Monday 3 February 2014 7:40 pm

Exclusive: Double points rule is because Ferrari failing, says Eccelstone

FORMULA ONE boss Bernie Ecclestone says he introduced controversial rules to award double points for the last race of the season in order to help Ferrari compete. The oldest and most celebrated team on the grid have not won a world championship since 2007 – a predicament Ecclestone says contributed to his passing the rule, despite widespread opposition. Ecclestone said of Ferrari chief Luca di Montezemolo: “He was talking about it and I said: ‘It is very simple why we got that [rule]. It is because you aren’t performing. If you were doing what you should be doing there wouldn’t be any need for it.’ He said: ‘I know, I know.’” The new rules, which take effect from this year and mean the season finale in Abu Dhabi is worth twice as many points as other races, mean there is a greater chance of an outsider snatching the title. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has won four world championships in succession and clinched last year’s crown three races before the end of the campaign. Vettel has been one of the rule’s biggest critics, calling it “absurd” as it “punishes those who have worked hard for a whole season”, yet Ecclestone is pushing to extend it to the last three races. That would need unanimous support but Red Bull boss Christian Horner is in favour as it would “take away an element of lottery over that last race”.