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The problem with winner takes all

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Andrew Benson | 11:53 UK time, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

When Bernie Ecclestone first proposed his idea to settle the Formula 1 drivers' title by number of wins, the immediate response was not favourable.

The sport had just delivered two sensational championship showdowns in a row, in 2007 and 2008, so why fix what was clearly not broken?

Now Ecclestone has got his way, following Tuesday's decision by governing body the FIA, but the idea does not appear to be any more satisfactory than when F1's impresario first made his idea public in November last year.

The best justification for the new system is that, had it been in place for the entire history of F1, it would have left a list of champions that is more satisfying to the purist than the actual list.

berniemax438.jpgBritain's first world champion, for example, would have been Stirling Moss, not Mike Hawthorn.

It's difficult to argue against the basic rightness of that given that a) Moss won four races in 1958 to Hawthorn's one; and b) Moss has no championship to his name despite being regarded as one of the greatest racing drivers of all time - a status to which Hawthorn has no claim.

Jim Clark, a man held in the same sort of esteem as Moss, would be a four-time champion, adding titles in 1964 and '67 to the ones he actually won in '63 and '65.

Among other changes, Alain Prost - second in the list of race winners behind Michael Schumacher - would have won five titles rather than four - which, given that the great Frenchman lost titles in agonising circumstances in 1982, 1983 and 1984 seems fair enough.

Likewise, Nigel Mansell would be a three-time champion instead of simply having his single title in 1992 - probably a fairer reflection of his ability and status.

On the other side of the coin, three-time winner Nelson Piquet would not have won any titles, which seems fair enough given the men who would have won them instead (Prost twice and Mansell).

Worryingly for the future, there is the probability under the medal system that in a season of dominance - such as that enjoyed by Michael Schumacher and Ferrari in 2004 - the championship would be decided far earlier than under the current points system, with a consequent decline in TV audiences.

Equally, the different winners dry up after 1991, when the number of points for a win changed from nine to 10 - which suggests that tweak did its job.

The only time a different driver would have won the title since then was last year - when, as every media report has pointed out, Lewis Hamilton would have lost out to Felipe Massa.

And that's where the problems begin with the new system - as well as the other changes made by the FIA World Council on Tuesday.

Hamilton would have lost out because Massa won six races to his five - but those tallies would have been reversed had it not been for the controversial decision to demote Hamilton to third in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Few people in F1 have absolute faith in the decisions made by the FIA and its stewards - and the idea of extending the areas vulnerable to them will fill many with disquiet.

Within F1, though, the new points system is being seen as a smokescreen deflecting attention from something far more controversial - the decision to implement a split-level championship in 2010.

There will be an optional budget cap of £30m - and teams operating within it will have more technical freedom to develop their cars and engines. Those that choose to spend what they like will be forced to operate within the current more restrictive rules.

Would a poorer, smaller team with a more powerful engine and freer play with aerodynamics produce a faster car than a big-budget manufacturer operating within constraints but with a better driver?

It's an intriguing question - but there will not be an answer, because FIA president Max Mosley says his organisation "will balance the median performances by adjusting the cost-capped cars should this prove necessary".

The idea of the FIA fiddling about with the performance of all the cars so the championship remains competitive will fill the teams with horror.

Through bitter experience - and whether they are right or wrong, this writer is not in a position to say - the teams do not trust the FIA to do this impartially.

What makes it worse are the factors that lie behind these decisions.

F1 has so far emerged relatively unscathed from the global economic crisis - but fears that one or more of the major car manufacturers will pull out of the sport this year remain, and I'm told by someone who knows both men well that Mosley and Ecclestone are "paranoid" there will not be enough cars on the grid in 2010.

Mosley is undoubtedly right to worry about the impact of the global meltdown on F1 - the commercial departments of the various teams are finding it extremely difficult to tie up new deals as they stare at the looming end of current sponsorship contracts - and his £30m proposal means that teams could compete solely on the prize money and television income provided by Ecclestone's companies.

But that does not necessarily make Mosley's plan the right one.

For a start, there are significant doubts about the FIA's ability to police a budget cap.

Mosley insists his "forensic accountants" can divine how much money a team is spending. But one insider told BBC Sport on Wednesday: "We don't publish our accounts until a year later - and even our own accounts department can't tell me how much we spend."

And then there's the lack of transparency inherent in the policing of the "equivalency" of the two types of cars.

It would have been far better to do what was done in 1987 and 1988, and create a temporary two-tier championship while - in that case - the big teams weaned themselves off turbo engines, but with a clear set of rules for each and a clear end in sight to the disparity.

It also has to be remembered that this is merely the latest salvo in the ongoing struggle for control of F1 between Mosley and Ecclestone on the one side, and the teams' organisation Fota on the other.

The visions of the two sides are completely separate.

Mosley and Ecclestone have made little secret that they want absolute control over a low-tech, low-budget category in which essentially similar cars are differentiated more or less only by different colour schemes.

The teams - all of them - want much more freedom as well as a greater share of Ecclestone's revenues.

The decisions announced yesterday are merely the latest salvo in an increasingly bloody war.

As one insider put it: "I think Max will win in the end - cutting costs is what he has to do. But there will be a watering down because there always is. That's how he works. He goes in ruthlessly, and then backtracks and backtracks."

The battle now is over how far the teams are able to push him back.


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  • Comment number 1.

    In every sport I am aware of, points always dominate wins when it comes to an a sport with multiple events...wins will be the decider if points tie.

    I can understand that they wish to increase overtaking and make the sport more enjoyable...but for who? clearly not existing fans. Not everything has to evolve just for the sake of change!

    Also consider this...the drivers championship could potentially be won on the race immediately after the half way mark, points can be deducted later in the season for infractions taking it the DC right down to the wire...I can't see the FIA declaring that a racer will have to forfeit obtained in the first half of the season....

    ...what then? we watch in some kind of excitement to see who finishes 2nd and 3rd?

    Where is all the excitement gone...its a bold step but a step too far in a unquestionable power trip.

  • Comment number 2.

    Excellent article, I couldn't of put it better myself.
    The real issue here is Max Mosely and his cost cutting. It could so easily cause huge rifts in F1. Hopefully the F1 teams will pull together and sort out the mess with some sound cost cutting ideas.
    As for the winner takes all I think it will have little if no affect accept to make drivers go for wins in the last couple of races and make more drivers be in contention for the championship longer... Providing the teams remain as close.

    Stuart -

  • Comment number 3.

    Max will get his way, he always does, he's seemingly untouchable (very much no pun intended) at the top to bring in any of his "rule changes".

    This is a horrifying development in the rules in F1 and I hope the drivers and the teams (and the broadcasters) fight against it as yet again the fans are being ignored.

  • Comment number 4.

    Great Article,

    I just don't think the points system will work how Ecclestone & Moseley want it too, from what we can tell from the Winter testing, Massa may have the Championship sewn up by the time we get to race 14 or even sooner. The only way this can be stopped is if Brawn GP, Renault or BMW can take a few GPs, McClaren seem too far behind atm to mount a serious challenge against Ferrari.

