Bernie Ecclestone talks some sense

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Bernie Ecclestone, Red Bull, 2008, 470150

Bernie Ecclestone is talking about getting rid of championship points:

What I want to see is the winner of the most number of races as world champion, and second places only to be used if the top two finish the season with the same number of wins. The constructors would keep the existing system.

And you know what? He’s dead right.

Ecclestone reckons, “the key word in motor racing is ‘racing’. And right now there are not enough overtaking manoeuvres in the sport because drivers are happy not to take risks and claim second place because it is only two points less than winning the race.”

I don’t think that’s true all of the time – but I do think it’s true in certain championship scenarios.

A good example is 2005. With four races to go, Fernando Alonso led Kimi Raikkonen by 103points to 76. With a 27 point margin Alonso needed only 14 points (three fifths and a sixth) to be sure of the title. The title was something of a foregone conclusion.

But if the championship was to have been decided by who won the most races, it would have been much more open: Alonso had six wins to Raikkonen’s five, so he would have had to keep beating Raikkonen to be sure of staying ahead.

I’ve argued this case quite a few times. Here are some examples looking at the 2006 F1 championship, other racing series (and again here), and why the current points system doesn’t work (and some more thoughts on that).

This discussion often leads to people suggesting all manner of different points systems. But I think all points systems are flawed because they over-reward reliability and consistency when the first and foremost thing that matters is winning.

That the current points system is ridiculous and was introduced as a knee-jerk reaction to stop Michael Schumacher winning championships in July hardly needs to be argued. Had it been used in 1999 Eddie Irvine would have been champion

Getting rid of the points system and awarding the drivers’ title to whoever won the most races would encourage teams to be more radical in their approaches to racing and make F1 more unpredictable. It would make the sport easier for non-fans to understand and more accessible.

Benie’s hit the nail on the head with this one.