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GP Week : Issue 101
Our exclusive partnership with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes means you can stay in the centre of the F1 action when you book a Grand Prix weekend package. For more information or to book, please visit hiltonracing.com Click here to book your F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has reignited the debate about introducing a ‘winner takes all’ medal system for Grands Prix, which has been met with caution by figures within the sport. Despite a general feeling that the current points system has contributed to an ultra-tight world championship battle, Bernie believes his system is better for the competitive show. "If you look at the points system, it has made absolutely no difference," he said at an Allianz function prior to the Singapore Grand Prix. “Maybe they will wake up and think about my gold medal system now. Mark would have four gold medals and two other guys three, so the championship could go all the way to the wire." McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were among those to come out against Ecclestone’s suggestion. “I would say it's not his greatest idea,” said Hamilton. "There has been a points system in F1 forever. You are still going to go for the win if you have a chance, so it doesn't matter if you give us a gold medal or a trophy, we’d still be doing exactly what we‘re doing right now. It wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever.” Hamilton’s team-mate, defending champion Jenson Button, shared a similar view, saying: "Last year I would have loved that and could have sat out the last few races and gone on a big holiday for three months, but this year it has been so close it has been a fantastic season. "The problem is for the smaller teams,” continued Button. “If it becomes only for the top three, then they know they are never going to score a medal in a season. There have probably been four or five teams this year that would have got a medal, and that is really tough for a lot of teams on the grid." McLaren drivers unite against Bernie’s golden plan n Nick Heidfeld returned to a Formula One cockpit in Singapore with BMW Sauber but insisted his future was still up for discussion in terms of where he drives next year. “ The situation for next year is completely open with Sauber but also with other teams that I have already been in talks over the last couple of weeks,” he said. He admitted that his knowledge of next year’s tyres could be attractive to other teams. "Having driven for Pirelli, it should help. Some people would argue that it would have been better to stay testing and have even more of an advantage for next year but when I had the chance to sign for Sauber I definitely wanted to come back.” n The Formula One Paddock Club is operated by a different company to usual (normally it’s run by Paddy McNally’s super-slick Allsport Management) and it did rather show when the security team in Singapore tried to bar entry to Fernando Alonso. The double world champion – and subsequent race winner that weekend – didn’t have the right pass and was told to turn around. n Karun Chandhok – aka Karunpedia – showed off his stunning knowledge of F1 facts when he and a couple of helpers from Hispania took the New Teams Quiz prize. MC’d by GPWEEK editor Adam Hay-Nicholls and relayed by Grand Prix Diary on Twitter, Hispania scored 41 points in the devilishly hard trivia and photo quiz, beating Virgin (27) and Lotus (25). “You don’t know any girls do you Karun,” challenged the Virgin lot. Ironically. n Christian Horner was an unexpected visitor to McLaren’s Meet The Team press session on Saturday morning. He was attending a backroom meeting with Martin Whitmarsh. Jenson Button couldn’t resist a bit of goading. “Obviously it’s great for us that Seb and Mark are at each others throats. I think Christian is really struggling to keep them in line,” he said into the microphone as he banged on Whitmarsh’s office wall. Short Straights 10