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F1 Medals – changing history for the better?
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F1 Medals – changing history for the better?
Posted By:   |  30 Jan 2009   |  1:42 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Just received an email from the FIA press department with some great research on how F1 history would have been rewritten if Bernie Ecclestone’s medals idea had been in place since the start of Formula 1 in 1950. The outcome of the world championship would have been different on 13 occasions.

Bernie thinks that the winner of a Grand Prix should get a gold medal and that the winner of the world championship should be the driver who has the most gold medals in that year. This would have meant that Felipe Massa would have won the world title in 2008. Bernie proposed this idea after he attended the Beijing Olympics last summer, but before he went to Ferrari’s press event at Madonna di Campiglio wearing a Ferrari jacket.

Ironically the FIA research has revealed with the medals system the Brabham team under Bernie’s tenure would not have won any world championships, losing the 1981 and 83 titles!

But looking across the span of the years you’d have to say that, with one or two exceptions, it would have given a fairer reflection to the distribution of world championships. Alain Prost would have won five, Ayrton Senna and Jim Clark four and Nigel Mansell three! Also Stirling Moss would have won the world championship. This I think, would have been a fairer reflection of those drivers’ place in F1 history than what we actually have in the record books.

There would have been some losers; Nelson Piquet would have lost all three of his titles. I never thought he was a three time champion driver, not in the same league as Jackie Stewart, for example. Niki Lauda would have won one instead of three, which would probably have been wrong.

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  1. Clinton says:

    My opinion is that a retrospective look is irrelevant. If at the time medals is all that would count, then teams strategies would have been different at the time.

    The fact that retrospectively Lewis Hamilton would not have won the title, does not mean he would not have won if the medal system had been in place last year. Mclaren (and everyone else for that matter) would have been more aggressive in strategies, so in truth the outcome would be unknown.

  2. Tom says:

    Surely Piquet would have gone for more wins if they’d had the medals system in his day – and McLaren would have have made alternative plans for Lewis’s Interlagos weekend. I suspect most of the races would have played out differently.

    I like the way the medals proposal retains team points for 4th to 8th so there’s still a constructors’ championship and some recognition for a good result – while drivers have more incentive to go for a pass or a quick change to soft tyres, rather than settling for 4th.

  3. Michael says:

    I don’t have a problem with the idea of elevating the importance of race wins, but I don’t think the idea of radically altering the points system is the way to go. Why not simply give more points to the winner e.g. the winner gets 15 points, 2nd place gets 8-10 points? This would increase the value of a win whilst giving the rest of the field something to aim for.

    The medal system would be disastrous for midfield teams and drivers. Even top teams can’t compete for wins every race, what would be the point for Massa if he messed up qualifying and started at the back of the grid? He couldn’t win the race and even 3rd place would be almost impossible. What could he achieve in the race?

    F1 races are about more than just the winner.

  4. speedmerchants says:

    JA writes: Clinton, Tom you are right up to a point, but strategies didn’t exist much before 1993 and really they’ve only been a big part of the story in the last 10 years. But I’m not sure they make much difference to this argument anyway.

    You cannot say that Piquet would have gone for more wins, or that McLaren’s outcome in Interlagos would have been much different, because certainly before the recent refuelling/strategy era and also during it, in most cases, the front runners have always tried to win and been capable of it.

    I guess the thing hinges on times when a driver fighting for the title has settled for second place when a gold medal would have incentivised him to try a pass, which is Bernie’s idea. That’s one of those things which is hard to say with historic certainty, but my hunch, from looking at the winning margins is that there would not have been an enormous amount more lunges for the lead.

    McLaren did play it conservatively in Brazil, but they never had the speed to race Massa for the win anyway. They were lucky Lewis needed only fifth, second would have been a real stretch for them.

    I think retrospective analysis is a positive thing. It doesn’t matter, I’ll agree with you there, but that’s because you can’t change history. But it does inform and it helps to shape the future.

