Prizes for places, not points

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella, Shanghai, 2006Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso are tied in the championship battle. But as many are pointing out, Schumacher actually leads the championship as he has seven wins this year to Alonso’s six.

This is perfectly logical – and it leads to a logical question: Instead of using ‘most highest finishes’ as a tie-breaker, why not use them to decide all championship positions? Why not do away with championship points altogether?

Here’s how the championship top six would look ranked by ‘most highest finishes’.

Driver New rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Real rank Points
1 7 4 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 116
2 6 6 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 116
3 1 2 2 2 3 0 1 0 4 62
4 1 0 3 3 1 5 0 1 3 63
5 1 0 1 4 1 1 1 0 6 45
6 0 2 4 1 3 0 0 0 5 57

The most profound change would be that a win would become immensely more valuable. A driver with 18 second places would still trail a driver with a single victory to his name.

It would be simpler and, arguably, fairer – particularly to drivers who suffer an occasional car failure.

Jenson Button, Honda, Hungaroring, 2006Championship points are an arbitrary construction: Saying that so-and-so ir eight points ahead of such-and-such has no meaning unless you know how many points every position is worth and all the rest of it.

But saying ‘Schumacher has seven wins, Alonso six’ has instant resonance and impact – like a football score it is clear what the situation is even out of context.

It’s an elegantly simple idea. But it’s probably just too simple to be taken seriously. The FIA and team bosses only seem to go for cripplingly complicated solutions, like engine homologation and three-part fuel-credit qualifying systems.

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2 comments on “Prizes for places, not points”

  1. Such a scoring system wouldn’t punish an unreliable car enough. Alonso and Kimi each had 7 wins in ’05, but were nowhere close in points because the McLaren wasn’t reliable (Alonso would win on 2nd place finishes 5-3, however). I’m a Kimi fan, but there is no way the championship should have been that close last year. It’s a team sport, and one way to measure that is by how well the team can put together a car.

  2. Keith

    You have an excellent idea to replace the current points system. Would it make it better to have a point for fastest lap as what was done until 1960? Nico Rosberg set fastest lap in Bahrain but wasn’t rewarded. Also earlier this year, Max Mosley alluded to a promotion scheme were F1 teams that perform under-par are relegated to GP2 while GP2 teams are promoted. With low-costs being promoted that seems a feasible idea. What do you think?

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