Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Points System For 2010

The FIA recognizes that due to the increased number of competitors at each event -- potentially 26, although I'm somewhat skeptical that everyone will make the show -- there will be increased competition for championship points. Therefore, the FIA is proposing that points be awarded: 25 points to each race winner, 20 for second place, 15 for third and 10 for fourth, before descending 8-6-5-3-2-1 for fifth through 10th positions.

This Autosport article notes that this is the most recent change to F1 points was in 2003, when points were awarded to the top 8 finishers instead of only the top 6.

I am not sure I approve. I remember the old days of 1990, when qualifying meant something -- you were not in the top 26, you didn't get in -- and there were even cars showing up for pre-qualifying (only the top two cars would be promoted for qualifying -- failing that meant your F1 weekend was over at 9AM on Friday). And through all that, points were only awarded to the top six finishers.

I remember this because I was following in 1991, when the Jordan team debuted. Their being the new kids on the block forced them to participate in pre-qualifying for the first half of the year. Because the Jordans were so good it meant that the other pre-qualifiers were basically wasting their time and money since they would never beat the Jordans.

Of course reliability was much less than it is today. Take the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix. You had 34 cars show up for the weekend. Four don't pre-qualify. Four more don't qualify, leaving you with a Sunday grid of 26. Of those 26 starters, only 10 were classified as running at the end.

And of those, only 6 were awarded points.

This year it was rare to have more than two or three cars drop out. The rules were written so that if a car was mechanically capable of running, they had to or they would be penalized -- this lead to incidents such as the one where both BMWs were pounding around several laps down, or Mark Webber's Red Bull at Suzuka.

I guess there is an argument for making there be more tangible rewards for continuing to run... but I am still not sure I approve.