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, 13:55

    Full decision from the WMSC:

    A number of measures were agreed to help reduce costs and increase interest in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

    2009 Formula One Regulations


    The WMSC accepted the proposal from Formula One Management to award the drivers’ championship to the driver who has won the most races during the season. If two or more drivers finish the season with the same number of wins, the title will be awarded to the driver with the most points, the allocation of points being based on the current 10, 8, 6 etc. system.

    The rest of the standings, from second to last place, will be decided by the current points system. There is no provision to award medals for first, second or third place. The Constructors’ Championship is unaffected.

    The WMSC rejected the alternative proposal from the Formula One Teams’ Association to change the points awarded to drivers finishing in first, second and third place to 12, 9 and 7 points respectively.


    Teams will be allowed to carry out three one day young driver training tests between the end of the last event of the Championship and 31 December of the same year. Drivers are eligible only if they have not competed in more than two F1 World Championship Events in the preceding 24 months or tested a Formula One car on more than four days in the same 24 month period.

    Teams can also conduct eight one day aerodynamic tests carried out on FIA approved straight line or constant radius sites between 1 January 2009 and the end of the last Event of the 2009 Championship.


    The FIA will publish the weights of all cars after qualifying at each Event.

    For greater clarity for spectators and media, wet tyres have been renamed “intermediate” and extreme-weather tyres renamed “wet”.

    On the first day of practice all drivers must be available for autograph signing in their designated team space in the pit lane.

    All drivers eliminated in qualifying must make themselves available for media interviews immediately after the end of each session.

    Any driver retiring before the end of the race must make himself available for media interviews after his return to the paddock.

    All drivers who finish the race outside the top three must make themselves available immediately after the end of the race for media interviews.

    During the race every team must make at least one senior spokesperson available for interviews by officially accredited TV crews.

    A number of further amendments were adopted for the 2009 Technical Regulations. Full details will be available shortly on http://www.fia.com.

    2010 Formula One Regulations


    As an alternative to running under the existing rules, which are to remain stable until 2012, all teams will have the option to compete with cars built and operated within a stringent cost cap.

    The cost cap is £30m (currently approximately €33 or $42m). This figure will cover all expenditure of any kind. Anything subsidised or supplied free will be deemed to have cost its full commercial value and rigorous auditing procedures will apply.

    To enable these cars to compete with those from teams which are not subject to cost constraints, the cost-capped cars will be allowed greater technical freedom.

    The principal technical freedoms allowed are as follows:

    1. A more aerodynamically efficient (but standard) under body.
    2. Movable wings.
    3. An engine which is not subject to a rev limit or a development freeze.

    The FIA has the right to adjust elements of these freedoms to ensure that the cost-capped cars have neither an advantage nor a disadvantage when compared to cars running to the existing rules.

    Click here for a Q&A document regarding the 2010 cost cap.

    The Honda Racing F1 Team requested to change its name to the Brawn GP Formula One Team. The WMSC accepted this request on the basis that the team is, in effect, a new entry in the FIA Formula One World Championship. The contract the team had with the FIA was to run as ‘Honda’, which they are no longer in a position to do. However, the standard fee required for a new entry has been waived.

  2. ajokay said on 17th March 2009, 14:16

    “For greater clarity for spectators and media, wet tyres have been renamed “intermediate” and extreme-weather tyres renamed “wet””

    Good… about time, seeing as thats what everyone has been calling them for the past few years since the change anyway.

  3. Ronman said on 17th March 2009, 14:43

    great news on whoever wins more races is champ. but hang on a sec. this season looks to be a thriller… and if there will be a lot of different winners, expect a racket at the end of the season…. i would have prefered if they stuck to the 12-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 format…

    on the other hand, do you think this agreement has a retroactive effect, thus making Massa 2008 World Champ? no, well i had to try,,,

  4. Andrew said on 17th March 2009, 15:04

    I like everything in the “Media” section, that should make the teams and drivers a little more open or at least accessible.

    I just can not abide this race win business. F1 should be rewarding consistency, and winning more than everyone else but scoring fewer points is not consistency. Yes drivers should be attacking for race wins, but that’s why the suggestion was to make a race win worth more points, which makes a lot more sense than this. I’m thinking about Rosberg 1982, but I wonder how this would effect many championships.

    Above all, I was looking forward to seeing how the new technical regulations made this an interesting season, without the dilution from this stupid rule. What, as Ronman said, does it means if we get lots of winners? None of which have a particularly high points tally.

    Utter nonsense.

  5. all_laughs said on 17th March 2009, 16:29

    While I like the thought that someone who had the most wins gets the title, what happens if the driver who ties the champion loses the tiebreak, and ends up not finishing second in the rankings?

    • Matt said on 18th March 2009, 1:33

      Good point, that sure would be embarrassing for the sport.

      And how do they order the standings after each race? Order by wins first then points? The casual viewer will be confused seeing someone with say 20 points from 2 wins & a DNF listed above someone with 22 points from 1 win and 2 second places…

      Make the stupid little dwarf go away mummy, please!!

  6. Hallard said on 17th March 2009, 17:42

    The $30 mil optional buget cap is ridiculous and I cant believe they are doing it. Lets say hypothetically that Ferrari wins the constructors championship in 2009. That would mean that for 2010 they would have a pretty good car (as far as the ‘standard’ regulations are concerned anyway). So then they could opt to go with the budget cap in 2010, and spend the 30 mil enhancing an already fast car in these areas of greater “technical freedom”. On the other hand, a new team would have to start from scratch and develop a competitive car from the ground up for 30 million? NO WAY. We will not get any more new teams in F1 like this. Secondly, the FiA has implied that this technical freedom is variable, in order to keep things equal between budget-capped and non-budget-capped teams. So in essence they can change the rules if they think a team is winning too much??!! Please tell me this is a bad dream…

  7. Jay Menon said on 18th March 2009, 1:42

    Yeah I’m with Hallard on this. This rule is absolutely rubbish. This statement doesn’t make sense:

    “The FIA has the right to adjust elements of these freedoms to ensure that the cost-capped cars have neither an advantage nor a disadvantage when compared to cars running to the existing rules”

    So, if Force India, a capped team in 2010 presumably, discover some significant engine performance and clock up race winning pace, doesn’t that leave that at an advantage over non capped teams? What will the FIA do then?

    These rules are vague. If anything, it should benefit the cost capped teams as thats what the sport is vying for, reducing costs. In time, as the economy picks up, the major manufacturers will be in positions to pump money into the sport once again. So why would Ferrari, BMW and Mercedes ever want to go for the cost cap?

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