    Also another point is how will we differentiate the middle to lower teams that have no "medals" at all?

    This rule may incourage over-taking and teams going for the win, however it may incourage team orders and teams/drivers not getting the recognition of have a good consistent season like BMW last year, Alonso would have finished higher than Kubica last year despite Kubica having a better season all round!!

    As you say don't fix what isn't broken.

  • Comment number 5.

    Once again the FIA and Ecclestone have proved that they do not give a damn about the fans and what they want. F1 is going to be extremely boring yet again.

    In all fairness I was really looking forward to this new season with the technical overhaul but once again Mosley and Ecclestone have managed to ruin it yet again.

    I shall be watching MotoGP this year I think.

  • Comment number 6.

    The cost cutting/split-level proposals for 2010 are, indeed, worrying and arguably poorly concieved. But as mentioned in the blog, at least there is a little time and scope for negotiation with the teams.

    The new 'most wins, wins' system, however, has been announced so close to the start of the season that there is no room for negotiation. On top of that, the idea is just insane, and it goes completely against the overwhelming public opinion against Bernie's original medals plan.

    I really don't see it improving the racing. The obvious outcome I can see is that two drivers racing in 1st and 2nd will end up colliding (and both retiring) because the driver in 2nd place would rather prevent his rival from taking a win than sit behind him on a track where overtaking is difficult. Seeing drivers walking back to the pits is NOT preferable to seeing the cars race (even if we do get some Piquet/Salazar-style punch-ups!)

  • Comment number 7.

    I just started to show some interest in F1 again, but this shows that Ernie has too much influence and this could be its downfall... could this be the end? Ernie's influence is damaging, his view of Lewis Hamilton has also been weird - Ernie is the same as Sepp Blatter of FIFA, too much power...makes you question who they really support the fans or themselves...

  • Comment number 8.

    I do not see why people are so upset about the wins idea. It's great - we need to get away from the idea that points are best.

    Think about what it would have been like last year if we had the wins system then. Hamilton would have had to race for the win in Brazil instead of messing around at the back. Massa outclassed him and was extremely unlucky to lose by a single point.

    Provided that no one is messing with the system during a season, I don't see what the problem is. The drivers and the fans all know the rules before the first race, so let's get on with what will be a great season.

  • Comment number 9.

    Another knee-jerk reflex to fix a problem that doesn't exist. Like the team orders ban which was never really enforceable, or the points system change to stop Schumacher's run of titles. The irritating thing is that these changes are never tested out before they're implemented - applying new scoring systems to old results doesn't give a fair picture, as I doubt Lewis or Felipe would have settled for second in any races in a winner-takes-all scenario.

    Slightly off-topic, but does anyone know if any of the teams have tried racing each other in the '09 cars? The changes might look good on paper, but several drivers have said it might actually reduce overtaking because it will be so easy to knock those massive front wings off and ruin your race. And they claim F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport... it's slowly turning into Wacky Races!

  • Comment number 10.

    If this system had been in place last year, Massa would have won, but only because he was AWARDED one race by the stewards (Belgium), which Hamilton won in reality, and most unbiased observers felt should have stayed his race. Well, I assume that under Bernie's scheme, a race earned by effort on the track is worth the same as one which is in the mindset of the stewards to bestow.

  • Comment number 11.

    I really am confused as to how the new points system is going to help! More often that not, the guy who wins most wins the championship so whats the point in changing anything?
    Also it does open the door to a 'lucky champion'. If, as it looks, all the cars are relatively close in performance, then we could have at the end of the season driver A, B, C, and D with 3 wins each. If driver A, B and C retire in the last race and driver D wins, he is hardly deserving of the title is he? Add in to that driver D only managed to finish 6 races over the season but takes the title. (bit long winded and confusing but think I got there!)
    I hope the system won't detract the enjoyment I get from this sport but I suspect it will.

  • Comment number 12.

    So under this system, a driver who wins a race in freak conditions (think Monaco 96 when only 3 cars finished or USA the other year) but finishes last in all other races will be placed higher in the championship than a driver who finishes on the podium every race but is kept off the top step by a dominant team above him? Nonsense rules. To be expected from Bernie and Max though!

  • Comment number 13.

    The most exciting race of last season culminated in a frantic fight for the lead as the rain fell. This sort of frantic fight will continue with no difference so I don't see how the new system will improve things. However, that infamous race had the most disappointing outcome as Hamilton - not for the first time - was accused of cheating and his win stripped from him. Get the stewards sorted out before you try to change the things that already work... i.e. racers race, it's in their blood. Politicians steward and make rediculous rulings on a regular basis that destroys the sport. Marcus Lane

  • Comment number 14.

    The 'medals' system really seems to be poorly thought through. If wins are the only thing that counts, then what are the cars in positions 3-20 going to be doing during a race. Its often the case that certain cars work better on certain tracks - so when a Ferarri pulls away at Turkey, the racing behind them will be non existent, because when it comes down to it, the points are absolutely worthless apart from a few pounds at the end of the season for the constructors. Why would P6 and P7 bother racing each other? Racing for Kudos is hardly motivational throughout a whole season.

    Absolutely ridiculous to change something so drastically that clearly wasn't broken. The FOTA suggestion would have been much fairer, or adding a bonus point for P1 in qualifying would have been perfect. That would have seen some real battles. You'd have had plenty of 'lesser' cars running low fuel, trying to get pole for the point, then the cars who went for a normal level tank on a race strategy would have to fight there way through. There would be racing all over the track consistently.

    Its almost as though Bernie, Max et al literally have no logical bones in there body.

  • Comment number 15.

    A very good article... I can only say that this 'tweaking' goes to show the one single thing that most fans have always thought. That those that run F1 want to control who races, how they race and who wins more than making sure the fans (who ultimately fund it all) enjoy the experience.

  • Comment number 16.

    As annoyed as I am with the rule changes they won't last long. If a driver wins the title this year with 4 races or so still left then they'll change it again for next year. Just a shame they've felt the need to tinker with a system that's been working well for years now. As you've said Andrew the last 2 years have been the closest ever so why the need to change things? If the FIA could be trusted and remained impartial then people wouldn't be so annoyed about these proposals but they seem to make the rules up as they go along. Hence why people are concerned they could decide who's going to win the title in the courts instead of letting the drivers sort it out on the track.

  • Comment number 17.

    This whole thing is stupid, the past 2 years F1 has gradually been getting better and there has been some overtaking with all the new young drivers now coming through.

    If they wanted to make wins more important they should have stuck with the old 10-6-4-3-2-1 system or something similar which gave extra points for the win and they drivers wouldn't necessarily be happy with a lower position.

    Bernie Eccles should retire now and let a younger generation of past drivers take over the running of the sport

  • Comment number 18.

