F1 points and costs on WMSC agenda

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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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