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Drivers react to champion points plan
Drivers react to champion points plan
Posted By:   |  18 Mar 2009   |  12:34 pm GMT  |  46 comments

Some fun responses from the drivers in the paddock at Jerez, where Brawn and Renault signed off their testing yesterday, responding to the news that the FIA has changed the system now rewarding the driver with the most wins as world champion.

Nico Rosberg said, “What nonsense is this?”, Jenson Button, who could well end up benefitting from it said, “I understand the logic behind it and it’s interesting. It’s an incentive to try to win but it also looks risky to me. After 9 races you could get a driver who’s already won the title and can take the rest of the season off, while the driver in second is only 18 points behind!”

Lewis Hamilton said a curt, “I have no opinion on this.”

Meanwhile a delighted Bernie Ecclestone has tipped Button to be a factor under the new rules: “I suppose an awful lot will depend on these [new] regulations, but if Brawn has got it right, then there is a chance that for the first three races we could maybe see Jenson winning.

“Now that it is not points that decides the championship, if he has three races in his pocket then it is not bad – although I suppose in the end you have to look at the old timers like [Fernando] Alonso, Kimi [Raikkonen], Felipe [Massa] and Mr [Lewis] Hamilton.”

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Nice to see that the Williams and Brawn drivers have the freedom (and brain power) to speak their own minds.


Button is an EXCEPTIONAL driver, I always believed in that.

He will at least pull something off this season, be it regular wins or podiums.

Nobody cared that his career was close to being over, and I am sure many will realize this season that it would have been a great loss to F1.

PS: James: You are the best, I'm really sad I won't get to hear your commentary during F1 races.


The FIA really do seem to have chosen a system designed to cause the maximum amount of confusion possible to the casual fan. Surely the aim should be that someone tuning in to a Grand Prix for the first time would be able to follow fairly easily who needs to get what for the championship - I think what's more likely is that there'll be a huge degree of late season puzzlement if it's in any way close.

I completely fail to understand as well how on earth they can push through such a radical change on a seeming whim 10 days before the season starts.

I think it's also fascinating that of the four "old hands" Bernie talks about - notice to he refers to by first name as opposed to surname. Whilst it may mean nothing - it could also speak volumes about what's going on in his subconscious.


It's all coming together for Button! Finally it seems to be all going his way, after all the ups and downs and heartbreak. Lets hope they get some sponsors on that car and improve the livery design. I would prefer to see the car in black with the yellow and white lines integrated tastefully. Go Jens!


This is a straight talking from Nico and a fair comment from Jenson considering that the new rules would probably favour him. FOTA's point system was far better solution. Because of the lots of nonsense fans will be leaving F1 soon.


It is such a thoroughly stupid & ill thought out idea, it surely can only hasten the departure of Max & Bernie, once great men, now well past their prime.

Think the scenarios through, it plays to cheating and gamesmanship, not great F1 racing, we the fans are being robbed of our sport by two increasingly senile old men.

Now, to add to this stupidity, Max's kangaroo court the FIA have announced that the Brawn diffuser is legal, but Bernie says it is up to the Melbourne stewards !

The right hand might know what the left hand is doing, but they are fighting, using our sport for their vendettas, not to mention filling their pockets with it's billions, the real thing that needs adressing is the "Stewards" that made so many crass, biased decisions they almost succeeded in ruining the 2008 season.


Firstly, huge compliments to your website. I have only recently stumbled upon it, and find your insight to be very acute and refreshingly different to all the other available coverage that is out there covering this wonderful sport.

Perhaps I speak for a minority but I am very dismayed by the FIA's ill timed announcement of both the new driver's points system and the proposal for the two-tier Formula.

Firstly, who is the puppet boffin who is supposedly questioning Max in his 'Q&A'? Or is this simply Max role playing (again)?

