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F1 goes for big shake up in points system
F1 goes for big shake up in points system
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Dec 2009   |  11:22 pm GMT  |  184 comments

Formula 1 is set to introduce a major change to its points system to reflect the fact that the grid has expanded from 10 to 13 teams.

A proposal was agreed by the members of the F1 commission, which met today for the first time in five years and, if approved by the FIA World Council tomorrow in Monaco, it will mean that a race winner will score 25 points, with 20 for second place, 15 for third, 10 for fourth, then 8-6-5-3-2-1 down to 10th position.

This was approved because it was felt that it was important that the points should be shared around a bit more. It offers the new teams a chance to score at least a point. For many years a point has been a dream for backmarker teams.

Members of the F1 commission looked at research which showed that this system would not have affected the outcome of the championship had it been in place over recent years. It would however have crowned the champion a little earlier.

Last winter Bernie Ecclestone proposed a medal system to reward drivers for taking risks and chasing the win. This move is more about sharing the benefits in hard times.

Many ideas were discussed for improving the show, including items mentioned here earlier this week like making two pits stops mandatory. Nothing significant has been agreed, apparently which could go forward to the World Council for approval. But the Sporting Working Group has been tasked with coming up with some measures for implementation as soon as next year if agreement can be reached. Meanwhile the FIA and FOM are to “collaborate to enhance the communication and promotion of the championship to the media and its worldwide fanbase.”

We may get some idea of what that entails in the statement after tomorrow’s World Council. Apparently Jean Todt took a low key position in his first F1 commission meeting as FIA president.

Meanwhile McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh was elected president of FOTA, with Christian Horner taking on Whitmarsh’s responsibilities as head of the sporting working group and Ross Brawn retaining his position as head of the technical group.

Teams have agreed to go ahead with the single car launch at Valencia on 29/30 January. And Virgin has announced that it will launch its F1 programme to the world (but not the car, obviously) on December 15th in London.

* What do you think about the proposed 25 points for a win system? Leave your comments below.

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Another possibility would be giving the same points for a range of positions. This again would have achieved the objective the FIA were after. For instance using 10-8-6-4-3-2-2-1-1-1.

So places 6th and 7th get 2 points each, and places 8th to 10th get 1 point each. Much simpler to keep track of the points situation than this new motoGP style cumbersome rubbish.

Okay, FIA, please send me my 100,000 pounds now, as you are clearly hiring drongos instead of smart people like me.


Interesting. Drivers scoring lower points will probably no longer be noticed, but the new points system will increase the significance of being on the podium. Which is in effect what Mr Ecclestone wanted with the medals system.


Well, my understanding of the medals system was that it would be like the olympics. In that, 2 gold medals are better than 1 gold medal and 9 silver medals. Therefore this new points system is a long way away from that. To create a points system which was akin to Bernie’s gold medal system would be 400 points for a win, 20 points for second place, and 1 point for third.

My system of 10-8-6-4-3-2.5-2-1.5-1-0.5 would have been the best one to achieve the objectives required. FIA send me an email and I can begin work tomorrow – and don’t forget my 250,000 pound package.


Hi James,

Fantastic Blog. Keep up the good work, great to hear your thoughts on the ins and outs of the motorsport world.

In regards to the points – I think having 25 points for a victory just adds unnecessary complexity. I follow MotoGP too, and that point system is so cumbersome compared to F1.

The same objectives could have been achieved simply by using half points, as such:


Dealing in half points is easier than 25 points per victory, because we are all used to 10 points for the win, and can easily work out how quickly someone can close in or pull away from another.

As you can see my point system is almost identical to the FIA one except I have divided most of the numbers by 2.5 to recalibrate them to 10 points for the victory.


“Members of the F1 commission looked at research which showed that this system would not have affected the outcome of the championship had it been in place over recent years. IT WOULD HOWEVER HAVE CROWNED THE CHAMPION A LITTLE EARLIER”

So if they saw that would happen, and the first half of 2009 was dominated by the Brawn car, Button may well have been crowned earlier, and who knows about 2010, perhaps Mclaren will be at the top for the first half and Ham/But will win the WDC early.