    The value in points at the moment is wrong. There is not enough difference between first and second. Four wins the same points as as 5 second places is rubbish. There is not enough reward for winning the race!

  • Comment number 19.

    The value in points at the moment is wrong. There is not enough difference between first and second. Four wins having the same points as five second places is not right. There is not enough reward for winning the race! Go back to ten poits a win and six for second!

  • Comment number 20.

    neiltc13 - I don't think Massa outclassed Hamilton during the season. Massa drove well, Hamilton drove better in a slightly worse car. And as the general concensus is that Hamilton should have kept his win it wouldn't have been so close and you could say that Massa was very lucky to have got that close to Hamilton.

    fatgav -Good point, I was really looking forward to this year, now I am full of foreboding. I hope it doesn't mess things up but on the other hand for the long term I hope it does so that Max and Bernie have to change this ridiculous law. If it doesn't Max & Bernie will claim it worked and it'll stay and eventually there will be a joke of a seaon. I think i'd rather get that season out of the way now so we can go back to some sense.

  • Comment number 21.

    Not sure about the rule change, part of me thinks its a good idea, but I can see major flaws in it.

    Oh, and can you stop having a go at Nelson Piquet please,

    "(He)would not have won any titles, which seems fair enough given the men who would have won them instead (Prost twice and Mansell)."

    What has Nelson ever done to offend you - other than fall out with media darling Nigel Mansell.

    Given that 2 of his championships were with Brabham he deserves a lot of credit for his consistency. This is one of the major problems with the new system, as it rules out any hope that someone from a lesser team can challenge.

    Take Kubica last season for example, he was still in with a shout with 2 races to go, under the new system he would have never had any chance at all as he had only won once.

    so with the budget changes they try to encourage smaller teams to enter, but then reduce their chances of winning titles

  • Comment number 22.

    PhilJones87 you are getting confused I think. Points still apply to the top 8 places same as they always have. these points decide positions in the championship other than the winner, They are also used to determine the contructors championship as well.

    So if you finish 2nd you still get 8pts, but with no race win you won't improve your chances of winning the title.

    Really, with the exception of the top 2 or 3 drivers, it hasn't changed very much for anybody

  • Comment number 23.

    It feels like a scam to me!!!
    They won't listen to anyone at the moment, not FOTA, not the fans...
    Ilove the sport but I trully hate this new direction it's taking.
    If you want to push drivers then make it 15, 10, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
    Otherwise, offer 3 points for fastest lap. some points for Qualifying.
    Want to excite fans? give us more angles (multi chanels?) open Radio feeds and have a bigger gap between tyre compounds.
    It costs nothing (opposed to the multi million KERS)...
    I didn't want Mosley to leave because he's into wild parties, but I WANT him to leave because he's terrible at his job.
    Go Felipe GO

  • Comment number 24.

    I was a big fan of the British Touring Car Championship, which was very exciting and full of action, until the authorities started to intervene and introduced weight penalties etc. It's now as dull as dishwater!

    I think the new design rules for 2009 will improve things in F1, so they should have let that take effect BEFORE messing with the points system too. What's the strategy anyway? What are they trying to achieve? What's the long-term goal?

    Why does F1 exist anyway?

    If it's to identify the best driver in the world then maybe it's time to think again... Theoretically F1 could be a class of driver (i.e. NOT a class of car) that competes in Indy cars, rallying, drag racing, stock cars etc...

    I'd rather watch that instead of the current aimless drifting of rules, regulations, scoring, politics etc...

  • Comment number 25.

    Maybe Bernie should join Pal. He seems very good at making dogs dinners of everything he turns his hand to.

  • Comment number 26.

    What people don't seem to get is that it ONLY decides who comes first. ALL other positions are done on the old points scheme, so, in response to a lot of people saying someone with one fluke win will finish higher than someone who podiums, but doesn't win: They wouldn't!

  • Comment number 27.

    Dictators will ruine everything, history has proven that. Zimbabweans will suffer till Mugabe dies, F1 fans will suffer ...till Ecclestone dies ... !

    You need rules in any sport, but what happens in F1 is out of this world ! The money issue: Don't get involved, the market will do its thing for sure, spend as much as you like, use as many engines per race as you wish, change drivers during pit-stops, what ever !

    You do not tell a top football team to play without shoes because the budget is restricted ? ... or let them use the same shoes for 5 seasons and if the laces break, to get a penalty of one goals against for putting new ones on ... ?

    What about those who like to sport, the fan's, who pay enormous amounts of money to see what they are entitled to, top motor racing.

    Never mind F1-fans, it will get worse as long as the Max & Bernie rule continues ... and the world looks on; what's new !?!

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm glad Andrew has highlighted the 2 major flaws of the "most wins" system.

    If one team starts the season with a significant advantage, the title could be decided after 9 or 10 races. Just watch the TV audiences and race crowds plummet if this happens.

    The most worrying thing is that it will encourage more risk-taking, especially if the new aero rules, slick tyres and KERS actually do result in more wheel-to-wheel racing.

    If we see a marked increase in incidents such as the one that happened at Spa last season, my greatest worry is that the greater involvement of the stewards, gives greater potential for "controversial" race results, through the handing out of penalties, etc.

    However, all things being equal, the win system shouldn't really come into play until the last few races and thus shouldn't affect the status quo too much.

    I really hope FOTA find some way of freeing themselves from the shackles being imposed on them by Max, Bernie et al. I wouldn't trust these jokers in charge of F1 to organise a heavy drinking session in s brewery!

  • Comment number 29.

    Under the new system, you could, in theory, have a driver finish only two races, winning them both and, provided the rest are all shared around equally, be declared the champion.

    Farcical, but possible.

  • Comment number 30.

    So if a Driver wins over 50% of the races he is automatically champion.

    what if this happens half way through the season. The rest of the season is ruined, with the driver not needing to drive and further.

  • Comment number 31.

    The assessment of who would have won various championships in the past under this new system is totally flawed. It fails to take account of the fact that any intelligent driver drives for the championship. Had the championship been awarded on the basis of wins rather than points, drivers would have driven past championships differently, so all that can be said is that the had this system always been in place we likely would have had different winners. In any sport, you need to know the rules and play the sport accordingly. If the points system changes, you probably need to change your tactics. Therefore, nobody knows whether Stirling Moss would have ever won a championship with the new rules as he and most other drivers would have had different tactics.

  • Comment number 32.

    In my view this rule will ruin F1 this year and will be scrapped by next years season. They seem to change the rules whenever something happens that they don't like - the points change to stop Schumacher - and now this!!!

    This is a season sport - and season sports should 100% be decided on a point win, no debate should even be necessary!!

    Driver A has 6 wins to Driver B's 5 but B has 20 more points because A has spent half the season breaking down or sliding off the track - who deserves the win?? In my opinion Driver B!!

    Why not just give the winner a 4 point advantage and leave it at that! Oh hang on a minute we had that a few years ago didn't we - can't do that then - that would make Berni look really stupid :-o

  • Comment number 33.

