F1 points and costs on WMSC agenda

The FIA is proposing radical cost-cutting measures to attract new teams

The FIA is proposing radical cost-cutting measures to attract new teams

The World Motor Sports Council meets today and will consider, among other things, FOTA’s proposal to increase the number of points scored by the winner in F1 races to 12.

Plans to further reduce F1 costs will also be considered. But which proposals will get the FIA’s stamp of approval?

Changing F1 points

FOTA wants to change F1’s points system from 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 to 12-9-7-5-4-3-2-1 – giving two more points to winners, and one more to the drivers who finish second and third.

As they have been at pains to point out, this has the backing of all ten of the F1 teams and, they claim, the majority of the sports fans. The FIA will have to have a good reason not to pass it if they don’t.

This move would go against the decision made in 2003 to reduce the points difference between first and second. This was a (poorly thought-out) reaction to Michael Schumacher winning the 2002 world championship on July 21st – the earliest it had ever been done in a season.

I would like to see the FIA go much further than what FOTA recommended and make the percentage difference between first and second much closer to what it was in 2002. For example:

2002: 10 points vs 6 points (Second place worth 60% of a win)
2003-8: 10 points vs 8 points (Second place worth 80% of a win)
2009 (FOTA proposal): 12 points vs 9 points (Second place worth 75% of a win)
2009 (my proposal): 15 points vs 10 points (Second place worth 66% of a win)

Cutting F1 costs

It seems you can’t put two F1 people in a room together right now without them talking about how to make the sport cheaper.

Today we could find out just how far Max Mosley is prepared to push his cost-cutting agenda. In essence, we’re likely to see the ‘customer cars’ argument re-visited, albeit with slightly different terms and a different name too. Mosley wants to make sure the USF1s and maybe even the Prodrives of the world can step in shore up the grid.

A very brief statement from the FIA hinted at what to expect:

If adopted by the World Motor Sport Council, the new regulations will enable a team to compete for a fraction of current budgets but nevertheless field cars which can match those of the established teams.

Allowing teams with smaller budgets than the manufacturers to keep up with them on the track? You have to ask yourself how many car makers will be willing to go along with that. And so it’s not difficult to read this statement as the FIA admitting it expects to see more manufacturers leave the sport.

Already this week we’ve heard how the Toyota board considered pulling its F1 team and has slashed its budget for 2009. F1 costs clearly need to get under control and it’s not clear whether enough has been done yet.

There are two significant things Mosley could do to ease the teams’ financial burden: he could agree to FOTA’s proposal that the teams use standard Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems in 2009 – backing down on his previous desire for F1 to become a test bed for KERS development. Conversely, he could demand Ecclestone gives more money to the teams.

Either of these would be controversial and surprising. Let’s see what comes out of the meeting.

But what we definitely don’t want is the FIA agreeing to FOTA’s nonsense idea that F1 races should be shorter.

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32 comments on F1 points and costs on WMSC agenda

  1. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th March 2009, 8:33

    More from GrandPrix.com:

    the FIA is proposing that teams choose between that route and going on a completely different tack and accepting a budget cap of perhaps $40m a year but being allowed technological freedom to develop whatever they can for a certain amount of money. In order to balance the two approaches the FIA would have to be allowed the right to tinker with the rules to get the right equivalency.

    I don’t believe a budget cap would work.

    • Me too … FIA don’t show capability to control regulations … too many flows …

    • Tim said on 17th March 2009, 9:56

      I agree that a budget cap is unworkable. With some many different funding streams coming into and out of F1 it would be virtually impossible to make sure everyone has a level playing field. It switches the emphasis from having the cleverest engineers to having the cleverest accountants.

  2. schumi the greatest said on 17th March 2009, 9:04

    I think the customer car idea is one that perhaps with the global economy the way it is, needs to be seriously looked at to secure the financial future of the sport.

    I think that if the fia opened up 2 more places on the grid for cusomter teams, where they bought chassis/engines/gearbox etc from the established manafacturers but they wouldnt be included in the constructors championship.

    something has to be done.

