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?
I really would have preferred if they had left it well alone, as you say “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. I don’t think the points system was broken, although awarding 12 points to the winner as a greater differentiation is pretty cool idea so it does make it worth more.
I don’t like the new way the World Champion is decided though, with most wins. Surely the World Champion is the driver and by connection who’s team has managed to remain the most consistent throughout the season. Everyone is going to have bad races, reliability problems etc but overcoming those and scoring valuable points in bad situations would become pretty meaningless when wins are all that counts. I can see how they are trying to make drivers push for the win but this could render the last few races of a season academic if a driver has managed to accrue an unreachable total of wins. I really enjoyed last season, it was properly exciting stuff, right down to the wire. That’s how I’d like it to be every year.
If Bernie thinks that F1 drivers have not always tried their hardest to win, we have an explanation for his failure to make it as a driver way back in the distant past. His argument is a load of tosh and the motivation of the drivers will remain as it always has been – to win at all costs.
As regards deciding the championship by number of race wins, I have only two words to say: Didier Pironi.
I whole-heartedly agree.
I whole-heartedly agree. 🙂
I think some people were a little peeved with Alonso back in 2005 when he appeared to settle for second in the closing stages of some races. To me, that is where this argument seems to stem from. However, I would like to point out to the FIA, and to Bernie Ecclestone, that Alonso was merely playing to the very ruling that the FIA introduced to help even the sport out and to prevent Michael Schumacher from consistently winning all the time. I don’t think I need to mention who beat Schumacher to the title in 2005.
Also, as soon as the championship was over (regarding points), the circus went to Japan, and we witnessed what has gone down in my mind as one of the greatest races of the current era. I mean, Bernie, you can’t tell me that no incentive (the title had already been clinched) led to no overtaking!? Alonso passed Schumacher around the outside of 130R! Raikkonen passed Fisichella going into T1, again taking the long route around (I seem to remember). No overtaking my left buttock.
Last year was a cracking contest, but there have been years when it’s not been so good, so close or so exciting therefore I don’t think the points system was necessarily the cause of that excitement.
I think it’s worth a try this way, see how it goes – I haven’t heard anyone complain that the Olympics medal table is wrong and should be changed so why not give it a shot in F1?
Both systems have good and bad points and the title could be wrapped up early (what noone really wants) in either case, but I’m hopefully individual races will be more interesting right to th flag this way.
If it all comes down to the final race, with the drivers challenging for the title all running nose to tail for the entire race, determined to overtake each other, we may all come to the conclusion this is the best way after all 😉
Then again, it could all be decided by the summer and the moaning will continue… 🙂
I wish I could share your optimism, but I just don’t. I’ve mulled the medal idea over and over, and even spent the best art of a day mulling over this medal-esque-hybrid idea. But I just don’t see it. It’s confusing, as Button remarked earlier today to Autosport, I believe. And it’s typical FIA going guns a’blazing into something that needs better thought. It would appear, from what I’ve read thus far – so not by any rate conclusive – that the “market research” (and I say that with a certain tone) has been ignored. Again, typical FIA.
Yes, the medal idea works perfectly for the Olympics. Country vs. country. Individual sportsperson vs. individual sportsperson. I see Formula One primarily as a sport, but different to the Olympics. Points has worked for the best part of 59 years. By all means tweak it. But radical changes, in my limited experience, will only come back and bite the FIA later on. Just as they have been bitten many times before.
We wait and see though. I have eaten humble pie before. 🙂
Who hasn’t?! 🙂
I don’t really share in the difficulty thing – the guy who wins the most races is the champion, simples!
I agree that the FIA should never take up fire-fighting as the place would be flooded, just in case there was ever a fire – they do like to try and preempt problems which are never likely to come up or indeed are only seen as problems by the FIA themselves.
God I wish the racing would hurry up and start so we have something better to talk about lol!
To explain my stance better then: I don’t like having two different systems for the championships. As it stands, we now kinda have two-and-a-half.
Yes, most wins equals championship – simple and straight forward. But what about everything else that happens? Second, third, fourth… and the constructors.
I (and yourself) are older fans who understand and can sort this out in our heads as each race unfolds. But younger and newer fans? Besides, I now have think about how I present this this on BlogF1. I have a pretty good idea, by the way. Wait and see.
My English teacher from secondary school, the ever so lovely Miss Mayher, once said: “Write as though you are explaining this [whatever] to an alien.” Try explaining this system to a new fan, or an alien if you will.
To me, it’s overkill, unnecessary, and will not result in drivers pushing harder for wins. They already push hard enough. Spa ’08 and the countless other races where it has really come down to the last corner. What killed Spa, to bring this example back up, was the FIA. Whether or not the right decision was made is irrelevant. It killed the moment. It killed what Bernie wants – racing, overtaking. That is the issue to me. Although credit where it’s due, steps have been taken to improve the stewarding process, and hopefully 2009 will be more transparent.
