French legend Alain Prost Wednesday hit out at the double points on offer at Abu Dhabi this week as the unpopular innovation threatened to cast a shadow over the climax to the Formula One season.
The four-time world champion said he was never a fan of awarding twice the normal number of points at the final race, known as the “Abu Double” — an idea aimed at maintaining interest throughout the season.
In the event, Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are just 17 points apart, meaning the Briton will have to work hard to make sure his second world title isn’t cruelly snatched away.
“I was never in favour of double points because it’s artificial,” Prost told AFP in Singapore, during an industry conference run by high-tech composite manufacturer JEC.
“Maybe sometimes it could be good for the interest of the championship. But I don’t like very much the idea of a race giving more points than another.”
Prost said he was a traditionalist who also was against the awarding of 25 points to the winner rather than 10, which began in 2010.
“I think for interest in Formula One you want to keep things very stable, because people are always very interested about statistics and it’s changing all the time,” he said.
“I would be against (double points) if I had to vote for it but it’s like this, so we have to accept it and see how it is… Let’s wait and see and then we can judge later on. But I was not in favour of it.”
Prost’s fierce rivalry with the late Ayrton Senna once dominated F1, and he said he welcomed Hamilton’s duel with Rosberg — which comes after Sebastian Vettel’s march to four straight titles.
“In fact it was positive for the sport, for the championship. I like the way that Mercedes in the end left the drivers free to fight,” said the 59-year-old.
“Okay, we had one or two situations but I think it was good for the sport. It’s not very often that you can do that because maybe next year they’re going to have more competition (from other teams) and then it’s difficult to give the drivers that freedom.”
Tempers have repeatedly threatened to boil over between the Mercedes pair but they have managed to keep their cool heading into what could be a stormy final race. – Agence France-Presse