    15 years ago the only manafcaturer with a team was ferrari, everyone else bought their engines and just developed their own chassis. the teams need to get back to this because the manafacturers will only stay for as long as it suits their budgets and pr’s.

    • DGR-F1 said on 17th March 2009, 12:24

      I don’t see why the whole thing cannot be opened up completely so that a team, with a set budget can decide which engine/chassis/gearbox/tyre combination they want.
      This would allow other engine and chassis makers into the sport, as all the manufacturers would have to develop at a price determined by what the teams are willing to spend. This also allows the Manufacturers who are having trouble staying in F1 to reduce their involvement, but still be connect to a team or teams.
      If the team can afford to do it all themselves, then fine, they can, but if not then why not have complete freedom of choice.
      FOTA/FOM/FIA can lay down the ‘specifications’ for each component, and which parts are to be ‘standard’ on all cars, and after that, it will be what the budget decides is possible.
      And as for teams with ‘customer’ cars or engines not being counted in the Manufacturers Championship, all you need to do is say its the Team Championship instead!

  3. IDR said on 17th March 2009, 9:05

    Keith,

    I’m wondering how and why you go through this percentages… 66% better than 80% 75%, or 60%.

    Probably I’m missing something maybe because I’m not a stats genious.

    I’m a little lump on this, but I think what Fans want is more incentives for overtaking, so, pay with more points those drivers who overtake others in track during the race.

    Related to FOM’s rights and money for the teams, I couldn’t agree more.

    The realistic way should be FOTA buys FOM´s rights and make a distribution along all teams… and circuits, of net profits. Well, I would say realistic in one way, but I would like to see FOTA agreeing a “realistic” way for distributing net profits!!

    • Scott Joslin said on 17th March 2009, 10:04

      IDR – regarding your points idea, you would then get drivers deliberatly qualifying last to try and make points up on by over taking slower cars – This would be very gimmicky and artificial. What the points system is trying to do is stop people being content with being 2nd 3rd or 4th and trying to get them to take the risk.

      FOTA buy FOM’s (aka Bernie’s) rights – err nice idea but I don’t think the teams have a couple of billion at their disposal – they are struggling to find enough to race their own teams for now.

    • I wouldn’t mind so much if one driver qualifies 4th or 5th with the intention of making more points overtaking.

      My idea is not give them free points, is give them points from the car which is overtaked, so, there is no point to qualify at the bottom just to take points overtaking poor performance cars.

  4. I wish they would just go back to the pre-Schumacher dominance point system.

    They are swinging from one extreme to another. A driver wins the championship too early so they make the point differential less. Now they are upset that wins are not rewarded enough and are trying to make the differential more. If this season the WDC is wrapped up with 2 races to go, there will be calls to mess with the points system again.

  5. mkh1 said on 17th March 2009, 9:36

    The budget cap system is the best solution as it reduces the costs without changing the most fundamental part of F1.

  6. patrickl said on 17th March 2009, 9:38

    FOTA explained why they went for the smaller relative difference between 1st and 2nd. It’s a compromise between awarding drivers for first place and not making the gap too big to keep the competition (mathematically) exciting.

  7. I’m fairly happy with FOTA’s proposal for the difference in points between first and second. If the difference is too high then the championship can be won early in the season; too low and people don’t go for the win.

    I’d like to see the points extended further down the finishers. The proposals see anybody 8th or above get points. However, there are a number of teams which struggle to reach 8th and they end up with very few points at the end of the season. Extending the points down to finishers who are say 12th (or maybe as far as 15th) might give make it easier to compare the lower teams. Anybody who failed to finish or was below say 12th wouldn’t get any points. If this means a points system of say 16-13-11-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 so be it.

  8. Regarding points, I seriously don’t understand why the FIA or FOM or FOTA can’t just revert to the 1991-2002 system of 10-6-4-3-2-1. There’s nothing wrong in admitting a mistake. However, 12-9-7 sounds good to me, too.

