Prizes for places, not points

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella, Shanghai, 2006Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso are tied in the championship battle. But as many are pointing out, Schumacher actually leads the championship as he has seven wins this year to Alonso’s six.

This is perfectly logical – and it leads to a logical question: Instead of using ‘most highest finishes’ as a tie-breaker, why not use them to decide all championship positions? Why not do away with championship points altogether?

Here’s how the championship top six would look ranked by ‘most highest finishes’.

Driver New rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Real rank Points
Michael
Schumacher
1 7 4 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 116
Fernando
Alonso
2 6 6 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 116
Felipe
Massa
3 1 2 2 2 3 0 1 0 4 62
Giancarlo
Fisichella
4 1 0 3 3 1 5 0 1 3 63
Jenson
Button
5 1 0 1 4 1 1 1 0 6 45
Kimi
Raikkonen
6 0 2 4 1 3 0 0 0 5 57

The most profound change would be that a win would become immensely more valuable. A driver with 18 second places would still trail a driver with a single victory to his name.

It would be simpler and, arguably, fairer – particularly to drivers who suffer an occasional car failure.

Jenson Button, Honda, Hungaroring, 2006Championship points are an arbitrary construction: Saying that so-and-so ir eight points ahead of such-and-such has no meaning unless you know how many points every position is worth and all the rest of it.

But saying ‘Schumacher has seven wins, Alonso six’ has instant resonance and impact – like a football score it is clear what the situation is even out of context.

It’s an elegantly simple idea. But it’s probably just too simple to be taken seriously. The FIA and team bosses only seem to go for cripplingly complicated solutions, like engine homologation and three-part fuel-credit qualifying systems.

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