  5. antonyob says:

    I recently read a book about the classic era of grand prix racing (1901-59) and there is brief mention that a driver in 1904 received a gold medal for winning a grand prix race in France. So there is historical precident and id back it but it needs to be altered

    Id keep the points system but add medals as well, the top 2 or 3 who are fighting for the WDC would be counting their medals whilst everyone else would still get points. Points are counted if the medals are equal.

    Im sure theres a flaw in this system aswell but i think Bernies on the right lines.

  6. I’m not a big fan of the medals idea, but this is a fairly pointless piece of research. What we want to know is if the perception that 2nd place is worth far less than 1st place (which it would under the medals system) discourages drivers at the top end of the grid from ‘settling’ for 2nd / 3rd / 4th.

    Because the system would effect the mentality of drivers during the race, you can’t analyse the effect the rules would have on races already run under the current rules.

    In my opinion, the ‘award’ of 1st and 2nd place is too similar, but medals aren’t the answer. How about 20 points for first, 14 for second, 10 for third, etc etc. Means we wouldn’t have one system for drivers and one for constructors.

    I guess the problem lies with the economy of points. How drivers, teams, sponsors are paid / charged per point earned. (also posted on Blogf1…)

  7. raz says:

    James, I’m sure you know like every other passionate f1 fan the new points system was brought in as measure to stop a certain driver from winning the championship halfway down the season.. i mean, loads of my mates have this discussion every time the points system is talked about..

    we’ve got an Idea that would make EVERYONE happy, and Bernie too..

    its a tweak for the current 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points system..

    winner gets 12 points instead of 10, rest stay the same.. and a point for fastest lap and pole..

    tell me, why won’t that work? lol..
    reasons for the pole and F/lap points..

    Pole position means alot, therefore even guys with heavy fuels will try having a pop at it.. for the extra point.. Saturdays will in turn be a bit MORE edge of your seat.

    Fastest lap – well, you saw Kimi Last year, that means all drivers will be pushing hard to get the fastest time.. an incentive for drivers who aren’t contesting for the win.. e.g 4th or 5th place heck even 3rd.
    all this means is no more cruising after the 2nd stop, and as the race winner has a bigger incentive to get an extra 4 point, plus another 2 if he bags the pole and fastest lap.. everyone’s happy..and we’ll SEE OVERTAKING!.. BRILLIANT eh?

  8. Alex B says:

    I have openly criticised the medals before, but I am warming to the idea – or at least the idea that the most wins should be rewarded.

    The main problem I have with the medals is that they are far too limited, as the competition could be over very quickly, for example, if one driver and car dominate the first half of the season. I also don’t see the point in awarding a silver or bronze either, as they will mean nothing, and I’ve made the point before that a trophy is a bit more impressive and special than a medal.

    Instead of giving the driver with the most gold medals the championship, I would prefer to see the driver with the most wins given some bonus points at the end of the season (10 or 20 extra), thus giving the drivers an incentive to go for more wins, whilst also allowing drivers who finish consistently, ie, if a driver who finishes 2nd/3rd in every race, a chance to win the championship. It would make it fairer and probably more interesting – in my opinion at least!

  9. Mike Ellison says:

    I like the idea of deciding the championships by a cascading system of results. Who had the most 1sts? Tie-break with 2nds, then 3rds, etc. Once you’ve got the sequence for race winners, who got the most 2nds? Tie-break with 3rds, then 4ths, etc. Now, eliminate the 2nds and who got the most 3rds? Tie-break… and so-on. No medals, no points, just placings based on the best each driver did.

    Same rules for the teams. Line up the race winners, then the ones that peaked at second, then the ones that peaked at third.

    That would really cause a stir for those drivers and teams who got lucky. Johnny Herbert would have been up in the winners list twice but on the other hand it would have made Kimi’s Monaco mistake all the more painful for Force India.

  10. Ben lowther says:

    I think this whole thing can be solved by keeping the current system but changing the points for a win from 10 to 12.