    I really can't see there being excitement in watching the last two or three races to see what the minor places are going to be after Ferrari have won the championship as they will consistently win with BMW Brawn et al picking up a few wins and Mclaren coming good too late in the day, adn that is just this season!

    It is a bizarre bit of Bernie rubbish, shocking waste of time, the last few seasons had rekindled my interest in the sport. I thought they might make it truly interesting by removing the pit stops hey ho. Back to cycling - far more exciting

  • Comment number 34.

    It's better than watching the last 25 laps of a race where the driver in 2nd place is on cruise control.
    And Mansell won the WDC half way through the season, so points or no points it can still happen.

    It's FOTA and their mythical survey F1 fans have to worry about, I mean is anyone going to admit to voting for less F1 on TV, like FOTA said we all did.

  • Comment number 35.

    It seems to me that the new 'medal' system will partly reverse the attempts made over the last decade to make the sport safer. As some have already said above, for the top drivers who are targeting the drivers' championship, second place will mean (almost) nothing. So what's to stop them trying dangerous overtaking manoeuvres in the last few laps? Fail and they lose very little. Take out their main rival for the title, preventing them from getting the win and, if anything, they're better off!

  • Comment number 36.

    I have been an F1 fan for approaching 30 years. I am passionate about the sport and count down the hours from the end of one season to the beginning of the next. Some of the changes introduced by the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone have been welcome, particularly in the area of safety under the auspices of Prof. (should be Sir) Sid Watkins. Others have been disastrous. The attempts to neuter the sport have led to a climate that puts revenue over spectacle.

    The new points system could be the straw that breaks the camels back for me. We shall see as the season progresses but I predict, as the season progresses, that the championship will be wrapped up early and the vibrant, young drivers who have entered the sport will have a precious season stolen from them. If so it will be the last season I follow, albeit with a heavy heart.

    If football, for example, had followed similar rule changes to the raft of those implemented by the FIA then tackling would have been outlawed unless you gave the ball back to the opposing team, the scoreline would have been changed after the match and now the season would probably have been decided by Christmas.

    Please, please, please stop the tinkering!!!!! Give us back our sport.

    p.s. If the FIA and Bernie really care about what we think why do they make contacting them so difficult via their websites - therein lies the truth I feel.

  • Comment number 37.

    Not that it matters one bit....but I think Prost would have 4 titles. His 1989 title would have gone to Senna with more wins giving Senna 4 titles also. His 1986 title would have gone to Mansell.

  • Comment number 38.

    Not too sure about this one. When I was a lad of 13, I used to race BMX. I won that years local championship on points. I wasn't necessarily the best rider that year, nor did I have the most wins. But I was consistent over that year. The chap I pipped had more wins, but due to a short spell with a broken arm and a tendency to 'crash and burn', I beat him by about 15 points, less points than a single heat. So who was more deserving of the title in that case....
    I'm not sure this is the way they should be going in F1, it may make the end of the season very dull. Nothing like the nail-biter we had last season.

  • Comment number 39.

    Perhaps a good way to illustrate the problem with the new rule is that in 1996 Panis would have moved from 9th in the DC to 4th. He would have been one place ahead of Jean Alesi despite 'losing' to Jean with 13 points against 47.

    However, that is an extreme example and I can't see a big change in the overall championship positions coming about. Generally the driver who wins the most races wins the championship. In fact, before 2008 the last time the championship would have gone to a different driver was 1989. This table is a useful guide:

    Overall, I'm a supporter. Whoever wins the most races should win the drivers championship.

  • Comment number 40.

    Yup, nice and sicinct.

    It's amazing how the FIA has ignored its own evidence on the prospect of seasons ending earlier under the new Most Wins rule, and has generated a situation where there is a greater chance of injury by attempts to pass dictated more by desperation than skill, and/or deliberate 'accidents' to try and take a win, or merely to prevent another driver taking one. There are also going to be a lot of 'Ronnie Petersons' this year, if you catch my drift, under strict instruction not to take any wins away from the team's preferred driver; even the likes of McLaren and Williams will need to play favourites pretty much from the get-go. Once one driver has a couple of wins more than his team-mate, his buddy won't get a look in except through retirements and other misfortunes both during (and after) the races.

    FYI: The Atlas F1 forum, which is affiliated to Autosport magazine (a publication rather familiar to Andrew Benson!), are running a poll. If you want to take a look, the URL is

    The count as I write is 82% against, with 13% for - the rest are Don't Knows

    (You'll need to register to vote if not already signed-up)

  • Comment number 41.

    I remember when this idea was first proposed a few months ago - the message boards were almost unanimous in condemning this as another one of Bernie's crazy ideas. I'd say the split was about 90% - 10%.

    To me, this is yet another example of the fact that one man has way too much power in F1. Despite the fact that almost everyone else is against this, there's absolutely nothing to stop Bernie doing whatever he wants with F1.

  • Comment number 42.

    chrisbriddon - I'm not confused, but tell me what is the point of racing for a currency which is not recognised as the most valuable one at the end of the season.

    Why would you bother racing for points? You could finish 2nd in every single race, but if 15 other drivers all won a race through freak weather or saftey car luck etc during the season, they would all be ahead of you in the title race. Why would you bother?!

    Front row of the grid normally wins the race - How is it going to make any difference to the spectacle if they effectively reward this even more. Lewis Hamilton trying to hang on to 5th was the most engrossing piece of sport on television in quite a few years - Imagine the scenario this year under the same rules. It would be boring.

    Racers will always want to race, whether its in F1 cars or on push bikes or whatever. Making the ultimate goal virtually unattainable for almost 90% of the field is wrong to me. The goal should be getting most points.

    Imagine if they did the same in other sports. It'd be dreadful.

  • Comment number 43.

    Come on teams! Time to pick up your toys and take them somewhere other than the FIA playground. How much more shin kicking from Bernie can you take?

  • Comment number 44.

    The new "number of wins" winner of the championship should not be brought in untill next the 2010 season. This is because the new technical rules may leave the 2009 cars with some unreliablity and as stated above a "lucky winner" may win the season in the first five races of the season. Therefore the season may be over before the summer break.
    The other problem with the "number of wins" winner is the teams may not be able to back one driver if they are all on the same number of wins.

    The point system does need to be addressed but determining the championship by wins is not the solution to the problem. The solution should to increase the points difference so consistency during the season can be rewarded, like Lewis Hamiliton's debut season he got to that position due to the consistent racing during the season.

  • Comment number 45.

    I agree with you Andrew that it's the £30M cap that's going to have a long-term impact. But the fans will be concentrating on the points issue.

    Everyone & his dog is busy promoting the issue from the perspective of which champions would have changed over the last 5 decades, but no-one has concentrated on it from the perspective of how the team tactics would change to cope with the new rule.

