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Double points? Don't be daft.Maurice Hamilton December 13, 2013
Back in the day when I had a proper job, I used to sell - or, try to sell - office equipment for Olivetti. Three of us working for the same company rented a house in South Ealing and each night we'd arrive home, open a beer, and moan.
It was a tough job cold-calling on business people who did not want to be bothered by oiks like me trying to pass on the merits of an electric typewriter or an adding machine (like I said, this was 'back in the day' when computers were the size of a house).
I was probably the worst salesman of the three, a fact that would be demonstrated for everyone in our office to see on a board showing sales orders - or the lack of them. That, inevitably, would lead to an end-of-month interview with the branch manager, Peter Reynolds; a sparky Yorkshireman who came straight to the point. I'll never forget his words after one particular month when I had a fat zero on the board.
"The trouble is, Mr Bloody 'amilton, you and your two mates go home each night and sit in that house and feel sorry for yourselves. It's a morass of bloody despair in there. And all the time you're blaming 'them' - whoever 'them' might be. It's not 'them', Mr 'amilton. It's 'you'! Get off your bloody backside, get out there - and sell!"
Despite the painfully accurate tirade - or, perhaps, because of it - I liked Peter Reynolds a great deal. I was reminded of him the other day during a pub discussion about the latest F1 rules, specifically the one awarding double points at the final race.
"What on earth are they thinking about?" was a common theme. Forget the validity of the question for a moment; it was the constant use of 'they' that took my mind back nearly 40 years and the painful lecture from my boss. In this instance of seemingly ad hoc rule writing, who, precisely, are 'they'?
The immediate reaction is to seize upon motor sport's punch bag and give the FIA a good verbal kicking. In fact, if I understand it correctly, this is the work of the FIA Strategy Group that, despite the appellation, is not the FIA per se. Yes, the governing body is involved but the Strategy Group also consists of representatives from Formula One Management (basically, Bernie's lot) and some, but not all, of the F1 teams.
In the midst of this distinguished group, some bright spark came up with the double points suggestion. The majority, it must be assumed, subsequently agreed with it. I'd like to think this came at the end of a long day and a quick vote in the affirmative was seen as the prelude to not keeping the private jet waiting any longer than was necessary.
The rights and wrongs of the proposal have been debated at length elsewhere on this website; specifically in Laurence Edmondson's blog, with which I agree wholeheartedly.
If, as Peter Reynolds might have said, I put in my two penn'orth, I would have to offer the elaborate and reasoned conclusion that the idea is rubbish. I mean, how desperate has F1 become to spice up the show? If it is a knee-jerk reaction to Red Bull's dominance then it should be accepted that this sort of supremacy occurs in F1 from time to time. What, may I ask, was wrong with the last races in 2008 and 2010 - and plenty more before that?
A quick scan of the F1 opinion columns will reveal the Strategy Group is completely out of touch with the 'they' this committee is supposedly trying to serve. Paraphrasing the man from Leeds: it's not 'they' that's demanding a change; it's 'you', Mr Bloody Strategy Group, that's failing to appreciate the fundamental value of a sport that deserves better than this.
Maurice Hamilton writes for ESPN F1.