    Now there is a four point difference again, and drivers will take a risk to get that 1st place.

    And personally, the greatest number of wins is a stupid idea. What happens if you get a really even season, where 4 drivers are fighting regularly for wins. 3 drivers win 4 races each and regularly grab a podium. The 4th driver bags 5 wins but crashes at every other race. Fair? I don’t think so.

  11. Darren says:

    The article mentioned that Nigel Mansell was unpopular amongst F1 writers. I’ve always wondered why some people don’t like him, he seems like a decent person to me, and he was one of the stand out drivers of F1′s ‘golden era’. But I was too young to follow his career as it happened- I think my positive opinion of him is actually based on ‘Nigel Mansell’s Indy Car Diary’, which I got when I was a kid.

    So, could anyone who followed F1 in the 80′s/ early 90′s explain what was wrong with Mansell?

  12. rpaco says:

    What is the difference between medals and cups? Or at least trophies? Would a medal system be the end of trophies?

    I agree with some of the earlier comments, that strategies would change, the number two driver in each team (and there would be no more equality) would become a purely defensive player and pit stops more about placing a driver to block the opposition than anything thus second car fuel loads would increase to give wider windows for insertion in the most advantageous place. Ross Brawn would be in huge demand, as the master of both strategy and tactics.

    BUT increasing the points gap to 4 for a win would be a far better solution than medals, in fact almost anything would.

  13. George says:

    “And personally, the greatest number of wins is a stupid idea. What happens if you get a really even season, where 4 drivers are fighting regularly for wins. 3 drivers win 4 races each and regularly grab a podium. The 4th driver bags 5 wins but crashes at every other race. Fair? I don’t think so.”

    Life ain’t fair and sport sure as hell ain’t fair someone has to LOOSE!

    And if I’m being honest about it I would love to see the season described above it would be real edge of the seat, gnawing the nails, which driver has the most lead in his *ahem* Petrol type of stuff :)

    On a different note, congratulations James, this is one of the few posts I’ve seen about the Medals system to take a level headed view.

    I will admit to having been an occasional, ok, frequent critic of you on the telly but since I started following this blog, I’ve realised just how wrong I was, keep it up and apologies for how wrong I got it :)

  14. Mike Doodson says:

    As your more thoughtful correspondents are correctly pointing out, James, this is a fruitless argument along the lines of “if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.” Perhaps we should all start blogging about the likely outcome of two world wars if gunpowder or aeroplanes hadn’t been invented. As an old-style trades union leader once opined, “we live in the world we live in, not in the world which we wish was.”

    And as for the suggestion that Nigel Mansell was a cannier bloke than Nelson Piquet, well, take off the blinkers, mate.

  15. speedmerchants says:

    JA writes: The medals debate will run and run. There are some very sound points here and I’m sure they are being logged and noted by the people shaping the future.

    Nice to hear from Mike Doodson, a legend of the press room, who was around when Emerson Fittipaldi was the Sebastien Vettel of his day! He’s always been very supportive and I’d like to thank him again for that here.

    Doods is a big buyer of Piquet and seller of Mansell. I never said Mansell was ‘cannier’ than Piquet, though Doods…..??

    As for the auntie with balls argument, my point is that to understand where we are going we need to understand where we’ve been and if we have a chance to look at the past through a different prism, it gives us an insight into what might happen if we take a different path in future. I’m sure you’ll agree that what comes out of this is to underline that the greats become greater – if you look at it through this particular prism. That’s all. As Woody Allen might say, “It’s a meaningless exercise, but as meaningless exercises go it’s one of the best!”

    As for Darren’s question about why Mansell was unpopular – Doods it’s over to you…

  16. Dominic J says:

    The scandal at Belgium 2008 would have been even worse, and the Austria switch would have seemed understandable.

