El Supremo Bernie Ecclestone is at it again. For the past couple of years he’s been touting his Olympic medals system as replacement of the current points system that has been the mainstay of Formula 1, albeit with periodic revisions, since its inception. Uncle Bernie seems to think that the drivers will race more competitively when racing for a medallion rather that for points.
“I stick to it,” he recently told the official Formula One website. “Let’s have medals instead of points. Drivers want to win and they are not racing for second, third or fourth place. So let’s have a system where wins count.” Apparently, el Supremo believes that it’s never occurred to most drivers that they’re actually racing for wins.
Many observers called last season the most exciting in years, but Bernie maintains that it would’ve been even more exciting had his medals scheme been implemented. “Last season it would have worked pretty well,” he claimed. “Vettel and Alonso would have been even after the last race with five gold medals each, and the same number of silver and bronze medals. Vettel would have won the World Championship because he had more fourth places. I call that a thriller!”
Of course, the end result would’ve been the same. And since medals would only be award for podium positions, you would end up counting most fourths, fifths and sixths, etc., in order to determine the winner in cases of equal numbers of medals, as alluded to above, which makes the whole system rather like…well, points.
One suspects that Bernie’s real motivation is commercial. Touting drivers as gold medalists seems to have more branding value than promoting them as points leaders.
But Bernie’s great ideas haven’t stopped there. The Evil Gnome has come up with a new idea: artificial rain. Recognizing that some of the most exciting races on the calendar arae generally run in the wet, Bernie has suggested that artificial rain might be a logical antidote to races that turn into dull processionals.
“Overtaking is almost impossible because in the dry there is only one line good for maximum speed because of the rubber on the track,” he said. “You have a completely different picture when it is wet. We always had the most exciting races in the wet so let’s think of making rain. There are race tracks that you can make artificially wet and it would be easy to have such systems at a number of tracks. Why not let it ‘rain’ in the middle of a race? For 20 minutes or the last ten laps? Maybe with a two-minute warning ahead of it. Suspense would be guaranteed and it would be the same for all.”
But why stop there? Why not run F1 races in the snow? An Iceland GP anyone? Or perhaps in tornado or hurricane conditions? And let’s get F1 track architect Hermann Tilke in on the act while we’re at it. Everyone knows that F1 cars produce enough downforce to allow them to run upside down at speed, adhering to the ceiling of a tunnel. Perhaps Tilke could design a track that would take advantage of this attribute. Talk about a thriller.