Feb 4, 2010

Smoke and mirrors with F1 points

The Formula One Commission agreed this week to change the points system for the sport.

The commission asserted in its release that the new system would "further encourage the race to win," but a closer examination shows that the change is more cosmetic than revolutionary.

The new system will award points to first through 10th place by the following scale:


It seems like a big change, but really it is not so huge at all. Take the points and divide by 2.5 to reach the former scale where 10 points was awarded for a win.

The result is a scale that looks like this with the old points scale which gave points to the top-8 finishers added next to the new in brackets:

10      (10)
7.2     (8)
6     (6)
4.8     (5)
4     (4)
3.2     (3)
2.4     (2)
1     (1)
0.5     (-)
0.25     (-)

So, instead of real change we get the illusion of new thinking from F1. Really, the difference will actually be that it will be harder for fans to figure out the system and the performance required from their favourite driver to close a gap.

Had the F1 commission spoken to IRL or NASCAR fans, they'd know how difficult it can be to make sense of the higher point totals and more scoring by finishers.

Prior to this change, it was fairly easy for fans to see what was needed for their driver to move up in the standings. Now it's not so simply.

Responding to fans' wishes for more excitement does not translate into forcing them to buy slide rules. Well, in my book anyway.

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