Secondly, I can understand some of the arguments for the 'winner takes all' formula, but this seems to be a dumbing down of the current (and relatively successful) system we already have in place. Think back to the 1995 GP between Hill and Schumacher, the thread of wonderful suspense wasn't from overtaking rather it was due to the depth of analysis encouraged by the system in place. This was again evident in Brazil 08, with the wonderful 'what if's' that preceded the race. This level of inter-play is what professional sports now offer to its technology savy fans - and in turn what they have come to expect. Once again the FIA seem to have meddled with something that wasn't broken in the first place. It will only take a team's domination of a world championship for another heavy handed approach.

I won't even comment on the two-tier formula proposal, other than to say that this once again will increase the FIA meddling from year-to-year (at best, or worst still during the season) to artificially control gaps of cars. Unwarranted, unnecessary and also destroying the essence of sport. Or is this what the power brokers had in mind for "their" empires rather than relinquish control?


Its great that it puts emphasis on wins but at the same time it might push for more gung-ho tactics. As mentioned if a driver does get more wins well before the season ends it could seriously dampen racing as it should be.

On the other hand i love how everyone seems to be riding the Button wagon and how he could possibly take the title.
Between him and Rubino who is the more successful driver ?? While Button has shown his talent on occasion he isn't very consistent even though he had a below standard car all these years.

As the season starts they need to put the hammer down to get results no matter what and after the mid season decide who is supporting who.

All in all its another season of questions and what if's and potential for some good exciting racing seeing there is no clear cut top 2 teams as in previous years. Potential for top 4 or 5 teams to shake it up.

lets see what the season brings ....


Renault are the first team to confirm that they will definitely be running KERS in Australia according to Autosport! Assuming that the Brawn car proves to be fastest in qualifying there, (as the general feeling seems to be that it’s currently the fastest car). It’s going to make for a really exciting start, how will Button & Barrichello be able to fend off the likes of Alonso and any of the other cars who have KERS at the start? And then once any KERS cars get in front of Button & Barrichello, they will have to fight to keep them behind, but they will have the KERS at their disposal to prevent the Brawn’s from getting a run on them into any braking zones!

Just thinking about it, assuming the reading of the cars relative pace is correct, Brawn fastest, followed by Ferrari, Toyota, BMW and Renault. The Australian GP could turn out to be a really fascinating tactical battle, but if anyone’s good at race strategy and tactics it’s Ross Brawn! Bring on Australia!


Typical Lewis response. Undoubtedly under instructions from McLaren not to say anything that might get them in trouble.

Nice to see Rosberg doesn't like them..


I can't believe that they are using the obvious flaw in the new 'points' system to construct an argument for it.

Wasn't the reason why they went to 10-8-6... to ensure that championships went down to the wire to maximise the TV revenue? I predict an about turn on this system for 2010. Question is, why can't they realise this sooner rather than later?


Do you not think that this rule change will perhaps see the teams favour speed over reliability? As you mentioned, Brawn could benefit by being strong at the start of the year, while weaker in the second half as other teams catch up.. surely a true world champion should be strong throughout the year rather than going for gold on a few choice occasions...


Im off to the bookies to put my money on Button for the championship!

This year is going to be fantastic!

Not only do we now have the prospect of a second British driver being at the top end of the grid and championship (well if Mclaren sorts itself out anyway) but for me is like having Jordan back on the grid too. Everyone loves the underdog, remember all those yellow Jordan flags at silverstone! Now its Button in a Brawn showing true British grit and determination, its like Aston Martin being back at Le Mans this year too! Everyone loves a fairytale and this could go down as a classic year for us Brits! We just need Mansell and Hill in the story somehow!

Countdown to Oz has begun! Thanks for the great insight James! Keep the news coming!

Tell Brawn they could have a merchandise coup on the hands intime for Silverstone!


FIA just released an" rel="nofollow">updated technical regulations for 2009. Does this anyway effect Brawn/Toyota/Williams diffusers?


I'm still amused by visions of Kimi, with 8 straight wins in his pocket wishing the team luck for the rest of season and he'll see them when he turns up sometime to collect his trophy!

I suppose that the new system could reduce costs. If the season is over half way though then no-one needs to bother with the rest of the year and the F1 teams could save a fortune!!

I know these scenarios won't happen but I'm sure people will be uncomfortable with the fact that, potentially, a race three quarters through the season could decided the drivers championship and not come down to a last lap shuffle in Brazil!


