The FIA have announced that a new points system will be implemented for the 2010 season, increasing the points awarded to each position and extending the award to the top-ten finishers. The F1 Commission, made up of key members of Formula One and chaired by Bernie Ecclestone, proposed the change to reflect the increased number of teams on the grid next year.
It would seem that Ecclestone has been keen on changing the points system for some time, and last year proposed a medal system much like how the Olympic Games work. This idea was declined before the season commenced and was met with some backlash from both those within the sport as well as the fans.
However, this recent proposal sticks with points – the system having worked since the sport’s inauguration in 1950 – and although looks quite dramatic on paper, actually isn’t a huge change and only presents on real problem. Currently, the points run: 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1, with the top-eight finishers collecting an award. Under the new system, the points would run: 25-20-15-10-8-6-5-3-2-1, allowing the top-ten finishers to score.
With an extra three teams on the grid next year, it is hoped that by extending the points system, more of the drivers will be able to score, and therefore, seems quite fair. The new system also re-introduces a larger gap between P1 and P2, something that many fans have wanted since it was closed up in 2003 to try and prevent one team/driver from dominating and winning the titles prior to the final race of the season.
Of course, assuming Formula One continues with the tradition of having one, two or three dominant teams each year, then the points tally will be much greater, the increase of 150% for a victory giving a boost on paper when compared to previous years. This may mean, assuming the system stays for a few years, that the historical statistics may become skewed in favour of more recent drivers. At the moment, Michael Schumacher holds the record for most points earned, totaling 1369 throughout his career (thus far). It took Schumacher 15 years to accrue all those points, but under the new system, it would take a driver far less time to build up to and surpass Schumacher’s record.
Although the old adage of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it often comes to mind when thinking about how FOM and the FIA attempt to alter the rules, this change doesn’t seem quite so leftfield as they usually do. The new system closely resembles MotoGP’s, with the only differences being the cluster in the middle and the extension to the top-fifteen for MotoGP: 25-20-16-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. The system has worked well for motorcycles, so I would guess it would work okay for Formula One.
What do you think of the new points system? Will it work, or is it just another example of Bernie meddling where it isn’t needed?