F1 – What’s the Point of the New Point System

brawngpAs long as things go to the FIA’s plans, the grid will be filled at Bahrain with 26 entries. Due to that, they have decided to revamp the current points system. Last week we heard rumors for the first time that this was going to happen, and before we could really digest it, the new point system was approved by the World Motorsport Council.

The overriding goal was to pay out more positions, since the grid would be larger. The new system will pay out to 10th place. While this system has been compared to MotoGP’s points system, there are actually very few similarities between the systems except that both pay 25 points to the winner.

Going into last year, Bernie Ecclestone was championing the idea that the World Drivers Champion should be determined by number of race victories alone. The FIA took up that cause and tried to shove that unpopular points system down the throats of the teams and the fans before the 2009 season. On top of the fact that it was clearly not allowed by the FIA’s own regulations, there was a huge amount of public backlash to such a ludicrous ‘medal’ system.

Now, instead of trying to rehash the medal system, or even make race wins pay a larger bonus in points, the FIA has agreed to a system that keeps the percentage of points paid per position fairly much the same as before. What is most interesting is the silly gaps in the point system.

Below is a table showing F1 and MotoGP’s point schemes. While F1’s new scheme has been compared to MotoGP, there are stark differences between the two. MotoGP pays out to 16 positions, and the gaps between positions make sense. The winner of the GP gets 5 points more than 2nd. 2nd gets 4 points more than 3rd. 3rd gets 3 points more than 4th. 4th gets 2 points more than 5th. Then from 5th to 16th, each position pays one point more than the previous. Thus, there is further incentive to finish in the top 4 since they get increasingly more points.

Given all the talk before last F1 season, it is remarkable that the top spot on the podium will not get an additional points boost for the win. Unlike the increasing point gaps between positions in MotoGP, F1 will pay 25 points for the win, 20 for 2nd, 15 for 3rd and 10 for 4th. Given Bernie and Max’s logic from last year, we did not have overtaking in F1 because there was too little points incentive to risk a pass attempt. FOTA agreed to an extent and introduced their own point system proposal that paid a few more points to the winner (not going as far as the ‘Medal’ garbage). Now it seems neither FOTA nor the FIA is interested in paying additional points to the top spot, and maybe rightly so, since the championship battles have been so close over the last few years. I dont think it is any coincidence that the new points system so closely matches the percentage of points paid per position as the old point system, especially for the top 3 spots.

Anyone have any guesses why there is a 2 point gap between 7th and 8th spot? That seems to make absolutely no sense.

New F1 Old F1 MotoGP
Points % Points % Points %
1 25 100 10 100 25 100
2 20 80 8 80 20 80
3 15 60 6 60 16 64
4 10 40 5 50 13 52
5 8 32 4 40 11 44
6 6 24 3 30 10 40
7 5 20 2 20 9 36
8 3 12 1 10 8 32
9 2 8 7 28
10 1 4 6 24
11 5 20
12 4 16
13 3 12
14 2 8
15 1 4
% = % of points for win

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