I like the quotes you have from the drivers. They represent the three extremes of driver dialogue.

- Nico says "What nonsense is this?" like a normal person, confused and frustrated. He may as well be a poster on a forum. Good for him.

- Lewis says "I have no opinion on this" meaning "I don't want to upset my sponsors with an inflammatory remark, so I won't share my opinion". This is akin to that old chestnut "The drivers will adapt to whatever system is used and because it's not for us to decide, we don't care". Typical personality-less F1 driver (speaking as a fan of McM).

- Jenson strikes a balance between the two. "'s interesting". More common, somewhat insightful, but still irritating.


Of all the blogs in all the sites, I would say that 90% of posts are against the "Wins" system.

Surely 90% of the fan base cannot be wrong? Clearly apparent that the drivers aren't in favour either.

So it's just Bernie and Max then? Wonder is it a early April fools joke?

Christian Hepworth

I would love to know what the teams/drivers really think behind closed doors. I for one think the new rules are a shame. Extra points for the winner would reward winning more, this has the potential to make things worse.

One thing i'd love for you to write an article on is the whole diffuser legality reports that have been cropping up. I'm hearing in a few places that the Brawn diffuser has been declared illegal, or that the new technical regs published yesterday make other parts of their car illegal too. Is this the case for others or just Brawn, or are they just rumours with no truth behind them...

I'd be interested to know...


so it's obvious then. you have 8 engines to use over the season. turn your first 8 engines up as much as you can and trash them over one qualy / race weekend. 8 wins, then it doesn't matter about the rest of the season, just keep taking the 10 place grid hit or crash into your rivals.

is this definitely confirmed? how can the FIA ram through a proposal that's in direct opposition to the FOTA proposal, and what does this mean for the future of dialogue between the two sides - is this an attempt to dissuade FOTA from coming up with reasonable discussions, knowing that the other side is an immature as a spoilt kid, and twice as likely to throw their toys out the pram if they don't get their own way?


What's the difference between this system and increasing the points awarded for first place?

The latter would at least manifest itself with a champion who has outscored his rivals, motivated (by points) to win and yet rewarded for consistency, intelligence(!) and racecraft over an entire season.

And! What about the merits of comeback drives through the field which fall short of victory, but demonstrate true-champion talent? These kind of drives have made the difference in the past, and are no less worthy of deciding a champion.

I like the many shades of grey which build the season. I don't want the 'dumbed down' black and white version. Whilst I can see the point, I do think the show will suffer.

Hope I'm wrong.


The danger of the "winner takes all" proposal is that during a season with numerous winners, the "world champion " could in fact of had a very poor season overall in comparison to the "points winner" who although won one race fewer, in fact had showed more speed over the whole year.


Bernie Ecclestone is RUINING F1! I can't stand the man now.


Lewis can't win no matter what his answer. He speaks his mind and the press twists it around to make sensational headlines and Lewis gets a slap on the wrist or he gives no comment and he's a faceless, etc, etc. As for this system, I'm sure most think it is total rubbish expect probably for Ferrari.


Lewis certainly can't win, if he says's something the press and his haters will have something to say. He says nothing and the press and haters still have something to say. He's right to keep tight lipped. If that makes him a hate figure then so be it. It won't stop him from winning or topping up his bank balance.


I cannot believe that Moseley and his FIA can be so blatant! It became clear at Spa that they would stop at nothing (including retrospective rule changes) to try to arrange for the "right" driver/team to win the WDC.

Not withstanding any problems McLaren may have I don't expect them or Lewis to have a prayer of getting a championship in 2009. [This comment has been moderated ]


how can lewis have no opinion on something that has such a massive impact to the '09 championship!? i'm with nico all the way, both on his view and willingness to speak out - totally bored of the faceless corporate nature of F1 drivers these days.

another thing i read, was that fuel loads are going to be announced after qualifying. why? i don't get it, what does this bring to the viewer? before we didn't know about the strategy and it gave something to keep an eye on during the race. now, there will be no strategy games, and also if a driver knows that someone is fuelled one lap shorter than him, he will cruise around behind not bothering to challenge to overtake, wait till he pits, and blast a lap to leapfrog via his pitstop, exactly what we wanted less of i thought. another crap idea, bought to you by bernie and max.


