World champion Sebastian Vettel has slammed a rule change in Formula One under which double points are splashed out at the season-ender from next year onwards.
“It is absurd and punishes those who have worked hard for a whole season. I cherish the old tradition in Formula One and don’t understand this new rule,” Vettel told the Sport Bild publication.
“Just imagine you would suddenly get double points on the last Bundesliga day,” the Red Bull driver added in reference to football.
The new Formula One strategy group decided on Monday to make the rule change “in order to maximise focus on the championship until the end of the campaign”, according to a statement by the ruling body FIA.
Red Bull motorsport chief Helmut Marko said his team was against the change “but our team principal Christian Horner was outvoted”.
The plan was allegedly hatched by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt after Vettel clinched the 2013 title with four races to spare and the last race in Brazil was an anti-climactic affair.
However, Vettel would have also been assured of the title before the last race (and in 2011) if the new rule to award 50 instead of 25 points had applied then.
Marko told Sport Bild that a first plan called for “giving double points in the last four races. Then the championship would have been useless before that”. But this idea was not approved.
Other decisions on Monday were permanent numbers between 2 and 99 for drivers (with number 1 still reserved for the world champion), five-second penalties for minor infringements and a cost cap from 2015 onwards.
The strategy group is made up of six members each from the teams, the FIA and Ecclestone’s management group.
According to the BBC, the teams rejected a plan – allegedly from tyre makers Pirelli and Todt – for two mandatory pit stops at each race.
The report said that the teams felt such a move would interfere with race strategies and make races artificial and almost identical in format.
But the strategy group agreed on an additional tyre test in Bahrain between December 17 and 19.