Bernie Ecclestone has been urged to abandon his fresh push to introduce a "winner-takes-all" system in Formula 1, with leading figures adamant the move would be wrong for the sport.
Grand prix racing's commercial boss said in Singapore on Thursday that he believed the new-for-2010 points system had not worked, as it had failed to make the season any more exciting than it would have been under the old points structure. Ecclestone reckons the situation would wake up the sport to the need to adopt his preferred medal system – whereby the World Championship would be handed to the driver who takes the most wins over the season.
But Ecclestone's idea has not won support among the men involved in the current championship fight, which has already been billed in some quarters as one of the most exciting ever.
"I get on really well with Bernie, but I disagree with him, personally," Lewis Hamilton said about his championing of the medals concept. "Everyone has got their own personal views, but I don't agree with the golden medal idea.
"At the end of the day, we are pushing as hard as we can already to win the races. It doesn't matter if you give us a gold medal or you give us a trophy. We want to win more than anything. So even if you gave us a gold medal, we would still be doing exactly what we are doing right now. It would not make any difference whatsoever.
"As far as having the most race wins winning the World Championship, I don't think that is a true reflection of someone's performance. For example, if Red Bull's cars had not failed so many times this year, they would have won the championship ages ago and we might as well have gone home.
"They had qualified on pole for 11 races and it would have been a blowout, and it wouldn't have been fun. And I don't think the fans would have enjoyed it. I am pretty sure that the majority of the fans will agree with what I am saying."
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner, whose team has won six of the 14 races held so far this season, said: "The only thing I will say is that the points sometimes are deceptive with the gaps that are there – and as we have seen those points reduce very, very quickly. I don't think the points have contributed, because had it been under the old or current system then the same five drivers would be pretty much in the same position.
"There are merits to rewarding more to a winner, in the scenario we have now, but if you have a runaway leader like in the Ferrari days then there is a disadvantage. But, at the end of the day, it is the same for everybody, whether it is medals or points whatever they are."
Reigning World Champion Jenson Button also reckons that the introduction of a medal system would have big implications for smaller teams on the grid. When asked about Ecclestone's belief that the points system had not worked, Button joked: "Oh, yeah, I don't think it's been an exciting season at all!
"Seriously, I think for the first three people it is exciting in the championship – when you are right at the front it could be really exciting. 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 points system has worked.
"The problem is also for the smaller teams. If it is a medal system then there have probably been four or five teams this year that would have gotten a medal, and that is really tough for a lot of teams on the grid. At the moment there are three teams at the back and they are a little bit away from getting points. It is still difficult, but to get to that point is so exciting for them.
"If it becomes only for the top three, then they know they are never going to score a medal in a season, so it is difficult. For the smaller teams and teams not right at the front it is not as exciting, as there is less to go for."