If you saw that it was a possibility wouldn’t you have found another system?? perhaps points going further down the order but with less of a gap between finishing positions?


In reality fiddling about with the points system is going to do diddly-squat to the actual racing. I think that the refuelling ban is a good thing. Races should not now be 3 sprints so that will help the racing.The balance of the car will now change considerably through the race. Brakes will be an issue etc.

Only real way to improve racing is to change the cars ie less aero, more mechanical grip. Decent mirrors (why cant they use a camera system?)and stronger sanctions against drivers turning in on overtakers come what may. And while they are at it get rid of blue flags. If a slower car is in the way then overtake it properly and not have him just leap out of the way for a flag. And sort the tyres to stop the nonsense of a car-width line developing.

T’was ever thus.



as an aside, to pick up on something other than the points in your article – discussing a mandatory 2 pitstops in order to improve the show? surely this would be a disaster. following the bad move of no fuel stops, the only chance of shaking anything up on track is for the option of some drivers going longer on harder tyres whilst others stop more often for softer rubber. mandatory 2 stops means as well as no pitstops for fuel, everyone will have exactly the same pitstop strategy so there will be zero overtaking.


At least, in my opinion it´s better than the previous system and better than the one proposed by Mosley last year.

I would go for a bigger difference between 1st and 2nd at least six points but it´s ok.

DNF´s will cost very much, so Ferrari and Red Bull got to solve their reliability problems to have a chance to fight with Mclaren and Mercedes for the championship.


Hmmm, reward the guys who qualified at the back? Penalize the guy on pole?


They should also give a point for the Best Legs. This would be for Danica, ofc.


The points themselves are arbitrary in my opinion, its the relative difference between places that matters. With the latest system I would like to see 30 go to the winner, leave the rest the same. The gap at 7th place doesn’t really matter much, has to go somewhere.



Has anyone ever suggested points be in the offer for qualifying performances? Would that not lead to more competition for a flat-out, barnstorming lap on Saturday, thereby improving the show? Would it not mess with conservative strategies that bore viewers but put a mid-grid car on the podium by the end of the race through pit strategy? I think it would.

Imagine the FIA just left the points system as it is (i.e., 10 points for 1st) but added a further 10 points for pole, on down the line to 10th. Thoughts anyone?


Are you trying to say that drivers don’t try everything for a quick lap in qualifying? I don’t believe it! The only reward for qualifying well should be a good grid slot.

For me the biggest success of recent years is the 3-round knockout in qualifying. Doesn’t anyone else agree? Qualifying is actually worth tuning in for these days! It doesn’t need points awarded, unless…

..on second thoughts perhaps we could combine this with your idea and scrap the race itself, call qualifying the ‘event’, rename the sport F1 knockout, and since there would be little of no overtaking we could then go back to those thrilling narrow, undulating, slightly dangerous old circuits that had character.

p.s. That was a joke for all those reading it seriously, I do like to see a pack of cars racing wheel-to-wheel really 😉


Wow. What a great response. Really well put. Are you a writer?


Not at all, I am a draughtsman so usually only communicate in drawing form.


How to spice up the action;

1 – Make qualifying take the form of a 10 lap race, with the starting grid for that race decided by ballot.

2 – Ban front wings.


I agree with many here. Not much changes with the new system. The percentage gap stays same for the top spots.

Many people proposed their own system and I’ll probably copy some of them, but here’s mine:



If you want drivers racing for a win and are not concerned with a dominant early season car (such as Brawn) winning the title early then the larger gap is good. If you want a season long fight for the championship make it a single point gap between finishes then teams will have to be on their game all season.


They should have added a 1 point for qualifying in First Place on the Gird and a 1 point for setting the Fastest Lap in race.

That way I feel that perhaps everyone would push more in the race, because as we have seen in the past championships can be decided on a point or two.


It looks disproportionate. A driver coming home 10th every race gets 19 points, whereas a driver who lucked a win and all other races DNF gets 25?

Why couldn’t a lower order team just specialise for 1 or 2 races; similar to how the Force India cars this year found that their low drag/ low aero cars suited Monza and Spa? And just make up the numbers for all the other weekends?

