Sunday 22 October 2017

Last-race twist to shake up F1

MOTORSPORT

Formula One is to award double points for the last race of the season in a controversial move to keep championships undecided to the very end after four years of Red Bull domination.

The novelty, immediately dismissed by some angry fans as a needless gimmick, was the most eye-catching of several rule changes announced by the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) yesterday.

The FIA said double points would "maximise focus on the championship until the end of the campaign" and had been unanimously approved at a meeting in Paris of teams in the F1 Strategy Group and Formula One Commission.

Next year's season-ender is the day-to-night race in Abu Dhabi on November 23.

Sebastian Vettel (26) won the last nine races and wrapped up his fourth title in a row with three rounds to spare this year but he would not have been champion in 2012 had double points been awarded in the last race.

Neither would Britain's Lewis Hamilton have been champion with McLaren in 2008 nor Michael Schumacher for Ferrari in 2003, when Brazilian Felipe Massa and Finland's Kimi Raikkonen would have taken the title instead.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss the rest of the season after tests showed he sustained torn ligaments in his knee during Sunday's 27-26 win against Cleveland.

The loss of Gronkowski, one of the most dynamic tight ends in the NFL, is a big blow to the Patriots' Super Bowl chances.

Meanwhile, Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes and Matt Prater kicked the longest field goal in league history as the Denver Broncos eased to a 51-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

Elsewhere, Drew Brees matched Manning's effort with four touchdown passes of his own to help the New Orleans Saints go clear at the top of the NFC South with a 31-13 win over the Carolina Panthers.

The Seattle Seahawks lost to rivals San Francisco 19-17.

Irish Independent

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