 points) to second (18).

With the double points, 50 are on offer for winning with 36 for second in Abu Dhabi. That essentially makes it winner take all anyway, but with a bigger gap available, either driver can be within 13 heading into Abu Dhabi for it to alter the order assuming they’d finish first or second.

Behind the Mercedes drivers, if say a Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari or Valtteri Bottas of Williams is within the 50-point range and randomly won with the Mercedes both having issues (unlikely at best), such a case of “stealing” the 2014 title could well occur, as it would be mathematically possible.

Hearing Wolff speak out could be the first step towards an overturning of double points before it happens, or it could fall on deaf ears. Either way, interesting to note.

Ricciardo: Red Bull has ‘decent chance’ of Abu Dhabi F1 victory

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Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull stands a “decent chance” of signing off from the 2017 Formula 1 season with a victory in next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

After a slow start to the year, Red Bull made massive gains across the course of the season by developing its RB13 to end the season as front-runners, rivaling Mercedes and Ferrari for pace.

The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi has a number of slow-speed sections that should suit the RB13 car, with Ricciardo optimistic about his chances of not only ending his podium drought at the track, but even winning the race.

“Yas Marina has actually been one of my favorite tracks over the years,” Ricciardo said in Red Bull’s pre-race preview.

“It’s been a bit like Suzuka for me though, a track that I’ve always enjoyed and gone well on but not quite reached the podium at. I broke that trend in Suzuka this year so hopefully I can do the same in Abu Dhabi.

“When you have so much time away from the car in the off season it helps to sign off with a strong result as it makes you feel like you really deserve a break.

“I think we should have a strong car in Abu Dhabi. I said I want another win before the season is out and I think we have a decent chance of achieving that.”

Red Bull has claimed three race wins through 2017, with Ricciardo’s victory in Azerbaijan being followed up by successes for teammate Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.