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Irvine world champion under FOTA points plan
Irvine world champion under FOTA points plan
Posted By:   |  07 Mar 2009   |  3:09 pm GMT  |  6 comments

Here we go again. Another round of ‘what ifs’, this time based on the proposal put forward by FOTA for revising the points system this season. They suggest that the winner should be receive greater reward (12 points) and that the podium finishers should gain more relative to the rest.

So the mathematicians have been working out what different championship outcomes we might havd had in the past if this system had been in place.

The biggest difference is that Eddie Irvine would have won the title in 1999 and Damon Hill would be a double champion, with victory in 1994 as well as 1996.

Felipe Massa would be the defending champion this season.

The feedback so far seems to have been reasonably positive. I think there is a general feeling that the driver who wins the most races should be the champion and most fans seem to welcome a plan which rewards going for the win.

The FIA will vote on this proposal on March 17th at its world council, which promises to be quite an event, with all the stuff FOTA put forward this week up for approval as well as whatever Max Mosley has up his sleeve.

There are some suggestions that budget caps are still being put forward within FIA circles as a possibility and these may well be up for a vote on the 17th too.

Many F1 teams, including Ferrari, do not like the idea of budget caps.

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I often felt that it’s the number of point-scoring places rather than the distribution of points is disappointing. Most of the years this century two teams have taken the big points and run away, that is why last year was so interesting with BMW the third team up there – and they were strong on consistency and reliability, which is a good feat for a car manufacter like they are. But then the rest 7 teams were fighting for last 3 points which was not that interesting because their fights were not rewarded with any points. OK it was not like that because of reliability mistakes and all, but at the end of the year the midfield teams were ranked by who had the most lucky races. Williams earned 9 points in Melbourne and then did hardly get any for half a year, yet they were leading teams consistently finishing around 10th place…

The A1GP scoring system of 15-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 both gives greater advantage to the winner by virtue of bigger points haul, and reward more drivers who finish the race. Plus 1 point for the fastest lap is an additional intrigue for someone fast but unlucky, which will happen often with these wide wings!


I am more than aware that in 1989 and 1987 (among other years) the fastest driver/driver with the most wins didn’t win the title, was just really pointing out you have to go back 20 years to find examples. The vastly improved reliability of the cars is one of the main reasons that this is the case I believe.

I’m just not sure that this is the big problem it is perceived to be – as I pointed out, there have been numerous cases of late-race battles under the existing system where a driver has still gone for the win in the closing laps rather than banked the points.

I think what is being forgotten in all this is that drivers typically settle for position in the final stint, because usually by this stage (given a dry race) the leader has enough in hand – if they’ve built up that sort of lead why is the guy in second suddenly going to find some performance reserves and close in? It just won’t happen, unless it rains, and when we have seen late-race rain it hasn’t stopped drivers from going for the win.

The reason races are often dead by the last stint in my opinion is because of the sprint-stop-sprint format and relatively short length of races. For that reason the car balance and track conditions do not typically change significantly during a stint/race, and therefore it is quite rare to see cars with variable pace during a (dry) race. Consequently you often see very linear races.

Banning refuelling is a brilliant idea because the cars will have to carry significantly more fuel and therefore setup will be a greater compromise, since the car will lose 25% of its weight during the course of the race. With more compromised set-ups its far more likely that different cars will be quick during each phase of the race, which might mean we get scenarios where the guy in second is closing on the leader in the last 10-15 laps as his car is more suited to a low fuel load/he’s looked after his tyres better. I’m sure in such scenarios the drivers will still go for the win.


I can’t see this new proposed system making that much of a difference.

Is only 1 more point for a win really going to make drivers go for a victory more? I doubt it to be honest.

I think 4 or 5 points between 1st and 2nd might make more of a difference.

So say something like


So the win becomes far more valuable but you still get a decent haul for points for 2nd and 3rd rather than nothing at all under Bernie’s proposed medal system.

The medal system would have been too radical and going too far in my opinion but I think this idea would work.


Jonathan, I think there have been some more cases where championships have been won by a driver with less wins. Last year is the one spoken about, but Senna scored 6 wins to Prost’s 4 in 1989 (even having lost certain wins in Canada, Italy, and other possible ones), and Mansell scored twice as many wins (6 to 3) in 1987 over Piquet but lost by 12 points.

You could still argue that those champions who scored more points deserved it, but in my opinion and I’m sure the opinion of many others Mansell and Senna were the rightful champions of 1987 and 1989.

I’m disappointed with 12-9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, it really doesn’t change anything over 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1, just one more point for a win. Medals sounded great to me, and I’m disappointed it wasn’t brought in.


Eddie Irvine would also have been world champion under the existing 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system, with 94 points to Hakkinen’s 88…all the recalculations though are utterly pointless as they were not the systems the drivers raced to.

I can’t understand though why there suddenly has been such fuss about how the driver with the most wins should win the championship – after all for all bar 1 of the last 20 years it has happened anyway under assorted points systems. I do agree with the concept that there should be more value given to a win, but don’t think it’ll make a great deal of difference on the track.

After all the relatively small difference between 1st and 2nd didn’t stop Alonso going for it against Massa at the Nurburgring in 2007 nor Hamilton against Kimi at Spa in 2008. I really doubt we will see a different approach if they change the system.

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