Yas Marina defends F1 double points

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IOL mot pic mar31 F1 Yas Marina Getty Sebastian Vettel stands next to his Red Bull under the hotel at the Yas Marina circuit after qualifying for the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - one of the most dramatic settings in Formula One. Picture: Vladimir Rys

Dubai - Abu Dhabi's circuit chief has defended Formula One's decision to award double points for the final Grand Prix of the 2014 season, which the United Arabs Emitates capital will stage in November.

The International Automobile Federation made the points change in a bid to keep the championship alive as long as possible after Red Bull won four consecutive Drivers' and Constructors' titles and television audiences fell.

But the new rule has drawn an angry response from many fans - and world champion Sebastian Vettel branded it absurd.

Al Tareq al-Ameri, chief executive of Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit, told a news conference: “The fact it came to us, that's good for Abu Dhabi, it will keep things exciting to the last minute.”

“I feel the mentality of the drivers will change.”

“People don't like changes, but for a sport like this, from the history, there are always changes happening with Formula One and that's what keeps it exciting.”

Abu Dhabi will stage the last of 19 races this season, with Formula One hoping for more of a fight to the finish than in 2013, when Vettel sealed a fourth consecutive world crown with three rounds to spare.

The United Arabs Emitates capital, which joined the F1 calendar in 2009, appears to have a 50/50 chance of this year's championship going to the wire, with five of the previous 10 titles decided at the final race, but Ameri said Abu Dhabi would not lose its lustre however the season developed.

“It's not about determining who is the champion at which round.”

“The fans that follow the F1 championship stick with it all the way through,” he said as he unveiled plans to increase Yas Marina's capacity from 55 000 to 60 000.

“It's an exciting event for them and I think each round by itself provides a unique proposition,” he added.

Mercedes has won the first two races of 2014 - Nico Rosberg in Australia and Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia.

Vettel earned Red Bull's first points of the season with third place in Sepang on Sunday, a step in the right direction for a team that looked in disarray during winter testing after its Renault power unit suffered reliability problems.


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