How very dare you!!! 😉
Whatever we think of it, this system is here for the coming season at least, so I think it’s going to be a case of “wait and see” how it all goes.
I think its a load of hogwash. I think we’ll see more ‘spa-like’ decisions if someone (Ferrari) might be in danger of not clinching the title. It will also put paid to the ‘second’ drivers being able to challenge for a win, and destroy what could possibly have been some good finishes. Teams will be forced to back one driver over the other fairly early in the season too – how will this affect a team like BMW-Sauber whose drivers are pretty evenly matched? Say hello to team orders !
And we could well see the ridiculous 2004 like situation where the championship is over by mid way through the season. In fact, you could win nine races and DNF the rest and still be WDC. How ridiculous is that?
Anyway, I give it a year before its dropped quietly like so many “FIA changes for the good of the sport” innovations we have seen before.
That is ridiculous, but one which would serve the FIA right if it were to come to fruition.
I think a reason the medals idea works for the Olympics but wouldn’t for F1 is because with the Olympics it’s a single event, with qualifiers heats etc etc but essentially it’s one event. Taking swimming as an example, they have heats up until the final but then it’s one race to determine the new World Champion of 1500m Fly (or whatever). Whereas with F1 it’s 17 races around the world, with widely varying climates and weather which each give the teams new things to think about and different ways to set the car up for each circuit. So surely the World Champion should be the person who manages to earn the greatest number of points over the season rather than wins, because the team aren’t always going to get it 100% right and be able to win, so tactics and making the best out of the situation comes into play. If a driver can’t be consistent and score lots of points but then looses the Championship to someone with fewer points then them then it’s a bit silly in my opinion.
Though I do agree we haven’t seen the new system in action yet and so it’s possibly worth waiting and seeing what happens. I just can’t help but think in a years time we will be back to a most points wins system. Bernie don’ arf like to tinker!
This ends up becoming a really smart decision. I look forward to mid season when the benefit in having to win races will really come into focus. Drivers will have to take chances and we who watch will get a much better sense of who has the bigger balls in getting the job done. It should be most interesting for all who enjoy F1. I also can’t recall anything rule change in the last thirty years that will affect the outcome of the championship more than this one will. Along with good comes bad, my hope is that chasing race wins won’t cross that fine line between success and tragedy. Remember what one lap qualifying tires did in 1982….
To start with, I agree with the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it approach”, and this dose just the opposite. In each of the last three seasons we have seen the championship go down to the last race, and I believe this system makes that less likley to happen. The points seemed to work fine for so many seasons, why change it now? I can agree that drivers should battle for the win, but dose this system really make thatn happen in a positive manner?
Overall, I don’t like it. And perhaps my biggest question concenrs the timing- why make this announcement less than two weeks before the season starts?
I can see what’s coming at the end of this year. We will all be talking about who ‘won’ the championship versus who finished with the most points. We may well end up with a ‘winner’ as well as an equally deserving de-facto winner.
After a protest through the FOTA (telling the FIA that rule changes for the upcoming season have to be pronounced until 30th November of the previous year) the FIA announced, that the racewin-reglation will not be used in 2009, but in 2010.
Good news for this year in my opinion, I hope the FOTA will fight hard as hard against it next year too.
I never should talk to my girlfriend while trying to write a comment in english and racing on a international simracing-server at the same time… sorry for that horrible grammar ^^.
[…] Little more said about the suggestion of changing the points system until last Tuesday when the WMSC met in Paris to discuss various proposals for this and next years world championship. In a statement issued after the meeting, it was announced that the system was changing. But instead of a simple realignment of the difference between the points, Bernie’s idea would be incorporated into the mash-up of points of wins. […]
Ridiculous to base a season on who wins most races. Yeah, so what if you get say 3 drivers on 4,3 and 5 wins (rest of the wins evenly spread? The winner would be the chap winning 5 races although he did not finish one race other than winning the 5. Same goes for the chap in second place who comes second. Guy in 3 place wins 3 races and finishes in 2nd place in all other races. By far the most consistant driver of the season yet only finishes 3rd. To think this even got considered is ridiculous, if you want to level the field then do what the Americans did and make the cars all the same, then it will be strictly down to the drivers skill. Who cares about technology, it is hampered by rules and regulations anyway so hardly any of it can be implemented. So the argument on how it will stunt F1 is defunct before it starts. Make the cars the same, engines the same, widen the tracks and let the best drivers surface. How many times have we seen drivers shine early on winning a few races only to find themselves in cars unable to win races next season. Button last season did nothing, yet showed in a good car he could mix it up with the best of them. F1 at the moment to me is about who has the best car and little to do with who is the best driver.