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Double points could be scrapped, says Montezemolo

Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo speaks during a media preview day at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgan
Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo speaks during a media preview day at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgan

By Alan Baldwin

(Reuters) - Formula One's decision to award double points at the last race of the season could be scrapped after next year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, if not before, according to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

The Italian told reporters attending a Christmas lunch at the Fiorano test track that he was no fan of the controversial rule change that has got fans up in arms and been branded 'absurd' by Red Bull's world champion Sebastian Vettel.

"I am not enthusiastic about it, because for me it looks too artificial. We will see," he declared.

Asked whether the decision might be reversed before the start of the season in March, the Italian shrugged: "This I don't know. I will not be surprised if after one year they will change it."

Montezemolo said Ferrari had not vetoed the measure when it came to a vote because they felt it was not an important enough issue to warrant such action. However, it would be discussed further.

"I think the best way to find out may be to do one year as a test," he said. "I personally have some doubts. I told this to (FIA president Jean) Todt and I told this to (commercial supremo) Bernie (Ecclestone) privately.

"Anyway, we had unanimous agreement to do it. We will look at it but in the future we need to have far more involvement of the teams, the tifosi (fans), media, all the stakeholders of Formula One."

Team principal Stefano Domenicali, who also attended the lunch, indicated the double points decision was far from definite.

"I think, considering what is the situation, it would be not wrong to reconsider it," he said. "That means you are listening to all the interested parties."

DECISION APPROVED

Montezemolo cited the example of qualifying, which had an unpopular and short-lived phase of each driver performing a solo lap against the clock, as an example of the sport getting it wrong and having to backtrack.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced this month that double points would be awarded at the final round of the season from next year in an attempt to keep the title battle undecided to the end.

Red Bull and Vettel have won the last four drivers and constructors' championships, with the dominant 26-year-old German this year taking a record nine wins in a row in a single season.

The FIA said the double points decision was unanimously approved at a meeting of its Formula One commission and the newly formed F1 Strategy Group, which includes Ferrari.

The Italian glamour team,, the oldest and most successful in the sport, have a right to veto changes but Montezemolo was clear about when he felt it should be used.

"I don't want that Ferrari puts a veto for something that is not so essential to Formula One," he said. "I would put a veto if they asked me to do a four cylinder engine, because I don't do motorcycles.

"I would put a veto if they decided... that now the drivers are obliged to drive with one hand because they get tired and it's more interesting for the race."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by John O'Brien)

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