Good to see drivers speaking their minds.

Except Lewis...

Still can't believe the fact that the season could be over after 8 races, although a more likely probability is that it would be over after 12/13 races.

Still sad though.

And i was looking forward to 9 days time.

Now I'm looking forward to 25.


Fota proposal was covering both aspects (encouraging the driver for wins, AND at the same time not to have a championship decided earlier!!)

Is it possible to FOTA to set up their own championship ?


I think Bernie has just got himself several million pounds worth of publicity.

Also he has saved himself some dosh towards his post divorce income, remembering that a large chunk of his assets are in his wife's name. 🙂

Max has shown his subordinates that he is tough and they had better not side with anyone who says he should step down from his presidential podium.

Thus the pensionable duo's politico/business aims are to be satisfied at whatever cost to the fans, the teams and the sponsors.

Hopefully this is a last ditch effort before the pair quit the business, (it is clearly not a sport in their eyes) and take of into the sunset with a huge bag of cash and a team of variously skilled girls, never to darken our sport again.


Gosh! It's set for the 2009 season. All the comments we made won't make a difference. We're just fans, what do we know about F1. I do wonder at times, will all of us be brave enough to boycott this season and not be at any race, then maybe we'll have a voice. Else we'll be writing and commenting for what cause. We pay, we watch, we feel, we criticise and we don't get respect for our valid opinions.

This was what my favourite driver, Alonso said: "I think those types of decisions can only confuse fans. Formula One has developed for more than 50 years thanks to the teams, sponsors, drivers and, above all, the fans throughout the world - none of them have been able to put their points of view to the FIA."


“What nonsense is this?” straight from the heart. Nico will be a world champion one day.


Why is Lewis referred to as an 'old timer' after just two seasons in F1? Why is he referred to as 'Mr Hamilton' instead of his first name like the others??
Why has this rule change taken place... to degrade his achivement last year maybe?

It is clear to me that the FIA is a dictatorship run by a man whose own father subscribed to worst dictator in modern history! It is also clear that the FIA and sport of F1 in general is racist and that Lewis Hamilton is constantly under attack.

They hate the fact Lewis won last year, they did everything they could to stop him winning including the worst decision I have ever seen at Spa... had that not been done then the Brazilian GP result would not have mattered.... I am glad fate came into play on the last corner giving the FIA no time to react and stop things!

How would Felipe (FIA Norminate) have been a worthy champion... remember him spinning constantly at Silverstone??

This rule change is all about power and control, the FIA have ruined F1.. more and more as time progresses.

Now they can get their idiot stewards to find fault and issue 10 seconds penatlies or worse to change the GP winner as they want and thus decide who is Champion themselves!

I have watched it my whole life but im getting close to switching off now, I hope that Mclaren have been calling everyone's bluff and that Button & Lewis will be in a championship fight! Good luck to them both.

Before you all ask, I'm a white 31 year old male who lived in Kent! I'm speaking as I see... much like Nico Rosberg.


lewis has added his voice now to those other drivers that think the win system is bad for the sport. he says that consistency and collecting the 2nds and 3rds over the season should be just as important as getting the wins.

so it's schumacher, hamilton, alonso, trulli, rosberg, heidfeld, webber all in vocal opposition (so far)

it's just wrong - as the drivers have said, there is now no consistency, there is no balance between winning and not. the points are all that are needed to differentiate between 1st and 2nd. an unreasonable knee-jerk reaction by a bitter man who wanted massa to win the championship and was annoyed at lewis winning the WDC by finishing 5th in the last race. how will this help? lewis could win 5 races early on and not even bother in the last couple, this solves nothing but creates the stupid situation where the person with the most points won't necessarily be rewarded with the WDC, a title that should go to the best driver over the season, not just over a few select races.

if bernie really wanted to reward the winner so much then why not maintain a consistent reward system, 20 points for first, 10 for second. it would have the same effect without 2-tiered scoring.

we will see an increase in team orders, we may even see less racing for the top spot if for example it's a ferrari 1-2 but the driver with 2 wins is in front and the driver with no wins is following and faster - will he be allowed to challenge?