How about 15-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1?


And why not extend the points system to the top 12? it makes not an iota’s difference for the front runners, but its sometimes nicer to compare the mid-teams.

it could be 20-16-14-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1


This is ridiculous.

If they wanted to keep the ratios the same, but increase the number of points given out – why not just use 15-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1

And this is even without mentioning the historical impact it has, and also the bizarre change in increments around 6th, 7th and 8th.


Ha – just saw your post on exactly the same points system i had in mind!


yes, and as so many of us can see the flaws of this system so easily, its amazing it was passed so quickly.


Bad reliability and silly mistakes are going to have a higher price tag.


F I N A L L Y ! ! !


The more I think about this, this is the key sentence to me;

“For many years a point has been a dream for backmarker teams.”

Isn’t that what makes Formula 1 so special?

Remember the thrill of seeing a “minnow” grab their first point no matter who ‘your’ team is? Or the disappointment of seeing a driver break down or crash out before scoring their first points in back-of-grid cars (Sutil, Webber, etc. etc).

We sit on our sofas willing these teams to do well when they get half a chance because we know how hard it is.

So why make it easy? The pride in achieving a goal is all the greater if it’s hard to do. And if Formula wants to be the pinnacle of motorsport, then it needs to be hard.

Then of course there’s the record books. Isn’t DC our top scoring Brit? Not for much longer under this new system.

If it’s about cash, then distribute cash some other way behind the scenes – you can always give “grants” to smaller teams or travel assistance, etc. But the more I think about this, playing with the points in this way is the equivalent of “dumbing down” F1.


What a stupid idea.

It’s true that the current points system doesn’t award the winner enough but the new idea is absolutely not the way to go.

If 10th position is already awarded with a point then why the hell should he try to overtake the 9th place driver? He risks damaging his car and lose the point!!!

We should go back to the system prior to the year 2003.

10 pts for winner, 6 for 2nd, 4for 3rd then 3,2,1 for the 6th place.

In that way the win is more important and people in the midfield will fight harder to score that last point which would lead to more interesting races.

F1 is about hard competition and the fact that someone who is 2seconds of the pace can still score points, is spitting in the face of all the fans.

My respect to the new teams but they should work their ass off in order to reach points scoring level, but now it’s not even a competition anymore.

This is a very sad development and i’m sure it will lead to even more dull racing.


Upon reading of the proposed new system late last night, one of the first things to strike me was the obvious irregularity of the 7th place points – as many others have pointed out. The sequence of 6, 5, 3, 2, 1 for 6th-through-10th places simply does not make sense as a stand alone method of points scoring. If nobody at the WMSC objects to this part of the system, then it will be a sorry state of affairs in my opinion.


I think a points system which allows for several throw away races is good idea. As long as a driver knows that every point counts he will have a natural tendency to err on the side of caution to maximize his final tally. We see the excuse of wisely ‘settling for the points’ all the time. If on the other hand a driver knows they will have to drop race results anyway – deciding to really go for it occassionally will be much attractive and from a spectacle point of view, far more exciting. F1 racing should be about encouraging drivers to strive for the win at all costs. That is what produces virtuoso drives and what Mr. Ecclestone wanted to see with his medal system. Dropping races but keeping a points based system offers the best of both worlds.

In the final 250 World Motorcycle Championship race this year Hiroshi Aoyama had a 19(?) point lead going in. Everyone expected him to ride conservatively. But he didn’t, at one point braking way late and and all but throwing everything away into the kitty litter. Later when interviewd and attention was drawn to his error, with a delightful typically Japanese self conscious smile he simply said “I wanted to win the race”. Everything was explained. Happily he won his World Championship, cemented a memorable event into the history books (it was the very last 250 World Championship race as the class has now been all but abandoned for 600cc 4 stroke bikes) and from my perspective, gained a life long fan. Lewis Hamilton showed much the same spirit this past season. Those are the racers and races that make the fans want to keep coming back.


I like it. It gives big incentive to be on the podium. One thing to add to it would be some points (I would suggest 5 to be substantial incentive) for fastest lap


Do the FIA charge the driver on the amount of points they score for there license???

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