Damon Hill makes the case for double points in season-ending Abu Dhabi GP
Concept has been widely condemned since introduction was revealed
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 12/02/14 8:09am
Former World Champion and current Sky Sports F1 pundit Damon Hill has voiced his support for the introduction of double points for the final race of the 2014 season in Abu Dhabi.
The shake-up, announced in December, has already proved highly controversial and Hill's support bucks the general trend with 87% of Sky Sports users who voted in an online poll reacting negatively to the FIA's radical and unexpected revision of F1's points-scoring system.
The idea has also been, in the main, denounced by the F1 fraternity itself, with World Champion Sebastian Vettel branding it "absurd" and Hill's Sky Sports F1 colleague Martin Brundle describing the double-points concept as "an answer to a question nobody was asking".
On Friday, new World Championship favourites Mercedes also launched their own thinly-veiled condemnation of the system with the team's drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, deliberately playing dumb when asked for their reaction to the scheme.
Nevertheless, 1996 World Champion Hill is nonplussed by the fuss generated and convinced F1 is merely falling into line with the rhythm of other sporting competitions with Abu Dhabi assuming the status of the F1 season's 'final'.
"If you go to Wimbledon and you are in a knock-out competition it then gets more crucial and more important the closer you get to the final - and the final is worth a lot more points than the first round," Hill reasoned with Sky Sports News.
"Personally, I don't see what the story is about. Winning the World Championship is the goal and if it gets more and more intense towards the end, and there is more at stake at the end of the championship, then that should be more exciting."
Hill was an interested spectator as F1's new turbo era dawned at the four-day Jerez test in southern Spain last month and was excited by what he saw as the teams grappled - not always successfully - with their revolutionary and complex new machinery and the drivers wrestled with cars that appeared to offer far less grip than those of yesteryear.
"The new engines are going to be a big technical challenge and the drivers seem interested in the torque that they deliver," added Hill. "There's a question mark about the noise - I like the sound but perhaps they could be louder than they are. But it's still Formula 1, the cars are still incredibly powerful and incredibly fast and they are going to be racing them with everything they have got.
"There will be more chance for other teams to pick up points and I think it will be harder for any individual team and driver combination to be consistent throughout the season and in that way I think it will be more unpredictable."
The second of three winter tests commences next Wednesday in Bahrain with the season-opening Australian GP on March 16.
2014 rule changes at a glance
The final race of the season, this year to be held in Abu Dhabi, will award double the usual allocation of points to the top-ten finishers. So the race winner receives 50 instead of 25 points, the runner-up 36 instead of 18 and so on.
Fuel limit for races
Cars will now have to start races carrying 100kg of fuel - compared to approximately 150kg in 2013 - to complete the distance with a limited fuel-flow rate of 100kg/hour.
Permanent driver numbers
All 22 drivers on the 2014 grid have selected car numbers that they will keep for the remainder of their careers.
In a bid to avoid cars being launched in accidents, the tip of the nose has been dramatically lowered - a change which has given rise to spate of 'ugly' 2014 nose designs.
Energy Recovery Systems
KERS system is succeed by two enhanced Energy Recovery Systems (ERS), one recovering kinetic energy under braking and the other heat energy from the exhaust turbine. Drivers will no longer activate the ERS boost - which will now offer 161bhp for 33 seconds per lap - via a button on the steering wheel.
Driver penalty points
Stewards may now impose penalty points on a driver's Super Licence for misdemeanors. If a driver reaches 12 points he will be removed for the following grand prix.
V6 turbo engines
The 2.4-litre V8 engines are replaced by 1.6-litre V6s with a single turbocharger. Rev limit is reduced from 18,000 rpm to 15,000 rpm.
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News. The next test, in Bahrain, begins on Wednesday February 19.