    Still, I think medals would render the race meaningless for any frontrunner who has to start at the back – how many times have we all delighted in fights from 20/26th (as appropriate) to the podium. Bronze medals would never matter (how many times have two drivers at the top been equal on wins AND seconds?)

    Medals would also force teams to introduce illegal team orders, if they wanted a WDC.

  17. David P says:

    There are too many clouds over the medals system. In this year, where there is every chance that 1 team could have a significantly better car than the others, it could all be decided too soon.

  18. James says:

    I think the FIA needs to consider this. The fans that are for the medals system are generally happy with the points system currently in place (ok, it may need tweaking a little to give more credit to first place).

    Those who are against it are, of course, in favour of the points system, but too agree that it’ll need tweaking.

    This seems like a no-brainer to me. If the FIA and FOM really listened to fans, they would reward first place with more points rather than switching to medals. If F1 did change over to a medal system, Bernie could be faced with a massive drop in audience figures, which could then run him into financial difficulties as the sport receives less attention.

    Dominic J has it nail on here. I don’t believe that a single championship has been decided on the driver that has the most third places on countback, in fact I’m struggling to think of a driver that has won on countbacks of second places.

    Furthermore, the drivers that are at the back end of the grid would probably feel left out in the cold by this one. It is very rare to see anyone from 16th place downwards to finish on the podium. I cannot recall any driver starting 26th on the grid finishing with a podium. I could be wrong, but even if I am, even that was a rare event.

  19. Al27 says:

    Medals are a terrible terrible idea. Why should a driver with 1 win and 17 retirements be ranked better than a driver with 18 second places?

  20. :) Happy Paul says:

    I might be wrong but I get the impression that Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t really intend for the medals system to be implemented. Isn’t this just a ploy to alter the points system so that the podium finishers get a larger proportion of the points? Bernie is a clever man, and it wouldn’t be the first trick he had pulled, so perhaps we shouldn’t take this idea at face value…

  21. Vince says:

    I think it’s a bit premature to be introducing a change as radical as this before understanding if the 09′ cars are even capable of passing each other. It has yet to be proven that the aero and wing modifications will allow for greater overtaking possibilities. The 2008 campaign had less passing up front because it was extremely difficult to pass, not because the drivers with the faster cars were lazy and unmotivated. If the new regulations have made the cars more drivable and allowed for easier overtaking, then you’ll probably see more overtaking – No medals required.
    (but I do like the idea of rewarding 1st place 12 instead of 10 points)

  22. Peter Bolton says:

    From time immemorial it has been the drivers as the star, but if we look at football it is the TEAM, not just the goal scorer.

    Lets not have a drivers championship at all, just the teams one, then all the argument becomes irrelevant.

    In this modern era it is a team sport not individual glory. You cannot tell who is driving anyway

  23. The medals idea is bogus. If you look at all other competitions where they have medals it is because the medals are for one race.

    Just take the 100m dash as an example. There are qualifying heats, which to qualify you must be in the top N finishers (N varies at different events). Finally you get to the last round, and the top three receive gold, silver and bronze.

    Doesn’t matter if its the Olympics, World Championships, Commonwealth Games, EU or national championships. Its the same. You don’t get to be world champion by competing many times in a year and winning more gold medals. You get to be world champion by being a top athlete capable of competing at and qualifying for the World Championships and then winning the final race.

    In that situation, where you are at a “meet” medals are just fine. Because its for one race – there is no addition of medals, except by folks doing historical analysis (and the BBC at the Olympics saying “look we’re the 3rd best nation”).

    Its utterly meaningless as well, does one win really mean you are a better driver than the guy with 18 silvers? Are you sure? Or could it be the guy with the 18 silvers just hasn’t got a car that can ever win? Its mickey mouse in the extreme.

    Medals are a bad idea for a championship like F1, unless the only medals handed out are at the end of the championship. Which would mean Lewis received gold and received Felipe silver.

    Bad idea. Totally against.

