The World Motor Sport Council met yesterday and decided on many new measures that will be implemented this season and also in 2010. The raft of changes include budget caps and a change to the points system and how the world champion is decided. The decisions made have sparked debate all over the Internet as the shape of the future of Formula One is slowly laid down. In this first post, we look at the changes made to the points system.
Perhaps the most controversial change is the way the championship will be decided. From this season onwards – which starts in less than two weeks – the driver who scores the most wins will be awarded the coveted World Driver’s Championship. This idea was put forward by Bernie Ecclestone late last year, and although it appeared up until yesterday that the FIA and FOTA weren’t overly keen on it, the system has been incorporated into the 2009 scoring process.
Points will remain in both championships, but instead of the world champion being decided purely on the points system of 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1, the winner will be the driver who accrues the most victories in the season. Should two drivers tie on wins after the final round of the championship, then the points earned will be considered. All other positions in the championship will be decided by the points earned, and the constructor’s title remains unchanged.
FOTA had proposed a slight alteration to the points system recently at their meeting in Geneva, changing it to 12-9-7-5-4-3-2-1. However, the WMSC rejected this idea in favour of the medals-type idea, and Ecclestone believes will encourage drivers to overtake for the win rather than settle for second place as some have in the past.
It should be noted however, that what isn’t necessarily broken really needn’t be fixed. And certainly not in the fairly radical way that the WMSC has done. Last year we all witnessed a fantastic climax to the championship, with the whole year coming down to the penultimate corner of the last lap of the very last race. Fans the world over were on the edge of their seats. Indeed, I’m sure Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton were too while driving their cars.
We saw plenty of overtaking during 2008, and although some of the moves were later tarnished by stewarding decisions, the title race went down in my book as “vintage”, something I have remarked upon many times during and since. It is however, typical of the governing body to make big changes at once in an effort to shake-up or hopefully improve the sport. Qualifying is something that has undergone so many changes in recent seasons, which only adds to the confusion for the fans, as well as the teams themselves. Radical changes have been made to the qualifying process that have then been altered once again – some mid-season – when it is realised that it doesn’t work. While it is appreciated that the previous 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system may be wasn’t perfect, it did generate some great championships.
What do you think? Do you like the idea of a medals-esque system, or would you prefer the existing or the FOTA proposed system?