Double points could affect more than the F1 title race

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While double points potentially affecting the Formula One driver’s championship will be the big talking point heading into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, there’s still plenty more the double points could also affect.

Here are some of the other driver standings storylines on the back burner, but still to note heading into Abu Dhabi:

BATTLE FOR FOURTH

Just three points separate Sebastian Vettel (159), Fernando Alonso (157) and Valtteri Bottas (156) in a three-way fight for fourth place in the driver’s title. Bottas lost the spot at Brazil this weekend following his belts issue with a 10th-place finish, while Vettel and Alonso seized their chances in fifth and sixth. It should be fairly straightforward that however the order these three finish in at Abu Dhabi will determine the finishing order.

SEVENTH UP FOR GRABS

Jenson Button (106), Felipe Massa (98) and Nico Hulkenberg (80), could all end seventh in points. Hulkenberg has a shot at that given double points; otherwise he wouldn’t. Remote as the shot is, Hulkenberg could get as high as seventh in the points with his first career podium and Massa ending ninth or worse, and Button 10th or worse.

FINAL TOP-10 SPOT

Kevin Magnussen (55), Kimi Raikkonen (53) and Sergio Perez (47) are jockeying for the final top-10 spot in the standings. Like the fourth-place battle, should be fairly self-explanatory in terms of finishing order determining the standings, unless a big double-points result (say a seventh place, and 12 points) pushes Perez past the two in front of him.

CONSTRUCTOR’S JUMBLE? UNLIKELY, BUT POSSIBLE

More crucial to note are the Constructor’s Championship scenarios, and the respective pots of money that go with each position.

Mercedes and Red Bull are locked into first and second, but there are other situations where third on back could change.

Such situations remain unlikely, but they are mathematically possible by way of double points.

Williams holds a 44-point edge on Ferrari for third place (254-210). Under standard points, third would be guaranteed, as the maximum 43 (25 for first, 18 for second) is possible. With double points, that number jumps to 86.

Ferrari won’t be getting 86; that much you can pretty much guarantee. But with a fourth and fifth, that’s 44 points there (24 and 20), and Williams failing to score, a tie would occur. Third and fifth, to net 50, with Williams failing to score, would put Ferrari ahead. Again, it’s highly unlikely to happen, but the specter is possible because of double points.

Ferrari is in a similar defense situation when it comes to holding onto fourth, versus McLaren. Up 49 (210-161), it would take that similar 50-point-plus scenario for McLaren to overtake Ferrari, if then Ferrari failed to score. Given the two teams’ respective forms in Brazil, it’s at least plausible where McLaren could overtake if they have a dynamic finale and Ferrari has a shocker.

Force India, down 34 to McLaren, is in an even better position to overtake McLaren for fifth. A combo fifth/sixth or better for the Nico Hulkenberg/Sergio Perez pair, with McLaren failing to score, could see Vijay Mallya’s team crack the top five.

Toro Rosso on 30 points and Lotus on 10 are likely to end in seventh and eighth, but in a freak situation where a Lotus came fifth and Toro Rosso failed to score, that would produce a tie where Lotus would jump ahead on the fifth to Toro Rosso’s best result of sixth, achieved by Jean-Eric Vergne in Singapore.

Considering how much of a talking point the distribution of finances is to the teams, it’s probably a relief for F1 given the double points implementation that is still highly unlikely to affect the Constructor’s Championship order from Brazil to Abu Dhabi. But the can of worms is opened with the high points potential.