    On cost cuts, I’m afraid teams will always spend whatever they can get their hands on. Whether that’s €10m, €50m or €300m. The FIA wants to come up with rules that enable teams with smaller budgets (in the €50m bracket), so larger-budget teams spending a multitude of that (until 2008, Toyota with almost half a billion dollars per annum), do not gain too much by spending such an amount.

    Now, I for one would like to see that happen. I would not like to see it happen through standardisation, though, and just that seems to ben on the FIA’s mind.

    So if you can’t enforce rules to enable teams to be competitive at a smaller budget without taking the essence of Formula One apart, I’m all for budget caps. And I’ll leave it to the really smart people to come up with a way to enfore that cap.

  9. todd said on 17th March 2009, 10:26

    if there was a budget cap – all of a sudden there would be ‘3rd party’ companies building front wings and selling them to 1 specific team for $1. (the 3rd party company being someway owned by the team).

    you get what i mean, million ways around a budget cap.

    • So you set fixed prices that must be paid for any set part from a 3rd party and this has to be agreed by all teams, also state that any 3rd party suppliers must make their parts available to all teams on the grid for the same price…

    • Of course there are ways around a budget cap. If you state that the FIA must prove the participant has broken the rules. If you make the participants prove that they comply with the budget cap rules, it would be a bit easier to monitor. But that’s just my €0.02.

  10. Damon said on 17th March 2009, 10:30

    And what about this simple solution:
    10-7-5-4-3-2-1

    70% of a win for the second place, which is a desirable amount. And it’s a perfect compromise between the pre-Schumi 60% and the 80% of today’s system. It’s similar to the pre-2003 system in that there are 10 points for the winner (which feels like the best number possible for a win), but it awards not 6, but 7 drivers.
    In a field of only 20 cars, awarding 7 drivers (35% of the field) with points seems very appropriate.

  11. Pete Walker said on 17th March 2009, 11:30

    The new points system would be an improvement over what we have now and with the teams all behind it, I fully expect this one to be passed (unless there’s some surprise last-gasp plea from Bernie for a medals system).

    It does sound like we’re heading back towards a customer cars scenario but if it – or something similar – does happen it might just be for the short term, to carry the sport through the current economic climate.

    Budget caps? Well, if they *can* be fully policed, then those opened up car regulations sound mighty appealing… :)

  12. Robert McKay said on 17th March 2009, 11:31

    I’m all for a budget cap. I think if the teams want it to happen they’ll find a way to work out the details. It does seem to be basically that or drift ever closer to a spec-series which I doubt they’re going to like very much.

  13. _Ben_ said on 17th March 2009, 12:32

    A bit out of context but have any of you seen this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcXhatDrW6c

  14. Oliver said on 17th March 2009, 13:04

    Formula1 is a business. And the whole concept of business is growth. I have never seen where you tell a company they can only grow up to a certain level or where and how to invest their money.
    The bottom line is this, if you want to have limits on budget, then by all means adopt GP2 racing format. That way we can have a universal racing format with cost limit. Then also have a league system so teams can drop out of the top tier of they are the lowest placed.

    Of course thats ridiculous, but why are we preoccupied with trying to prolong the life of the existing teams? Isn’t the concept of change, life and death normal also in business? There will always exist teams that will prosper, and those that will flounder. Lets make the rules as such that it makes for the building of simple and competitive race cars such that, it would be pointless spending hundreds of millions seeking an extra micro second. Then allow the teams to run their business high up or to the ground.

  15. A Singh said on 17th March 2009, 13:04

    The points system needs to be as follows:

    11 pts for first
    8 pts for second

    etc.

    + 1 pt for fastest lap

    If the winner gets fastest lap he gets a 4 pt advantage (as pre 2003) but if second place man gets fastest lap he gets 9 pts. This will reward the winner whilst keeping the championship close: a 3rd place Massa for example may push for fastest lap if Hamilton is in second for example.

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