FIA announce new F1 rule change just hours before Abu Dhabi finale

Lewis Hamilton opens up on difficult season for Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen or Sergio Perez could be awarded a medal on the F1 podium after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix due to a simple rule change. F1 race winners will now also receive a medal as well as a trophy on the podium with the rule change coming into effect from Sunday’s race, according to De Telegraaf. 

The change will come into effect to act as a “unique personal memento to commemorate their outstanding achievement”. Trophies usually go to the team with the driver often making a replica if they want to keep one.

Medals and flowers have been dished out to winners of F1’s sprint races since their debut last season. However, only trophies have been awarded to the winner of Sunday’s Grand Prix’s.

Each medal will be engraved with details of each Grand Prix and could feature the race number (1,079 for Abu Dhabi). Bernie Ecclestone previously touted the introduction of a medals system when he controlled the sport. 

Back in 2009, the F1 boss said medals could be awarded to the top-three finishers with gold going to the race winner. This would remove the need for championship points with the title going to whoever had the most gold medals and therefore race wins. 

However, the plan was eventually scrapped after Ecclestone could not get support for the proposals. Hamilton shot down the scheme when it was announced, claiming it was one of the “worst ideas”.

He explained: “Out of the many ideas that have come out, this is potentially one of the worst. I would say it’s not his greatest idea. What Bernie has achieved in Formula One is absolutely phenomenal and no one else could have done as great a job as him. But even the best have ideas that are not as good as their best ideas, and even the best are not always right.”

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Jenson Button also criticised the Ecclestone’s suggestion and threw his support by the continuation of using points to determine the world champion.

He commented: “There has been a points system in F1 forever. I like it, it’s been exciting working to a points system. It still doesn’t stop you challenging for a win. You are still going to go for the win if you have a chance.

But, the new medal system will only be a token reward and will not act as a replacement to the current system.

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