F1’s double points rule to be axed for 2015?


Formula 1’s controversial double points rule could be axed for the 2015 season according to the sport’s supremo, Bernie Ecclestone.

In one of the most controversial rulings in the history of the sport, the FIA confirmed last December that the final round of the season would be worth double the points of the other rounds.

The thinking behind the plan was that this would keep TV figures and interest up towards the end of the season, as the championship would be kept alive for longer after a global viewership fall of 50m in 2013.

Despite facing a huge backlash from fans, drivers and teams, the FIA has not wavered to the pressure, and the race in Abu Dhabi in November will go ahead for double points as planned. Given the race for the title is likely to go down to the final round, double points may play a part in deciding the destination of the 2014 drivers’ championship.

Speaking in Singapore today, Ecclestone revealed that he does not foresee the double points round being carried over into 2015 due to the pressure from the F1 community, although he will wait until after the race in Abu Dhabi to make a decision.

“Probably not,” he said when asked if we would see it again in 2015. “We can’t see whether it has worked, so it depends.

“It just seemed to me the right way to keep the championship open. Otherwise for the last three or four races, people are running in non-championship races. I wanted it to be for the last three races and then people would believe it was still possible for somebody else to win.

“But they all say I’m mad, so we won’t do it.”

It remains to be seen just whether the decision to remove double points for 2015 will be ratified by the FIA and World Motor Sport Council when it meets in December to finalize the regulations for next season, but Ecclestone’s comments are certainly encouraging.

If there was even a shred of support for double points in the first place, the fact that the 2014 championship battle has been a very close and well-fought one has gone a long way to proving that, to quote John Surtees, this “gimmick” is needless.

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?