    One historical change is that Lauda wouldn't have won in 1977 under the new rules. Yet he left Ferrari early, having secured the title. Would he have stopped so soon if he weren't already the champion?

    With the win becoming massively more important than a 2nd place, team orders will become important again, whether hidden or not, and especially if a team is in the 1-2 positions. In 2008, Ferrari were in this position in the 3rd race of the season, with Raikkonen having already won the 2nd race. Would the new rules have been enough to convince Ferrari to get Massa to move over, and "let" the then-champion Raikkonen have the victory to add to his tally? If so, Massa wouldn't have had the most wins at the end of the season.

    The result is clear - you can't just apply the new rules to the end-of-season totals. You have to apply it to all the decision-making pre-season and in-season too.

    And that adds another point. The overall winner is now going to have to achieve a few good wins, rather than a full season of consistency. Would teams focus their car development to hit those few wins, at select circuits, rather than be a good compromise for all circuits? To change the rules only one week before the season starts, and with no more testing allowed, could mean that we will have jack-of-all-trades cars competing in a winner-takes-all environment.

    I also think the "win-at-all-cost" attitude from Bernie will have another side-effect. I reckon that a team, which is otherwise competing for the drivers championship, but can't compete at a particular circuit, will go into a "disrupt-at-all-costs" mode instead. Getting your rival down to 2nd place is almost as good as winning yourself.

    The law of unintended consequences is going to be fully at play this season.

  • Comment number 46.

    This is such a bad idea, and Max knows it. Back on 14th December 2008, Autosport reported:

    "We'll make a market survey and decide based on the results," Mosley told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Extending the points-paying positions to the top eight by reducing the difference between first and second was a mistake, but I'm against changing the points system too often. It disorientates people."

    Now correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't FOTA undertake the largest survey of the F1 viewing public at the end of last season, the results of which led them to recommend revising the scoring system to increase the points for a win? This was the solution that Max and the FIA rejected in favour of his friend Bernie's, albeit slightly revised, medal system.

    Max and Bernie: if you want a cheap, single make formula, then by all means create one, but don't turn F1 into one; it's not what F1 is about.

    I was looking forward to the unpredictability that the revised regulations were going to throw into the mix this season, but now I'm not so sure. If the season's result is decided just past the half way mark, what will be the point of watching the remaining races? Where will the drama and excitement come from, if not from the battle for the championship?

  • Comment number 47.

    As soon as I heard about this I though it was madness. Was last years final lap drama too boring for Bernie? Clearly judging by this. My interest has waned over years but the last 2 years brought it right back. But now I fear for this season.
    Theoretical situation here:- 4 drivers for the championship. one finishes 2nd 17 times, 3 others share race wins but DNF in the races they do not win.(7 wins, and 2 with 5). The driver who finishes 2nd all the time gets 136 pts, the others have 70 pts, 50pts, 50pts. Is it fair that the one with almost twice as many points does not win?? I don't.

    I've got an idea just as sensible, most of the more exciting races last year were when it rained, why don't they put sprinklers at the sides of the track that go off when Bernie and Max roll a dice to decide, its a 1 in 6 chance.

    I hope it still is good, foy the BBC's sake if anyones.

  • Comment number 48.

    If you wanted to really make drivers WANT to overtake, it would have been better to get ALL of them to want to, rather than just the men fighting over 1st place.

    A better incentive would have been to make the points system exponential rather than linear, and maybe even to extend it to cover more of the field.

    For example: 1200, 400, 200, 100, 50, 25, 12, 6, 3, 1

    Hmmm. Isn't that more like the system that men's tennis uses to give points?

  • Comment number 49.

    What effect will the rule changes have on the constructors championship if any? At least this would mean that if the season were looking like finishing early then the driver who won couldnt simply stop trying/caring.

  • Comment number 50.

    People will not race to finish 2nd in the championship. What would Kubica have done in the last 4 races last year under these rules. He'd have done nothing. He might have had the 3rd most points and still mathematically in with a chance of winning under the points system, but not under the medals one.

    Imagine somehow (rain or something) a Ferarri starts from 15th and the other one is on pole. The guy in 15th knows he can't win the race, because an equal car is 14 places ahead of him and running away with it.

    Win or bust is not going to motivate that 15th placed Ferarri. Raikkonen won't be able to care enough to think that slicing through the field to finish in 2nd place is worthwhile because the points might help him finish 2nd in the championship.

    Current rules he'd go hell for leather, because 2nd place is still a good points haul and counts for something. But 2nd place now means nothing in the scorers chart for the Driver's title. How daft is that? Very.

  • Comment number 51.

    After two fantastic seasons with two fantastic finishes they want to change things around again! It could end up with a driver winning a few races then not finishing for the rest of the season, another driver could finish with all podiums and not win the title. The system has worked for years, don't change it now. Bernie has too much power, get back to your old job as a hood ornament!

  • Comment number 52.

    Well, I think we can say that this greatly increases Massas chances of winning the title. Everyone saw that he was the most inconsistent driver last season - he won more races than anyone else, but he didn't have the consistency to finish on the podium often enough to win the championship outright.

    It also has the problem of completely removing the underdog from the reckoning. Someone like Vettel or Kibica will probably win a couple of races, but will have no chance to win the title by finishing consistently well without blowing the field away. It is ludicrous.

  • Comment number 53.

    Don't really care!!

  • Comment number 54.

    That's complete rubbish, especially to make the decision just days before the start of the season. FOTA's proposal with the 12, 9, 7, 5 ... pts was much better and it favored GP wins.

  • Comment number 55.

    Too much emphasis is on the cost of the Sport at the moment.
    Why do we need the teams to have their budgets cut to £30m?
    It should be more, you can't get a full car for £30m, add on Drivers, team personell, testing, flights, transport...etc,etc.
    Where is the money coming from?

  • Comment number 56.

    Typical just another rule change to make sure Ferrari wins, and keep the big wigs happy.

    Just when I was looking forward to F1 returning to the BBC, it is now seemingly ruined.

  • Comment number 57.

    Great point Blade400Flyer!!!!
    Formula 1 is not about drivers but about Technology in the cars before anything else...
    Drivers are employees as others :)

  • Comment number 58.

    I think this is the most stupid rule in sport I've ever heard!

    Surely if they want to introduce this points system, they might as well just give points to the winner and none for second or below because this rule surely makes points for second and below null and void as, ultimately, you have to win a certain amount of races to win the championship. Which is what you probably have to do anyway to win a championship, but it's not a rule.

    It makes a mockery of the points system in the sport, as not only will your final points not necessarily determine your ultimate success, but it virtually takes away reward for finishing second, third and so on.

    It means that whoever finishes on top of the table at the end of the season with more second and third place finishes than, say, the third place man, could still lose to the third place finisher who has one more win overall.

    It also means the title could be over with a few races to go and will often see the championship statistically only being able to be won by a tiny handful, maybe two or three drivers, after about half the season has gone if the usual suspects win all of the races.

  • Comment number 59.

