Places not points revisited

Fernando Alonso, Renault, Suzuka, 2006Before the Japanese Grand Prix I described what I feel are the merits of doing away with championship points and intead giving the championship to the driver with the ‘most best finishes’.

Given the dramatic twist the championship took at Suzuka I think it’s worth having a second look at how the top six of the championship table would look going into the final round:

Driver New rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Real rank Points
Fernando
Alonso
1 7 6 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 126
Michael
Schumacher
2 7 4 1 0 1 1 0 1 2 116
Felipe
Massa
3 1 3 2 2 3 0 1 0 3 70
Giancarlo
Fisichella
4 1 0 4 3 1 5 0 1 4 69
Jenson
Button
5 1 0 1 5 1 1 1 0 6 50
Kimi
Raikkonen
6 0 2 4 1 4 0 0 0 5 61

Fernando Alonso, Renault, Suzuka, 2006Now the only change in position among the top six is that Jenson Button is ahead of Kimi Raikkonen by dint of his Hungarian Grand Prix win (which, lest we forget, could very easily have been Raikkonen’s).

But what it changes is the dynamic of the drivers’ championship. With seven wins each, each driver would be going into the final round knowing that the easiest way to win the title is to win the race (in fact for Schumacher that would be the only way of winning the championship).

To me that would promise more as a championship-deciding spectacle than Alonso nursing his Renault to eighth and hoping that Massa doesn’t try to have him off.

In the hypothetical constructors’ championship:

Constructor New rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Real rank Points
Ferrari 1 8 7 3 2 4 1 1 1 2 186
Renault 2 8 6 4 3 3 5 0 1 1 195

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2006The ‘most best finishes’ constructors’ championship sees the top two teams swapped around with Ferrari leading. But, as with the drivers’ championship, whichever team triumphed in Brazil would seize the championship.

In short, ‘most best finishes’ would give us a humdinger of a final round with both championships potentially being decided by which team wins the race.

A fair point was made in response to my previous post on this, that ‘most best finishes’ would not punish unreliability very strongly.

I agree that is true but, certainly for the drivers’ championship, I think it would actually be a positive thing. Was Alonso to blame for his car failures in Hungary and Italy? Or Schumacher for his in Japan? Clearly not – so why should that count so strongly against them in the drivers’ championship?

I still think that this system would be clearer, fairer and more meaningful than the current points method. But I’m always interested to hear counter-arguments…

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4 comments on Places not points revisited

  1. Simon Stiel said on 15th October 2006, 8:52

    Another point Keith. There have been some instances where drivers have inherited the win on the very last lap due to the leader suffering a problem no fault of their own. Damon Hill in Hungary 1997 and Mika Hakkinen in Spain 2001 spring into mind. Would you be in favour of awarding points for the most laps led as is the practice in IRL? This year it was a fight to the finish between Sam Hornish Jnr and Dan Wheldon.

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th October 2006, 15:52

    My point of view is that it should be as simple as possible.

    Starting from scratch, if you’re going to have 18 races to determine who is World Champion, what’s the best way of doing it? I would say it is to see whoever does best in all of the races, i.e. whoever gets the ‘most best finishes.

    The IRL is an interesting case – they give points for most laps led and other things. But at the end of the year that was all irrelevant – it came down to which driver won the most races.

    Raxing at its most fundamental is about winning: ‘second place is the first loser’. Making championships about who does the most winnins makes perfect sense.

  3. Simon Stiel said on 4th November 2006, 12:17

    Would you be in favour in rewarding drivers a point for fastest lap? Nico Rosberg drove the fastest lap on his debut in Bahrain but wasn’t rewarded for it and neither was Michael Schumacher in his final race.

  4. Simon Stiel said on 4th November 2006, 14:19

    Sorry to keep badgering you but some drivers have not focussed on just winning. Alain Prost was named The Professor and Niki Lauda was likened to a computer for their consistency rather than just focussing on winning. Michael Schumacher’s drive to second in Spain in 1994 despite being stuck in fifth gear has been described as brilliant as any of his victories. It’s an interesting proposal and it should be discussed but I feel it would devalue efforts like Schumacher’s in my opinion

    Thanks, and keep up the good work!

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