Wins Vs. Points

Michael RobertsContributor IMarch 25, 2009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Safety Barriers are installed during preparations for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 18, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia. The Australian Formula One Grand Prix, the first of the new season, takes place on March 26-29, 2009.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

At the World Motorsport Council (WMSC) meeting the main headline was the FIA's proposed budget cap but this has seemingly been ignored by the press and the world at large as everyone's seems considerably more concerned by a slight tweaking to the points system for 2009.

It seems incredible that no one is particularly concerned about the budget cap and all the on going politics between the teams and the FIA that threatens Formula One's future!

The change to the points system means that the driver who wins the most races will win the world championship and if there is a tie, the driver who has accrued the most points shall be crowned champion.

Of course the Internet has been working over time to list as many problems with the points system as they can identify and here are the best ones:

  • A driver could theoretically have the championship wrapped up half way through the year - this is theoretically correct but if a driver were to prove this dominant and win the first eight or nine grand prix of the year then it is more than likely that he would win even with a points based system. The points system was adjusted in 2003 to make championship battles last as long as possible but when a driver has such a dominant run of success the outcome is obvious.
  • A driver with one win will finish ahead of another who has 10 2nd places - this is simply incorrect. Unfortunately some people have been confusing the FIA's points scoring system with FOM's suggested medal system, which assigned gold, silver and bronze medals for the podium positions. The FIA's system is fairer and only those with the most wins have to worry about their win count, everyone will be judged using the points system.
  • It's possible for the championship winning driver to have less points than the runner-up - this is very true and has actually happened in the past. In 1964 John Surtees beat Graham Hill by 40 points to 39 but that year only six results counted and if all points had been taken into account then Hill would have won the championship with 41.
  • The new points system would have changed past champions - this doesn't matter. Previous champions took advantage of the points system in place at the time they competed, so judging their results using a different system isn't a valid argument.

These questions have all been asked since the new points system has been announced but the most frequent question is why are we changing a system that gave Formula One such a spectacular ending to 2008.

Well to put it simply that was totally due to McLaren's poor performance in Brazil and nothing to do with the points system because if last years championship had been decided on wins, it would have still gone to the wire but Lewis would have had to win the race to the win the championship.

However on the day he could only manage fifth, despite considerable investment from McLaren to make sure the car was as competitive as possible for the final round of the championship.

This may seem irrelevant as the FIA has back down and reverted to the 2008 points system but just rememeber where you read this article when the FIA introduce the system in 2010.