  24. Matt says:

    The current point system rewards ‘consistency’ over ‘balls out’ driving. Consistency is hardly a characteristic that is going to get the adrenalin flowing (either the drivers’ or the viewers’). An upgraded points system would be sufficient in my mind with a few more points for the winner.

    However, i have a wider point to make. The last two blog entries have highlighted a common theme to me – the extent to which the sport has been devalued. F1, like any great sport, is a gladiatorial contest (in F1s case it just tends to be one for short people). I have forgotten where I read it – but someone stated in the aftermath of this year’s world championship that the FIA should be the guardian of the sport’s values. A point well made.

    Instead we have seen a gradual eroding of the contest. The changes in the points system have not helped, neither has the over-regulation of those drivers who have the temerity to overtake. Fuel in qualifying system has left us confused rather than elated at the sight of the likes of Senna on the edge. The re-introduction of refueling has just given us the illusion of overtaking rather than the genuine article.

    All these changes have achieved is to introduce complexity and confusion to the sport. In each case, something good has been tainted to compensate for something else that was bad – mainly the lack of overtaking.

    It sounds like to me that all this debate will lead the sport to head straight back to sometime in the early 1990s. The quicker it happens the better. Then we should stop tinkering.

  25. FacchettiBurnich says:

    Gazzetta dello Sport has just published an intriguing list of “alternative world champions” had we been using Bernie’s medal system all along (actual winners in brackets):

    1958 Stirling Moss (Mike Hawthorn)
    1964 Jim Clark (John Surtees)
    1967 Jim Clark (Denny Hulme)
    1977 Mario Andretti (Niki Lauda)
    1979 Alan Jones (Jody Scheckter)
    1981 Alain Prost (Nelson Piquet)
    1982 Didier Pironi (Keke Rosberg
    1983 Alain Prost (Nelson Piquet)
    1984 Alain Prost (Niki Lauda)
    1986 Nigel Mansell (Alain Prost)
    1987 Nigel Mansell (Nelson Piquet)
    1989 Ayrton Senna (Alain Prost)
    2008 Felipe Massa (Lewis Hamilton)

  26. David Harman says:

    An absolute prerequisite of the medals system would be that the FIA would have to desist totally from their apparent inclination to manipulate the results through a variable interpretation of their own rules. Given the above stipulation Hamilton would have won the 2008 WC under both systems!

  27. Alex M says:

    Dominic J: Saying “The scandal at Belgium 2008 would have been even worse” is ever such a slight understatement … The 2008 WDC would have been stolen from Lewis by the absurdly corrupt “stewards decision” at Spa, so clearly motivated by Moseley’s vendetta against McLaren.

    Bernie and Max are both well past their sell by dates and are trying to outdo each other with grand new ideas to justify their continued existences. Bernie, it must be added, has also resorted to threats, most amusing of which are the revealing, teasing little glimpses of just how far the playing field is tilted towards Ferrari.

    F1 needs rid of these power crazed pensioners, ASAP.

  28. Ian Abrahams says:

    It might well be possible to argue that the proposed system would have previously delivered more worthy champions but should the point system be designed to deliver the most ‘worthy’ winner or should it really be about delivering the most thrilling championship (as in Hamilton’s last gasp victory in 2008)?

    I’m a bit less concerned with the most race wins delivering the champion than with the overall spectacle of the thing and the championship going down to the wire, which is why I think the medal system is totally flawed and misguided.

  29. Mike Doodson says:

    Since James has kindly drawn attention not only to my advancing years but also to my fondness for Nelson Piquet’s driving ability, I will respond by pointing out (again) that the brighter drivers from the sport’s history, among whom I obviously include Piquet, would have adopted different tactics if a medals system had been in place when they were competing.

    As for Darren’s question about Nigel Mansell’s popularity, this was nothing to do with public perception: indeed, “Our Nige” was never anything but a hero with F1 fans in many countries, and for all the right reasons, even if he did have the rare knack of making easy things look difficult.

