F1 to use ‘medals’ system in 2009

Prost scored the most points but wasn\'t champion in 1988 - it could happen again

Prost scored the most points but wasn't champion in 1988 - it could happen again

The FIA has surprisingly announced it will introduce a variant of the medals system proposed by Bernie Ecclestone in 2009.

This comes despite the F1 teams association recommending a change to the points system which it claimed had the support of fans.

However the FIA will retain points to decide the other championship positions.

Many F1 fans on this website have voiced their disapproval of the medals system in the past. I still think the medals system has merit and have said so for some time, so I have somewhat mixed feelings about this outcome.

An FIA statement said:

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.

Here are the World Motor Sports Council’s decisions in full.

More on the F1 rules changes

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440 comments on F1 to use ‘medals’ system in 2009

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  1. Tom Bisset said on 18th March 2009, 21:25

    I don’t really think this system will work. This all happened because Felipe Massa came 2nd last year, even though he won more races.

    Could it be the case that if somebody who comes 2nd/3rd every race can lose the championship to somebody who has come 1st in most races then DNF the rest? Who is the better driver in that situation?

  2. So I don’t buy into this new system meaning it’ll be over with sooner.

    I think it’s a legitimate fear especially right after the most radical change in F1 car specifics in years, where differences especially at the start of the season are more likely, like Brawn is threatening to do. I don’t think it’s a strong argument however, it’s just the most likely one.

    I think we can all agree that regardless of what teams want to prove in terms of reliability, consistency and a shot in the constructor’s championship – the thing most F1 fans watch for is the driver’s championship.

    With fewer race engines available per season, favorites for certain tracks in terms of both cars as well as drivers, strategy is likely to become even more dominant. The incentive for a title contender to fight his way back from 15th towards the points will also be less. Why risk ruining an engine if it won’t make much of a difference in terms of the championship.

    I’d like to think race drivers will race no matter what and go for points, but remember this entire measure was exclusively about inducing incentive in the first place. I’m positive the motivation for any driver to try and win a grand prix is easily far greater under the old system, than trying to push for more points will be under the new system for WDC contenders. Except now there is a far greater strategic advantage for any WDC contending team to carefully play their cards at races they’re not likely to finish first.

    If overtaking and racing is to be encouraged among WDC contenders – which I hope you’ll agree form the backbone of the show – in order to improve the show, it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure out the chances of anyone overtaking is far greater below p2, than it is from p2 up.

    What I do buy into though is that this highly controversial proposal has been released at the same time as a much more potentially damaging one. Cleverly done by Bernie? Maybe so as only about 2% of the 400+ comments on here mention it.

    I agree this is far more likely to ruin F1, but there’s a separate article, though not on the main page (top right), which deals with this. But also the fact this won’t go into effect until 2010, and we’re less than two weeks away from the 2009 season, probably plays a huge part. :)

  3. mp4-19 said on 19th March 2009, 5:57


  4. Unlike many of the posters here; I am going to say that I am not totally against the new system.

    ( BTW; Keith, the new system is not “Medals” as you have put in the title now. This may be causing an outrageously high number of negative comments on the site. )

    the 10-8-6 system was ridiculous. It was built keeping michael schumacher is view; and after 2006; it lost its point.

    The 12-9-7 system also did not reward the driver as well as it should.

    Here are a few positives about the new system
    1) Reliability and consistency don’t matter much. Teams will push for win more.
    2) It allows teams like Mclaren who are struggling now to make a fightback later in the season and continue using the first 3 races as extended test sessions.
    3) It allows teams who are partially in and out of the championship hunt (BMW; last year) to switch efforts completely to next year rather than being in a dilemma
    4) It forces teams to choose a number 1 and number 2 driver fairly early in the season; thus increasing the controversies ;-)

    I would ask the guys against the system to tell what exactly is negative about the system apart from digressing about hypothetical situations of the championship getting over by the 9th round. ( Which would happen in an extreme case )

  5. Liquid said on 19th March 2009, 10:25

    Although the heading has the word ‘medals’ in them.. i believe what Keith meant was F1 is goin to use a ‘medals like’ system. It was probably used cos thats the name by which we all knew it till now.. :) But im sure u too, lik the rest of us got the idea.. :)
    I believe a lot many ppl have actually mentioned reasons why theyre against it if u go thru the comments carefully.. :) and trust me.. i find some of them to be very valid..

  6. Mystic Pizza said on 19th March 2009, 13:56

    I confess I was not a supporter of the “medals” idea originally and am still not wholly sold on it. That said, the proposal suggested does seem fair on the proviso that consistent marshalling can be introduced. Ultimately, that was the factor that would have affected last year’s result – Belgium. Irrespective of any potential bias pro/anti Ferrari/McLaren arguments about the race itself, should the farce have influenced the WDC as Massa was declared ultimate “winner” of that race? Should we as an audience have been cruelly “robbed” of the thrills of Brazil as Massa was WDC or was it only as thrilling to watch because “politics” (despite their best efforts) didn’t affect the concluding result and that racing should be decided on the race track and not in the boardroom?

    There possibly isn’t another sport I could name off the top of my head that could reward consistency over winning – don’t think any Football teams have won major trophies by drawing every game? Consistency isn’t a spectators thrill (unless of course you’re a supporter). Isn’t this proposal just formalising how they would have had to work out the WDC if it were tied on points anyway?

  7. antonyob said on 20th March 2009, 9:53

    im hoping your not a lawyer katie, least not my lawyer should i need one. its fairly clear. most wins, wins the wdc. if 2 or more drivers have the same number of wins then its decided by points. nowhere does it say anything about points being counted before wins. we need to get back to racing, racing for wins, not poncing around for 3rd boring us to death in the process. this used to be a website for the half knowledgable f1 fan. im having my doubts.

  8. Well FOTA are questioning the validity of the changes to the points system


    there may be hope yet that it is not introduced.

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th March 2009, 18:12

    The ‘most wins’ system won’t happen after all:

    ‘Most wins’ rule delayed to 2010 after F1 teams spot FIA rules blunder

  10. Trey said on 16th April 2009, 1:17

    OMG, What…….The…..F%$# Bernie.

  11. stoo said on 16th April 2009, 7:52

    This is a blatent attempt to help “you know who” get a better chance of winning the season than they have right now… what a complete joke!

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