Ecclestone wants to change points system

Bernie Ecclestone’s musings have a habit of becoming law in a split-second, so you tend to take him seriously when he says something like this:

To me, it should be all about winning. The driver who wins the most races in the season should be the world champion. It’s as simple as that. Second places should only come into the reckoning if both drivers win the same amount of races.

I agree with him wholeheartedly – and here’s why.

Bernie Ecclestone, 2006Regular readers will know this issue is a hobby horse of mine (see the links below).

The case in favour is exactly as simple as Ecclestone states. No one is interested in coming second – winning is all that matters. Surely we all want to see every driver pushing for victory, rather than settling back and accepting a ‘safe’ second place?

Rather than fiddling about with the points system to achieve this, championship points should be ditched entirely, and the championship given to the driver with the most wins. Then, as Ecclestone says, “Second places only come into the reckoning if both drivers win the same amount of races.”

I know a lot of people are unconvinced about this. A lot of people have complained that it doesn’t punish failure to finish.

But I’m entirely in favour of dropping championship points. Awarding the championship to the driver who has the ‘most best finishes’ is exactly the kind of efficient logic that the F1 rule book lacks in almost every respect.

F1 forums across the net regularly buzz with discussions about what the best points system would be. I say the best system is no system at all – give the championship to the driver with the most wins.

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12 comments on Ecclestone wants to change points system

  1. Actually, I’ve heard enough crap from a lot of NASCAR types that would absolutely adore such a system. They’d be able to throw away that stupid ‘Chase’ format with it.

    Now, I think it’s possible to mess with the points in a mathematical way to ensure the same result (make a win worth an astronomical amount of points) because there’s a good reason to keep the points system around: The remnant ‘privateer’ teams.

    Consider last year’s season: if all we keep track of is wins, and if team orders altering the outcome of a race are forbidden, then there is no reason for there to be more than two cars on the track by July.

    This is a sign of the two-faced joke that F1 can be sometimes: all these regulations to make sure Super Aguri and Torro Rosso might actually get a point someday, but all that will really matter will be the team with a driver in first?

    Pick a story and stay with it.

    I think every car left running should be guaranteed at least a point, and cars not running at finish should get nothing. Make the points values from last to first exponential and then it becomes nearly impossible to win on second place finishes.

    Best wishes

  2. jtm said on 13th March 2007, 1:33

    I’ve been critical of this proposal in the past, but I think I am starting to come around to your point of view. I do think, however, that the constructors championship should stay a points race and not a wins race, which I believe is what Bernie is pitching.

  3. If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Can you name me a champion that didn’t deserve to be so? The existing system works well enough so let’s leave well enough alone (now THAT would be a first for the FIA).

  4. Mike said on 13th March 2007, 13:46

    A system awarding the championship to the driver with the most wins might work in a series like NASCAR, which has lots of winners from a long season. However, the dominance of car performance over driver skill in F1 means very few drivers get the chance to win in any given season. A run of four or five wins from a dominant driver could effectively kill the title race by mid season. A winner takes all approach would also penalise a driver who is able to drag his car further up the order than it deserves to be by rewarding him with nothing. Having said that, the points gap between first and second is currently too small. Second should pay no more than two thirds of first’s score.

  5. Sigmund said on 13th March 2007, 17:03

    I think they simply should have left it as it were in 2002. 10-6-4-3-2-1 sounds good to me.

    Just let all the teams receive TV money, also the teams not able to score points in a season.

  6. Number 38 said on 13th March 2007, 21:46

    1) Chunter says, “I think every car left running should be guaranteed at least a point”
    2) Clive says, “If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
    3) Mike says, “the dominance of car performance over driver skill in F1 means very few drivers get the chance to win in any given season. A run of four or five wins from a dominant driver could effectively kill the title race”
    4) Sigmund says, “I think they simply should have left it as it were”
    5) and #38 adds a similar thought, “leave things alone.”
    That’s 5 of 6 who see Bernie’s plan as foolish, do you think he really cares? Consider this: Massa 5 wins, Alonso 4 wins, Kimi 1 win, Fisi 1 win …………..10 races, the season is essentially over. At that point does anyone think Massa or Alonso will NOT win another race, does anyone think Button is suddenly going to win 6 in a row. From the 11th race on there will be no interest in F1! If the lesser Teams don’t withdraw, the ‘fans’ surely will.
    Number 38

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th March 2007, 21:50

    I don’t understand your example: 5+4+1+1=11 races, not 10? And in this example the season wouldn’t be ‘over’ in terms of public interest – either Massa or Alonso could be champion?

  8. Number 38 said on 14th March 2007, 20:42

    AH! At least Keith read my posting closely enough to pick up the math error (I intended Alonso 3) but he can’t see that the season would be over??? Keith….et al, this discussion concerned Bernie’s plan of winner take all, no points for 2nd, 3rd, etc. If, at mid season, Massa and Alonso have 5 and 4 (or 3) wins each, the season is OVER! There would be no interest in the others, others who CAN NOT WIN! At that point we may as well just run two car races, Massa’s Ferrari, Alonso’s McLaren and let the rest stay home. There is a public poll concerning this question on the PitPass site…….Bernie’s idea was voted down 83% to 15%.
    Common sense would dictate Bernie should be enhancing the event, to discount the 20 lesser drivers with NO points surely is NOT ‘enhancement’!!!

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th March 2007, 21:02

    Ah – I think I understand your point better now.

    Rather than just awarding wins and nothing else, my idea was to rank drivers by their results, for example:

    1. Raikkonen, 3 wins, 0 seconds, 1 third, 0 fourths
    2. Alonso, 2 wins, 1 second, 1 third, 0 fourths
    3. Massa, 0 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third, 1 fourth
    4. Hamilton, 0 wins, 0 seconds, 1 third, 3 fourths
    etc…

    So other drivers would still have a ranking in the championship based on their lower placings in races, but the championship would go to the driver who had the most wins (or most wins + seconds in the event of a tie, etc…)

    I gave a couple of examples here:

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2007/01/03/the-argument-against-championship-points-iii/

  10. Number 38 said on 15th March 2007, 5:39

    Welcome back…..BUT……the article title and discussion was “Ecclestone wants to change points system”, it wasn’t about YOUR plan for a points change.
    Your plan may have merit, Bernie’s plan doesn’t! The Ecclestone plan just plain stinks. It doesn’t take into account CONSISTANCY which is very much a part of F1. Consider : “A” wins 9 races and finishes 3rd in the other 9; “B” wins the other 9 races and finishes 3rd in the first 9;
    “C” finished 2nd in all 18 races. By Bernie’s method “C” has no score and is therefore worthless but to a 100,000 fans in the stands, without “C” there would have been no ‘excitement’! This discussion can go on and on until the Pub closes and we’re all sent home.
    In the end ….. the current scheme works. A toast to Clive, “why fix what ain’t broke”?

  11. Well, Ecclestone said: “Second places should only come into the reckoning if both drivers win the same amount of races.”

    It’s not a million miles away from what I suggested, and I would be very surprised if the eight teams who didn’t win a race last year agreed to a system where only wins counted. And I do think I flagged up pretty clearly that I was writing about something I’d covered earlier.

    As you say we could argue about it until the cows come home.

    But as for “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” – no, I can’t agree on that. Today, five second places are worth the same as four wins. That’s not right and needs fixing.

  12. Number 38 said on 15th March 2007, 14:41

    Hey Keith, it’s just you and I,
    “Alonso and Massa” going at it and see what happens, your readers have lost interest. I WIN !!! The Pub is closed.
    Tomorrow let’s start a thread about QUALIFYING.

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