    However, right from the start Nigel was suspicious about the press, and in particular about perceived criticism, however constructive it may have been. Invited to a pre-season Mansell press conference, I once schlepped all the way down to some garage in Southampton which had recently become part of the Mansell Business Empire.

    Nigel opened the proceedings by telling everyone present (about 150 scratchers and smudgers) that he had forgiven Mike Doodson (that’s me) for all my imagined past crimes against him and that henceforward he would be freely available not only to me but to all the world’s press. By the time the season started, he had forgotten those generous words and it was (no) business as usual.

    It was my feeling that Nigel lacked man-management skills. He fired a string of personal managers for no apparent reason (and was successfully sued) and made himself unpopular on the Isle of Man following a variety of bizarre incidents which unfortunately didn’t make their way into any of the biographies.

    But surely the factor which annoyed the press the most was Nigel’s dithering. In mid-1990 he announced his retirement, then came back. In 1992 he got into a spat with Frank Williams over a new contract (as I recall, Frank was unhappy about the number of hotel rooms to be included in the deal). And then in 1994 he couldn’t decide whether to come back and help Williams at the darkest point in the team’s existence.

    How did I manage to get here from the original discussion about drivers getting medals?

  30. Jon says:

    I think the winner of a race should get 2 or 3 tenths off of his final qualy time in the next race … that way, i think everyone would aim for the win ;)

  31. rpaco says:

    Jon: If you are going to give penalties for winning why not do it as per the BTCC with extra weight to be carried?

    Mike Doodson I think verifies my earlier assertion that if we had medals, the race tactics would be entirely different.
    But as was said elsewhere, Bernie is both clever and devious and may well have thrown the “medals” in as a provocation in order to get the FIA to do something different, like raise the winning points score to 12 as has been pretty well universally approved in these threads. Bernie is aware of the falling audience and his income depends to an extent upon its size, therefore he will do anything to attract publicity to the series. Controversy is a major tool for him to use to get attention in the media. It’s not as if he is new at he game, he knew exactly what he was doing and how the various interested parties would react. His major objective is to get media coverage for free, I reckon he has succeeded!

  32. Emma says:

    I personally don’t think much good will come from dwelling on what would have happened in previous championships if the medal system was implemented.

    At the end of it, quite a lot of F1 fans appear to love some controversy, be it stewards decisions, who won and who they think should have won and so on. For this reason, why change the system (or just revert it back to the old points system), as it doesn’t appear to have effected the ratings (correct me with statistics if anyone has them).

    If anything, keep the system, and give us all of the teams and drivers more like it used to be – or get DC / EJ to drag them out on the BBC – the fans are hungry for more than just racing in my opinion.

  33. Jon says:

    rPaco: If you are going to give penalties for winning why not do it as per the BTCC with extra weight to be carried?

    I think you may have misunderstood me… what i meant is, that the guy who won the race, should get more chances to be on pole for the next race… for example: If Alonso “won” the Australian GP, and at the “next GP weekend” let’s say he made 1:25.621 in Q1, 1:24.342 in Q2 and 1:26.712 in Q3… at every session Alonso would be given 2 tenths off of his best times, which translates into: Q1 1:25.421, Q2 1:24.142 and Q3 1:26.512…. that way it will be easier for him to get Pole Position and the other drivers will want to try winning the races so that they can get this advantage…

    Hopefully it gets understood better.. ;)

  34. rpaco says:

    Jon
    Ah yes I see now. I disagree.

  35. Michael R. Tomkins says:

    I read the FIA press release with interest, but I have to say it simply doesn’t tell the full story. If the medal system had been in place, teams could (and probably would) have acted differently on many, many occasions throughout the years. The fact is, they were aiming to do their best with the points system that *was* in place, not a future hypothetical medals system. We can speculate about what might have happened, and we can recalculate everything presuming that it would have happened – but pure and simple, we don’t know with certainty what the differences would have been with the medal system in place.

    As you say though, a two-tiered system of medals for the podium and points for the rest is messy and confused.

