Motor racing is simple at heart, it is who can cover a set distance in the shortest time or, as in the case of Sebring or Le Mans, who can cover the most distance in a given time. As though the FIA has not done enough to complicate the sport, we have a raft of new rules.
We are to have double points for the final race, and next year that will be Abu Dhabi whose proud tradition of Formula One goes back as far as 2009. Already the organisers of the first and last races of the season are charged a premium. It is mainly the oil states who can run races at such times, so they have been ripe for fleecing. Even if Monza or Spa wanted to be the last race of the season, they couldn't be.
So Abu Dhabi will be more important than any other race and the idea seems to be to stage a down-to-the-wire Championship. It is blatant rigging and it is wrong, plain wrong. Every race should count equally.
No championship has been won or lost at the last race, there has always been that botched pit stop in Melbourne, the collision in Montreal, the blown engine at Silverstone, or the poor qualifying in Hungary. They have all been part of the season. Now every other race will be diminished.
We have gone beyond the time when only the best so many races in a season counted. That was to balance the inevitable retirements when mechanical reliability was not as it has become.
With double points on offer, I can see some teams building their late season strategies around that. Romain Grosjean's brilliant season came to premature end with a blown engine at Interlagos and that is the sort of thing that grabs the attention of teams hungry for points. It won't affect the main players, but ask the guys at Marussia and Caterham what tenth in the Constructors' Championship meant to them.
Towards the end of last season, we had commentators, desperate for something to say, telling us that Fernando Alonso had set a new record for the number of championship points scored. It is meaningless. It is blather. It is PR snap, crackle and pop. Fangio and Farina had to win half the races in the Championship, and set a fastest lap, to score 25 points.
Drivers are to be able to nominate their racing numbers. I see no harm in that, in principle. Sir Stirling favoured seven, Gilles Villeneuve was associated with #27 and there was also Our Nige. Williams happened to paint their numbers in red and Mansell had #5, then someone told him that, in 'Star Wars', Luke Skywalker's designation was Red Five. After that, there was no stopping him. He was 'Red Five'.
What is going to happen is that drivers are going to be quizzed on their chosen numbers and stories will be picked up by the tabloids, thus lowering the credibility of the sport still further. It's bad enough that the cheap press employs astrologers, want to bet that they won't consult numerologists?
Believe me, some drivers will decide that their numbers have become jinxed. In 1979, Brian Henton lost the European F2 Championship on the final lap at Donington when his brakes failed. Afterwards, he blamed the colour of his helmet (green) and I heard him say it.
What had actually happened was that a member of the Toleman team had died in a car crash and his funeral was held during the week of the race and Toleman had lost a day of preparation and had not conducted brake pad wear tests. It was Brian Henton himself who told me this, some years later, but he still changed the colour of his helmet.
Drivers in NASCAR have their own numbers, but they are displayed large on the cars. When was the last time you could read the numbers on an F1 car? Unless the FIA decrees that numbers shall stand out from all the sign writing around them, the exercise is pointless.
It has become usual for newspapers to set really difficult quizzes, crosswords and other puzzles for readers to solve over the Christmas holiday. Not to be outdone, the FIA has come up with a zinger. It has decided that a drive through penalty is too harsh for some minor infringements (ask Felipe Massa at Interlagos.) The FIA has proposed five second penalties, but has not yet worked out how to do it.
It is another winner from the people who gave you the exploding tyre.
The drive through was instituted to ensure that a penalty was imposed, it would drop a driver down the order, yet the spectators would still be able to follow the race.
At some stages in a race, it would be possible for a pit crew to be delayed five seconds before changing tyres. A driver leaves the pits after his final stop, crosses the white line, incurs a penalty, what then? You can always add five seconds to the race time, but how is that going to play with the audience at home? Hotshoe is trying to overtake Vermicelli, but Vermicelli is really 3.6 seconds behind Hotshoe and is actually behind Einbahnstrasse who is behind them both.
Here is your puzzle for Boxing Day. How do you enforce a five second penalty without viewers switching off in droves?
Here is your puzzle for the whole of the New Year, how do you impose a spending cap? Bear with me while I draw a parallel.