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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Critical of rules changes

Schu: Rule change 'makes no sense'

Thursday, 19 March 2009 13:57


Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher has joined some of Formula 1’s existing drivers in questioning the new winner-takes-all world championship system.

The retired legend has called the FIA’s move to introduce it on the eve of the new season “astonishing” and believes it won’t be beneficial to the sport.

In the most radical overhaul of the drivers’ title race in history, the World Motor Sport Council this week swept through changes which will see the most number of race victories, rather than points, determine the champion.

Schumacher – whose clinching of the title after just 11 races in 2002 prompted the last change to the scoring system, reducing the points gap between first and second place – believes that giving greater rewards to the race winner again was necessary, but that the change for 2009 has gone too far.

“I cannot imagine those changes to help F1, especially regarding the new system to find the champion,” he said on his official website.

“I cannot see how it makes sense to eventually have a world champion who has less points than the driver coming in second, even if I also think it is a good move to try to strengthen the winner's position.”

The unexpected move has largely met with a negative response from drivers so far, with Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello already raising concerns over whether it will confuse the public and is the fairest solution for drivers.

Schumacher reckons the overhauled technical framework for 2009, including teams’ continuing uncertainties over KERS, should make the new season one to look forward to for fans.

However, he doesn’t think the new drivers' championship system will add to the expectation and can’t believe the changes have been ratified just over a week before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

“During the tests we had to fight with several topics as well but this is more than normal at this stage prior to the season,” he said.

“But you also have to say that KERS is a risk for all the teams using it, with these restricted testing possibilities.

“So there are, as always, certain question marks before the first races. But this is what makes the whole thing so attractive, isn't it?

“I doubt the same goes for the new rules given out on such a late moment prior to the season – something which to me is really, well, astonishing, as in all the years, when the majority wanted to have a rule change for a good reason, they always said that would not be possible in a short term or so late before a season.”

Schumacher cast his eye over his old Ferrari team’s pre-season progress in his ongoing role as an advisor to the team at its final tests at Jerez and Barcelona.

He is confident the Scuderia has again produced a championship-challenging car – but says the team has to expect stern challenges from a number of rivals with little to choose between much of the field.

“I have been at the last pre-season tests in Spain to get an overview of the situation, und I can clearly say: let the season come!" Schumacher said.

“I say this both as a fan of motorsports and of Ferrari.

“The last impressions were showing that we look pretty good and should be in the position to fight for the world championship titles.

“The picture to me in the moment is that there are several teams able to be in the front, besides us there are Renault and Toyota, and BMW and Williams as well.”

The 40-year-old German added that former colleague Ross Brawn squad’s stunning pace at Barcelona had been “outstanding” – although he expects the bigger teams' budgets to tell once the season gets underway – and that Ferrari’s perennial rival McLaren had big problems.

“On the other hand, after Barcelona you clearly have to say that Ross's team was outstanding,” he said.

“They were one second in front, and if they can take this into the season they are strong as well – even if probably the big teams will cut that advantage away with time.

“McLaren at the moment looks pretty bad.”
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Alonso wants budget cap reconsidered Thursday, 19 March 2009 11:31

Fernando Alonso has hit out at Formula 1’s constant rules upheaval and admits he is “concerned” by the plans for 2010 and beyond.

The FIA’s World Council this week announced a series of changes to come into force over the next two seasons, with the decision to decide the world championship by race victories from this year and the introduction of an optional £30 million budget cap from the following season provoking controversy.

The latest regulation changes come on the back of a radical overhaul of the technical framework for this season, with further measures aimed at slashing budgets already agreed between the teams and FIA.

Double world champion Alonso fears further new rules only have to potential to alienate F1’s worldwide following, especially as they have been introduced without consultation with fans or teams.

“I don’t understand the need to change the rules of the sport constantly,” Alonso said on his official website.

“I think these kinds of decisions can only confuse the fans.

“Formula 1 has existed for more than 50 years thanks to the teams, the sponsors, the drivers and, above all, the fans from all over the world – and none of them have been able to put their views to the FIA.”

The Renault star admitted he had particular reservations about the budget cap that will come into force from 2010.

Observers have already voiced fears that the cap – which will allow teams operating inside it to have greater technical freedoms over the squads spending more than the £30m limit – could create a two-tier championship.

Alonso wants the FIA to look at the plans again before they are introduced.

“I am concerned, not so much about the decisions that affect the season that’s about to begin, but especially about those affecting the future of the competition in the coming years,” he said.

“I hope somehow these measures can be reconsidered in the near future.”

The Spaniard’s criticisms echo the views expressed by the Formula One Teams’ Association earlier this week.

FOTA reacted angrily to the “unilateral” manner in which the FIA took its decisions and said it would now study “the new situation” presented by the governing body’s changes closely.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper that the teams want to see rules stability to ensure that Formula 1 remains as straightforward to follow as possible.

“We want a stable regulatory framework, without continuing disruption that would create confusion among teams, fans and sponsors,” he said.

And asked if Ferrari would contemplate withdrawing from the sport in protest, Domenicali said it was important that the teams worked together to put pressure on the FIA so to agree a more favourable rules solution.

“Let’s wait and see,” he said.

“For now it is important for us to convince by force of argument those who think differently from us.”

Meanwhile, the FIA’s decision to break with 59 years of F1 history and award the title to the driver that scores the most wins during the season has met with a largely negative response from some of the sport’s top stars.

With the existing points system only coming into play in the determination of the championship in a tie-break situation, it opens up the possibility that a driver could for instance win five races and crash out of the remaining 12, but still become champion.

Brawn GP ace Rubens Barrichello, the most experienced driver in the sport’s history, believes a winner-takes-all system fails to reward season-long consistency.

“I don’t like this rule much,” he said in an interview with Brazilian television station TV Globo

“The world title should go to the driver who has scored the most points.

“The champion should be the driver who has put in the best performance across the entire season.”
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