    The real answer is simple – and it doesn’t involve medals. The points difference between a win and second place needs to be larger, as was formerly the case before interfering minds decided to try and artificially disturb the natural order during the Schumacher era. It’s simply daft that the difference between a win and second is considered no more significant by the points scheme than that between second and third places.

    In my mind, the ideal system would be to retain points down to 8th place, but resurrect the 4-point advantage for a win.

    12 points for a win, 8 for second, 6 for third, and then 5 / 4 / 3 / 2 / 1 points for the remainder makes perfect sense, and is a system I’d wholeheartedly support. The medals system is a nightmare I most definitely don’t want to see happen – and I say that as a Ferrari fan who may have seen his team take both championships last year under the medals scheme.

  36. Ridwan says:

    I think the medal system would paint a more correct and truer picture of what is happening during the Championship season.

    The most person who win the most Gold medals should win the Championship and should also win the Constructors. Why not just count how many Gold, Silver and Bronze medals that a person and Constructor wins during the whole Championship and you get the winner.

    For eg. if Ferrari won 6 Gold Medals, 2 Silver and McLaren won 6 Gold Medals, 1 silver, then the winner is Ferrari. Then we just continue down the line.

    I don’t see issues on that. It’s pretty straight forward and everybody gets to be ranked without using 2nd tier points and other stuff.

  37. speedmerchants says:

    JA writes: The medals system doesn’t have many supporters here, but then the people F1 is keen to get into a dialogue with at the moment are the ‘undecideds’ – the people who have some interest in F1, but don’t watch it very much, particularly the 18-24s.

    Raz and Michael Tomkins both advocate restoring a four point gap for the winner, which certainly makes a win more desirable, but we lived through years of that system and can we honestly say that we saw many more lunges for the lead as a result? I don’t remember many. The drivers still played the percentage game. The fact that it’s a win itself, which counts towards the title race, not the points gap, is what lies behind Bernie’s suggestion. It’s all or nothing.

  38. Balint says:

    Static thinking! The whole idea is truly not about past and simply cannot be simulated with past results. If medals system would have been in place, it had had changed strategies! E.g. Hamilton/Ron Dennis would have been more desperate to get a better position in Singapore!

    I think the whole idea is rather about future….if wins are of greater importance, overtaking for the lead becomes much more valuable…as easy as that…also there should be situations where it works against overtaking, so it needs definitely some research!

  39. Jamie says:

    James, would you think though perhaps going back to the system where you could drop your 2 or 3 worst results. It would take away some of the bad luck factor and also allow a driver to take a chance as if it all goes wrong they can drop that race.

    The medals system takes away the consistency factor, and it would also surely mean the days of inter team battles would have to be over early in the season as say for exampel Ferrari couldn’t afford Massa and Raikkonen to split their wins 4 to 4. Wins are pure gold under this system so team orders would have to come into play early on in the season.

  40. Al27 says:

    This has all come about because Hamilton drove for 3rd in Singapore and 5th in Brazil. Ironically, the driver who’s most likely to go balls out for a win is the cause of this crazy scheme.

    I also seem to recall that that drive for ‘only’ 5th place was one of the most exciting drives of recent years.

    We also know that different tracks and varying conditions suit different cars. Most of the time, when the driver isn’t going for a win it’s because his car simply isn’t capable of it. Driving flat out and only getting 3rd doesn’t mean the driver was settling for third.

    Is Bernie seriously suggesting that the knackered 2nd and 3rd place drivers in Malaysia were trundling round, not wanting the win?

  41. Jeff Pappone says:

    James, if drivers didn’t use strategy prior to 1993, how exactly did Alain Prost earn his “professor” nickname? ;-)

    Seriously, we have had a similar debate in Canada over [ice not field] hockey as the National Hockey League tried to change the sport to appeal to “new audiences.” The trouble is, in changing the sport to suit people who didn’t watch, the league alienated the ones who did.

