F1’s fears are allayed as double points has no say in title fight


ABU DHABI – The biggest fears of the F1 community were allayed in Abu Dhabi yesterday as the controversial double points rule for the final race of the year eventually had no say in the destination of the drivers’ championship.

Lewis Hamilton clinched his second world title in Abu Dhabi today by claiming a crushing win at the Yas Marina Circuit. His cause was aided by the demise of Nico Rosberg, who suffered an ERS failure that left him limping across the line in 14th place at the end of the race.

With 50 points on offer for the race winner, there was a very real possibility of Rosberg winning the championship by virtue of the double points rule, which is expected to be canned for the 2015 season.

However, thanks to his non-score, it had no say in the title fight. Instead, Hamilton’s eventual winning margin of 67 points is perhaps exaggerated, standing at 42 points under the normal conditions.

Double points did allow Williams to extend its lead over Ferrari for third place in the constructors’ championship, eventually finishing 104 points clear thanks to Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas’ podium finishes in Abu Dhabi.

Force India picked up its biggest points haul of the season because of double points, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finishing sixth and seventh. However, it was not enough to lift the team back above McLaren in the constructors’ championship, finishing 16 points shy of the British team in the final standings.

In fact, the only drivers to benefit from double points were Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez. Finishing second, Massa picked up 36 points, allowing him to finish ahead of Jenson Button in the drivers’ championship in seventh place. Perez’s haul of 12 points was enough to lift him above both Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen to finish the year in tenth place.

F1 may have got away with it when it comes to double points, but let’s avoid the risk next year: it’s a gimmick that, as proven by this year’s fantastic title race, simply is not needed.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”