REUTERS - Red Bull's four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel has branded as 'absurd' a rule change to award double points at the final race of the Formula One season from next year.
The 26-year-old, winner of the last four championships, told Germany's Sport Bild on Tuesday that he saw no merit in the change.
"You can hardly imagine that on the last match of the Bundesliga season, (soccer) matches are suddenly worth twice as many points," said the German.
"It's absurd and it punishes the drivers who have worked hard through the whole season. I value the old traditions in Formula One and don't understand this rule," he was quoted as saying.
The controversial change, announced by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) on Monday after a meeting with the sport's new F1 strategy group that is made up of six teams including champions Red Bull, has been roundly criticised by fans on social media.
"F1 demeans itself with double points gimmick," declared a headline on the F1 Fanatic website, whose poll of more than 700 members showed 90 percent opposed to the idea.
Sport Bild quoted Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko as saying his team had been against the change but were overruled.
The Austrian added that an initial proposal had been to award double points for the last four races.
Vettel won this year's championship with three races to spare and ended the season with nine successive wins.
The FIA said the rule change would "maximise focus on the championship until the end of the campaign" but others questioned the need for any such tweak.
"Double points for the last F1 GP of the season looks like an answer to a question nobody was asking. Devalues the other races too," commented former grand prix racer and Sky TV commentator Martin Brundle on Twitter.
(Additional reporting by Brian Homewood; Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)