    I could never sit comfortably with a two tier system... it would be a bit like having a 100m sprint but allowing the less abled out there to join in the same race...

    I don't agree with the woinner takes all thing at all... what they are forgetting is that some drivers produce world championship drives in machinery that is letting them down and they should be recognised for this...and a points system allows for this...someone wins a championship on consistency and I have no problem with it... its merely their machinery and is fair and just...

    the other drivers not in teams might as well not even bother

  • Comment number 60.

    Part of me likes the idea of a cap as there could be privateers coming back into the sport. Is that a good thing?

    On the question of Max and Bernie wanting all cars the same, isn't that what happens in A1?

    I will hold off on the points idea although I do kind of like the idea that the best driver/racer gets the pot of gold and not just the best team strategy. But... how many races would you realistically need to win to clinch the championship and how will going for the Constructors title affect the outcome?

  • Comment number 61.

    Year on year we see more meddling and more rule changes. This year they have made the most dramtic changes we have seen (with Kers and the new aerodynamics, plus the testing cap) and they STILL want to make more changes!!!

    Do they not realise that all the changes that have already been implemented will create enough havoc on the grid? I'm fairly sure we are going to get a great championship.

    Every other sport has points why should F1 be so different? If I remember rightly, Nicky Hayden won the Moto GP championship with less wins than the second placed Rossi, but nobody felt the need to tear up the system.

    Teams that are consistent are no longer rewarded. That's the bottom line.

    And yet again Bernie and Max call the shots without thinking of the fans.

  • Comment number 62.

    this new rule will ruin the sport. we won't have the drama of brazil ever again in a season. The tactics are what also adds to the spectacle of the sport.
    bad move in my view!

  • Comment number 63.

    PhilJones87 - apologies but your comment was reffering to 'medals' and what drivers in positions 3 - 20 would do.

    Well to the majority of drivers, the situation doesn't change, as they never had a chance of winning the title anyway, so the number of points still applies to these drivers and the majority of teams. For the likes of Mclaren & Ferrari, well the constructors championship points still count, so if you can't win, the points you get still matter (plus it will determine your Chapionship positon if your aren't 1st!)

    I am not an advocat of the new systme, but I cna also see the intention and the fact that alot of comments are the results of knee-jerk reaction rather than thought through response.

    As has already been pointed out, with the exception of last yeat, the last time the winner of the championship wasn't the person with the most race wins was 1989!

  • Comment number 64.

    Ecclestone is doing this so the drivers race harder to be first, yet Hamilton was demoted to 3rd and Massa was gifted a win when Hamilton raced hard in Belgium, so wheres the logic. Furthermore under the new rules if Massa hadnt been gifted the win he wouldnt have won the DC anyway.

  • Comment number 65.

    Totally stupid. Often the excitement in races takes place away from the front two but the motivation for a driver in 6th, for example, to battle for 5th place has been completely taken away. There will be far too many occasions when races will merely become a procession. I simply cannot see the sense in this rule change. Has there been a single post in favour of this yet?

  • Comment number 66.

    Maybe worth seeing how it works in practice before writing off the new scheme but I have some major reservations:

    Firstly, as noted above the steward’s decisions become even more critical. A six point swing on the Belgium thing is bad enough but imagine if that was the deciding win up for grabs. Their decisions will be even more closely scrutinised and if they are not totally fair-handed (or should that be WHEN they are not totally fair-handed!) there will be even more outcry.

    Also, it’s true that for championship contenders second is worth nothing and that if in second they will go for the win, but it’s also true that if a win is not on they have no motive to race. If in third in the closing laps they have no reason to challenge second, even if a pass would be odds on.

    If, say, Kimi or Lewis is in the mix for the title but has a mare in qualifying, the race win is basically not on. Under the old system we would see them charging up the field to get as many points as possible, a fun race and plenty of overtaking. Now they might as well hang around at the back and do some testing, it’s the only chance they’ll get!

  • Comment number 67.

    Hi all,

    I'll come back a bit later with something more considered, but just to correct Sean_Bath's thought that I've counted Prost's title tally under a medal system wrongly, this is the situation.

    He won in 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1993. Under the medal system, he would have won in 1981, '83 and '84, would have kept 1985, lost 1986 to Mansell, lost 1989 to Senna, but still won 1993. So his titles would be 1981, '82, '83, '84, '85 and 1993 - which makes five, as I said initially.

    This is the full list, with actual champions listed first and medal champions listed second:

    1950 Farina Farina

    1951 Fangio Fangio

    1952 Ascari Ascari

    1953 Ascari Ascari

    1954 Fangio Fangio

    1955 Fangio Fangio

    1956 Fangio Fangio

    1957 Fangio Fangio

    1958 Hawthorn Moss

    1959 Brabham Brabham

    1960 Brabham Brabham

    1961 P.Hill P.Hill

    1962 G.Hill G.Hill

    1963 Clark Clark

    1964 Surtees Clark

    1965 Clark Clark

    1966 Brabham Brabham

    1967 Hulme Clark

    1968 G.Hill G.Hill

    1969 Stewart Stewart

    1970 Rindt Rindt

    1971 Stewart Stewart

    1972 Fittipaldi Fittipaldi

    1973 Stewart Stewart

    1974 Fittipaldi Fittipaldi

    1975 Lauda Lauda

    1976 Hunt Hunt

    1977 Lauda Andretti

    1978 Andretti Andretti

    1979 Scheckter Jones

    1980 Jones Jones

    1981 Piquet Prost

    1982 Rosberg Pironi

    1983 Piquet Prost

    1984 Lauda Prost

    1985 Prost Prost

    1986 Prost Mansell

    1987 Piquet Mansell

    1988 Senna Senna

    1989 Prost Senna

    1990-2007 all the same.

    2008 Hamilton Massa.

  • Comment number 68.

    I had lost interest in F1 totally for the last 10 years after having watched it regularly since 1982, but had been getting interested again lately. I even managed to catch the Melbourne race last year while in Australia. But this stupid change to the points system is madness. I just don't see how this is an improvement, it grates and is seriously ruining my anticipation of the new season - I was excited and now I'm just thinking "why bother?".

    As for the two tier structure in 2010 - 2011, that's is utter madness. Cost savings could be found in other ways than this crap. I'm all for controlling budgets so that teams with less money are able to get a look-in - in fact with the number of teams decreasing F1 needs to address this urgently - but not with this mish-mash of utter stupidity. As the blog points out most teams publish their annual accounts the year AFTER the season has finished so how on earth would you enforce it? Despite which Ferrari, McLaren and others will just get crafty with the accounting. It's a mind boggling bit of madness.

    I was looking forward to it all, but now I'm just incensed.

  • Comment number 69.

    One thing I don't quite get is what happens if one driver manages to win 6 or 7 races but then doesn't finsh the rest of the year, while the guy whos 2nd is consistant and finishes all the races but only wins 5? Surely all races in the season should count?