    Not the smartest marketing strategy if you ask me: Peeve off all the people who pay the bills to please the people who’d rather be out rock climbing during the British Grand Prix.

    While I know hell has not yet frozen over, Bernie would be wise to listen to the grassroots on this one. I’d even suggest going back to only the top-6 get points. If Bernie wants a win to be worth more, stop giving an eighth place finisher a point.

    But then again, what do I know? It’s not like Canada has a Grand Prix anyway…

  42. Raz says:

    James, taking into account of what you said.. i clearly remember the Battle royal between Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen – Imola 2000.. till the last corner of the last lap Mika was chasing him down and all over the gear box of the Ferrari, now had that had happened last season it would have been Michael scampering off and Mika would have just settle for 2nd, its only in the tight championship battles where we’ve noticed that.. Also Japan of the same year.. even though Michael passed Mika in the pits, Hakkinen chased him right till the last chicane..

    Last year we saw Valencia and Singapore.. and being the ‘ballsy’ driver Lewis is said to be, he didn’t do anything.. now had it been JPM .. well, we all know he can fight, both on and off the track (remember Imola 2003 with the German camera man – Bloody hilarious!!!)

  43. Flukielukas says:

    Following up on Jamie’s point, I think the best 11 or 12 results counting system has some merit. Although dropped in the 1990s for it’s apparent complexity, it does seem to provide a good blend of demanding consistency and ultimate winning ability.

    Last year a 9-6-4-3-2-1 best-12-scores-count system would have changed the top of the table as such:
    Hamilton 73 (75), Massa 77

    Without taking away anything from Hamilton, who deserved his title on merit, many may feel that a points system such as a best X results one would have partly spared Massa the undeserved penalty of his Hungarian Grand Prix engine failure and his team’s pitstop cock-up in Singapore.

    I certainly believe that Senna was rightfully crowned champion in 1988 despite scoring less points.

    I can accept it may be too complex a system, however, if nothing else then Bernie’s Medals system sounds like a winner to me!

  44. john g says:

    The point that a few people seem to have missed is that F1 is not a ‘balls-out’ race, I’m not sure it ever was, and i don’t think it ever will be. by it’s nature it has to be a percentage game. if you’re on the edge every corner of every lap you won’t be on the track at the end of the hour and a half.

    the ‘all or nothing’ attitude mentioned is totally at odds with the fact that now engines have to last 3 to 4 races, gearboxes are 4 races, tyres are made under instruction by the FIA not to perform to their best but to provide a performance compromise. If Bernie wants drivers to go flat out then the rules need to allow them to do so. a few poxy medals (that Bernie has suggested the drivers want, none of the drivers came up with this idea or are vocal in support) isn’t going to change anything.

    it will add a very confused scoring system though. what is the need for drivers points if you have medals? they won’t count for anything – what good is 4 points going to be? it renders the race from 4th to last irrelevant – if you’re not in with a shout then you might as well quit. the manufacturers may collect points i guess as normal to decide the constructors championship, but if it works for them, why not the drivers?

    as has been said many times, there is a simple solution, and a ridiculous solution. we’ll see which way F1 goes. suffice it to say that with two confused bickering old men in charge (i’ll refrain from stooping to Bernie’s level and labelling anyone senile) it’s unfortunately not a foregone conclusion.

  45. Actually, James, the analysis is flawed because all the drivers knew the rules they were driving under so Bernie’s argument is flawed. And the reason Lewis Hamilton is disliked is not because he’s had a short cut. It is because journalists like you can’t stop raving about him like a God. People like you spoil it for the real Hamilton fans like us as its sickening to hear when you fail to acknowledge when Lewis Hamilton makes mistakes or gets things wrong or just have plain biased opinions when it comes to Lewis. Sure he probably isn’t a nice guy but i respect his focus, talent and achievements, I don’t even get what likeability has to do with it anyway. I think its a shame I think your blog is one of the best if not the best on F1 out there.

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