Nay sayers of Hamilton," rel="nofollow">he has made his opinion clear.

I guess now you'll criticise him for being too critical or something though. The guy can't win either way.


Just been reading elsewhere that the rule changes need the agreement of all teams if they are to be implemented this close to the start of a championship. Fat chance of that!

Strange that a lawyer like Max should have missed this?


Neil, here here, I agree with every word of your post. I have been an F1 fan since the early 90s. As a teenage girl I followed this sport and loved every minute of it. But you know what I have never seen anything like this. Lewis Hamilton could not move with penalties, stripping of a win and now trying to down grade his achievements. There is something deeply wrong about all this. I admire Lewis, because if it was me I would have given up ages ago. I Wonder, is that what they want?


The way James described it, it sounds to me like he either dislikes the new system or he dislikes being asked about it. He's wise enough to focus on things that he has under his control.

Regarding respect from the public I think he realizes that this is not a popularity contest and there will always be people that dislike him just the same as they disliked Schumacher. The only people that he has to get on well with are the team. As ever in F1 the best way for a driver to speak is with results.


Well if he did say something, the same haters will be saying how arrogant and too outspoken he is, and it'll probably give the FIA the perfect excuse to ban him and McLaren for at least 1/2 the season. With these people whatever Lewis and McLaren do is always wrong.


I don't recall many either, I believe it was his actions:

Canada 08, when he missed the red light, His move to the Swiss region for "Peace from the media" or proberbly for Tax cuts.

Some words I do recall from Lewis after Monaco 07 where he couldn't overtake Alonso: "It says Number two on my car, (Therefore) I am the Number two driver." (He sounded somewhat angry when he said this, and when lewis gets angry, his accent has a slight Jamacian Twang.) Seems like awfully distant words now...

I still don't understand why Lewis didn't make any noises about the system.(It would have taken away his WDC and doesn't look to favour him at the moment either...) I guess he has "Matured" as Mclaren say. (Or perhaps to put more correctly, Slienced.)


I'm not sure if you are joking or not, or maybe you have not been around F1 for the last two years. If it's the latter, I suggest you do some research around " Lewis and the media" and I'm sure you will be able to provide yourself with the answer.


Well, Nico might not understand it all, and that may have just been his intial reaction, being an Independent this must feel like the front is getting further away. (Unless William's Hybrid Flywheel KERS arrives in time to make an effect.)

Jenson's car however, is quick, but JB is simply relieved to be participating. He isn't quite sure where he stands, so says that it's interesting, and notes a scenario that could happen.

Lewis is getting dull. After a stunning Debut Season, Mclaren has decided "Oh, anything Lewis says will spark a reaction from the Media that will upset Lewis, and we don't want anyone to think Lewis has any personality, do we?" It's just realy sad to see Lewis, a great driver and a World Champion, Just have his personality decay. The Public Opinion of any casual fan who peeks at the News now and again, is "He's a dull, Boring, driving machine, who has been nutured to be "The perfect driver" from the moment he met a certain Ron Dennis." It's little wonder that Lewis, Controlled by his team to not say anything he actualy thinks, in a sport that uses millions approximately every 2 weeks, Stands little chance of ever winning British sports personality of the year.


You can pin the fuel strategy thing on FOTA actually, typical they FIA decide to adopt probably the second worst recommendation (after shortening races).


Folks: So far we have been fairly liberal with our editorial policy, but we may have to draw the line when accusations are levelled at the integrity of the sport. I think it should be possible to express our disapproval of a policy without casting aspersions on the character and integrity of the administrators of Formula 1. -- The Moderator


I can't think of anything Lewis has said to spark a press frenzy, can you enlighten me?


It's exactly this attitude which makes Lewis such a hate-figure, I wish he'd speak his mind a bit more to the press as it's the best way to get respect from the public.

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