  • Comment number 70.

    I think this is yet another change for the sake of change. BERNIE LEAVE IT ALONE!

    The existing rule changes to the cars are designed to promote overtaking. However, before these changes have been given time to reflect, we have this change as well.

    By making these changes to winning, F1 could be killed off by mid season just as much as the points system. I believe 10 points for a win and 6 points for second gave enough motivation in the first place to pass for the win.

    Who will Bernie attract with these rule changes? I suppose the existing legion of fans is not enough for Bernie’s pockets. We will now have no comparability to previous seasons winners who won via points. Well done Bernie you have ruined the season for the sake of one GP race spectacle, of which there is no guarantee will be improved!

  • Comment number 71.

    Excellent article.

    How will the FIA handle a large expense, for instance moving offices a la McLaren or the installation of a new wind tunnel. Both of these would be long-term expenditure, although having an impact on that season's car.


    I wouldn't mind a cap, but for the technical sport that is F1, is needs to be higher - that's what Sunderland spent for 1 season in the premiership!

  • Comment number 72.

    67. At 2:57pm on 18 Mar 2009, Andrew Benson - BBC Sport wrote:

    ........... So his titles would be 1981, '82, '83, '84, '85 and 1993 - which makes five, as I said initially.

    Is this not six years?

  • Comment number 73.

    What is FOTA doing, where are the Braves of old!!!!!
    F1 back to the Fans!!!!!!!
    Bernie & Max, you are killing the sport!!!

    I trully hope we get a break away formula.

  • Comment number 74.

    Could be all academic - the title might be won by the team who can change a front wing the fastest, carbon fibre hell with those new wings!

  • Comment number 75.

    TFH - The flaw in the counting is that whatever system you run Prost doesn't win the title in 1982 - It was either ROsberg (pts) or Peroni (wins) so it makes 5 just that Andrew has listed 6!

  • Comment number 76.

    Thinking about the £30M thing...

    I'm wondering if this is all a reaction to the Honda sale problem. Even Ross Brawn, as an F1-supremo and with a developed car handed to him (almost) on a plate, couldn't get a team going without a £100M kick from Honda (and, reputedly, Bernie).

    Even Branson didn't want to get involved. So what hope is there for *any* new team starting up?

    If Bernie & Max are paranoid about some of the current teams leaving, then they have to open it up to get new teams in. And what better way than to set a cap at a level that could be funded entirely within the prize money & TV funds?

    I now don't think this is a cap aimed at any of the current teams. It's something aimed at getting new blood into the sport (although I hesitate to call it that with FIA last-minute interventions)

  • Comment number 77.

    Did Bernie really come up with this daft idea after a single race (ie Hamilton driving for 5th in Brazil)???

    Anyone else wanna have a guess at the number of front wings that come off around the 1st corner of Melbourne? I'll get the ball rolling and expect at least 10.

    The cars look a right mess too... What have they done???

  • Comment number 78.

    Why not just give extra points for a win? Why complicate matters?

    This chopping and changing seems ludicrous and pointless. Fully agree with cutting costs so all teams can compete on a more equal footing but I really think F1 should go right back to basics and have everyone in the same car. Then we would see a real scrap at each race.

    I think with this latest 'effort' from BE that F1 is on a slippery slope to the dustbin.

    Does this bloke 'consult' with anyone before he makes these bizarre decisions?

    At least it's back on the BBC and won't be interrupted by adverts although I'll miss Brundle.

  • Comment number 79.

    The best are the best for the simple reason that they are the best. That will mean that the title will go to the best because they will adapt to a new system both the quickest and more efficiently. That said I agree with a couple of comentators here that we are likely to see a few more last corner dust ups where the guy running secomd has nothing to loose. I hope we dont get the alternate scenario where someone has won the title with 8 or so races left on the callender.

    Its the usual story overall though and seemingly prevalent in every sport we try to watch, interfering by administrators desparate to screw every last penny of personal wealth out of anyone who has money to spend. I hate that aspect of sport and despair we will never again see true 'sportsmanship' or character ever again.

  • Comment number 80.

    For me, the wins vs points thing is stupid. Most years the winner of more races wins the championship and even last year the man who finished first the most times won the championship(although his win at Spa was discredited).

    The cost cutting is going too far. F1 is and always has been the pinnacle of motorsport, the place where the big boys go, in the fastest, most technologically advanced cars. If we want budget caps, and low tech, we'd all be watching touring cars. F1 is in danger of commiting professional suicide if it follows this too far, and I dare say that talk of setting up a rival could resurface. I know they have a contract, but frankly, if Ferrari, McLaren and BMW decide to set up a rival series, whilst racing toy cars in F1 to see out the agreement, then they will. Bernie and Max have taken the golden goose out the back and are slowly wringing it's neck!

  • Comment number 81.

    "Likewise, Nigel Mansell would be a three-time champion instead of simply having his single title in 1992 - probably a fairer reflection of his ability and status.

    On the other side of the coin, three-time winner Nelson Piquet would not have won any titles, which seems fair enough given the men who would have won them instead (Prost twice and Mansell)."

    That is quite simply two of the most hideously biased paragraphs I've ever read.

    Good theme, shocking article.

  • Comment number 82.

    It's theoretically possible under this new proposal to have 17 drivers become joint champion on 10 points if they all won 1 race each and then failed to finish in the remaining 16 races. If one of the other 3 drivers came second in every race they would amass 126 more points than the 'champions' but would not be deemed worthy of the title!

  • Comment number 83.

    Surely it's pointless to make the argument of "what would have happened" were the current rules in place in previous years. Were the current rules in place, the strategies of drivers and their teams would have been correspondingly different - presumably drivers would have been much more aggressive with their tactics for a start.

  • Comment number 84.

    Max Mosely is 68, Bernie Ecclestone is 78.

    They should forget about their own egos, retire to some old folks home, and let F1 be run be younger fresher minds more in touch with F1 fans.

  • Comment number 85.

    'Mosley and Ecclestone have made little secret that they want absolute control over a low-tech, low-budget category in which essentially similar cars are differentiated more or less only by different colour schemes.'

    That is 1 of the most worrying parts........we could effectively end up with a slightly faster version of GP2, but everything still be low cost, low tech, spec parts etc, which isn't what F1 is about. BE and MM need to go ASAP as they're doing nothing but killing the sport with their visions for the future.

  • Comment number 86.

    This really is a shame. Fixing a problem that doesn't exist. Why on earth they rejected the (much more sensible) idea of increasing the points given for a win and went for this idea is beyond me.

    I was really looking forward to the race this weekend but this debacle has left a sour taste. Shame on you Bernie and Max.

  • Comment number 87.

    A couple of interesting anograms of Bernie Ecclestone.

    Obese Licence Rent
    Belie Erect Nonces

  • Comment number 88.

    I cannot see any benefit in most wins system!

    Is this Bernie fighting back because a driver in a red car didn't win last year. His biased knows no bounds.

    A much better system would have been a bigger points differential for the race places, also additional points for pole and fastest lap would make things a little more interesting.

    We so need another team to help break the Mclaren/Ferrari stranglehold which is killing the sport.

    I'm praying for a miracle in the shape of BrawnGP

    Bernie/Max, please retire, you've made your money, if you love the sport (which I doubt) walk away!

  • Comment number 89.

    Andrew Benson is correct that an early unbeatable number of wins would kill off any interest in the end of the championship, from TV, the public or the teams. The effectiveness of the rules about teams being forced to compete until the end of the Championship would surely be tested. The other complication which they will have to face is that a completely dominant team ( such as Ferrari in 2002 and 2004 ) would have no incentive to encourage their drivers to go on racing each other for a 'real' result. The Championship would be decided in the team motor-home. This is a typical Mosley/Ecclestone ill thought-out idea, which will contribute very little to the business ( not sport ) of Formula 1.

  • Comment number 90.

    Sign this petition against the new points system it has 10,000 signatures after only a day.

    The most shocking thing about the rule changes is not their outcome but the complete disdain they showed towards FOTA, it appears Mosley decided these proposals before FOTA's roadmap. When the roadmap did come out it was completely ignored. I always used to hate the idea of a breakaway series, but FOTA may be left with no choice.

    I have to say I agree with the comment 81, there was no need for Andrew to be so biased against Piquet and towards Mansell. I hope he won't be showing that kind of bias all season towards British drivers.

    PS I know the petition like those above are often futile, but occastional substantial petitions can make a difference if they gain media attention. This petition has the potential to get tens of thousands of signaturies in the space of a few days, keeping the outrage about the idea in the news.

  • Comment number 91.

    This is just a rediculous idea as I can see as soon as a driver gets a little behind the leader then he just gives up as there is no benefit in chasing for points and wearing out his car. This will not help overtaking but exactly the opposite.

  • Comment number 92.

    @JPBolton (39)

    "Perhaps a good way to illustrate the problem with the new rule is that in 1996 Panis would have moved from 9th in the DC to 4th. He would have been one place ahead of Jean Alesi despite 'losing' to Jean with 13 points against 47. "

    I don't think this is the case, as I understand it, the number of wins only decides first place in the championship. All the other places are decided on points as usual. Therefore Panis would still have finished in the same position.

    I still don't like the idea though.

  • Comment number 93.

    @EvilPix (82)

    "It's theoretically possible under this new proposal to have 17 drivers become joint champion on 10 points if they all won 1 race each and then failed to finish in the remaining 16 races. If one of the other 3 drivers came second in every race they would amass 126 more points than the 'champions' but would not be deemed worthy of the title!"

    Also not true, if drivers are tied on number of wins, the one with most points finishes ahead.

  • Comment number 94.

    Nothing other than tradition matters. Giving the changes that have evolved in technology, it is still as even a playing ground as can be expected. We mustnt change rules everytime somebody feels that he/she or it knows better.

  • Comment number 95.

    Andrew, firstly I must congratulate you on another excellent contribution.

    The new 'winner takes all' system fills me with both conflict and confusion.

    Firstly, the conflict, I like the idea of rewarding boldness and bravery. I like the fact that we probably would have had on, several occasions (including last season), more deserving World Champions. I also think that it may actually give us more diverse strategies as teams with little expectation of victory try something radical, instead of fueling to secure 3rd. On the other hand, I know casual viewers to be what Bernie is aiming at, I can't see how a rewarding the man who wins the most races while still having a points system as offering the clarity or consistency that casual viewers crave. I can see World Championships being even more subject to stewards decisions and finally I can see mixed messages.

    Even I am confused by some of the messages.
    1) How can the FIA who last season punished several bold moves now be encouraging perhaps even boulder ones. For instance, Hamilton's move at the start of the Japanese GP was punished but surely this rule change has been bought in to encourage drivers to be more daring. So if Lewis goes for a win with a similarly bold move in '09, what will the FIA do? Laud the success of the rule change as it has encouraged 'entertainment'? or still punish him, even though their justification of the rule changes was 'entertainment'?

    2)The FIA talk about cost-cutting and making the sport more open to independents. Surely if the winner takes all, the chances of the plucky underdog who gets an early season advantage and then holds-on of winning the WC diminish. In 2003, we had a title that went to the wire, but under this system, Montoya in the Williams would have been long out of the title race (as would Raikkonen). As a result, we had an entertaining race as Raikkonen and Montoya fought to win while Schummi charged for a single point. The season would have had a dull conclusion and the smaller team (Williams) and the young charger (Raikkonen) would have been precluded from being potentially rewarded for driving fine seasons.

    There are more conflicts on my mind, but I've already taken-up too much time and space. I can't decide if this change is good or not for the sport, therefore I guess that if there is no clear vindication for changing a winning formula, then I have to conclude that there is no point to it. If the old system was broken then we'd be dealing with a different animal!

  • Comment number 96.

    "The best justification for the new system is that, had it been in place for the entire history of F1, it would have left a list of champions that is more satisfying to the purist than the actual list."


    I disagree. It's just easy to say this in hindsight. Had this new wins system been in place since day one, teams and drivers would have had a different approach which would not necessarily have led to the same race results. Brazil '08 being the most obvious example.

    What I do agree with is that with all this fiddling and tweaking, Max and Bernie are slowly but surely turning F1 into some sort of Global Speed Circus… now I hear the British GP is no longer safe (again)!

    It's time for FOTA to stand up and make a long-term committment to do its own series.

  • Comment number 97.

    This is just a ploy by Bernie to ensure that Ferarri win the championship

  • Comment number 98.

    Taking comment 91 a bit further... if a driver is competing for the championship and has no hope of winning the race from their qualifying position, they may decide to not race, conserving the engine which now has to last 3 races. Probably an unlikely scenario given the teams will want the points but still worth mentioning.

  • Comment number 99.

    I think this is a veeerrrry silly idea. This will introduce all sorts of problems. firstly, it means that a driver competing for the wolrd championship has no incentive to finish high up unless he is going to win the race...e.g. if hamilton is 18th and is a lap behind massa, wheras before he would chase and chase to try and salvage a few points, now he might as well retire and save his engine, as he can't get anything meaningful anyway.

    It also encourages tactical disruption and means the races will be less competitive in the middle of the points. Plus, what is wrong with finishing consistently near the front, but not winning? in my eyes Kubica was a better driver than Massa last year because he got consistently near the front...i think lots of podiums is far more impressive than a few wins.

    The FIA scare me. They are never very impartial and dont seem to have their priorities right. If they wanted to value wins more why not simply increase the points for a win? it could be calibrated so it is very difficult to win the championship without winning plenty of races. (e.g 12, 8.....)

  • Comment number 100.

    They've lost the plot. Racing's never been JUST about winning. It's also about reliability and consistency perhaps with a car that isn't the fastest of the bunch


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