One or two points on too many points

 


A mouthful of a title I realise, but stick with me as I analysis why the current points system in Formula 1 is far from ideal. Double points is without doubt a silly idea, one designed purely to add 'spice' to the end of a season which should merit more respect and reward for previous efforts; but is it the only factor that doesn't sit quite right with how points are distributed in this era of our sport. Let's have a look.

We've seen numerous changes to the way points have been dished out over the years, several of which relatively recently. But which is best? Which gives us the 'best' championship? Points down to 6th? 8th? 10th? 10 or 25 points for a win? Double points at the final race...? Well, I guess it's impossible to answer that. We can all have a favourite - personally 1st-6th - but with changes occurring so frequently, how can we truly find the best solution that satisfies us all?

As you may (or may not) be aware, for the past two seasons I've kept track of what the Championship standings would look like had we been using previous points systems. Four time champion Sebastian Vettel would have scored a whopping 150 out of a possible 190 last season, perhaps highlighting his superiority even more so.

Head back one year further to the titanic battle between Vettel and Alonso. Just three points separated the two come the chequered flag on that infamous day in Brazil, but would it have been even closer had we still been running under a previous system? Yes. Here's the table. Now you might say, but so what? Not much would have changed. And in most cases, this is true. At least in how the tables would have finished. But what about the mentality of the drivers and teams?

A 7th place now is worth the same amount of points as a 2nd place ten or so years ago. Is that right? Is that good? A 7th place is by no means a great result for a Championship contender, especially if a rival secures 25 or 18 on the same day. But it does keep the scoreboard ticking over. It keeps the scoring momentum going. It's not all bad though, right?

We're seeing more drivers score points on a more regular basis, placing them in the spotlight of the millions of onlookers. There is no doubt more interest in the midfield now than there ever has been before. It's great for them, it's great for the coverage and the race that interest is kept throughout almost the whole field. But is it really what we want to see? Almost half the starters knowing that they'll score points in two hours time. Hmm.

Whether it's because of the top teams' dominance of the top positions, the improved reliability of all cars or the way modern circuits have changed styles and allowed more mistakes to be less costly I don't know, but the days of Minardi-esc teams grabbing a 5th or 6th place appear to be long gone.

22 starters, 10 points paying positions up for grabs. It seems, well, a little half-way house to me. It neither rewards or highlights the brilliance it once did, nor does it quite sit right in the lower paying positions. To award points to someone who's finished almost in the middle position seems a tad unsatisfactory. Why not go the whole way and follow other series and award points throughout the field? I'd never want to see it, but maybe it's an alternative to the current, double-points ridden way?

I'd like to see a return to 10 points awarded to the winner and 1 point to 6th place. Not that the current system is all bad - as I say, it allows newcomers, promising talents with lesser equipment to shine and brings them more into the spotlight. But this is meant to be the pinnacle of motorsport, where the best brains and drivers come together to showcase their knowledge and talent. That knowledge and talent should be rewarded at the very highest level.

What do you think? Are there too many points on offer? Not enough? Which system would you like to see in use? Let me know below or @paul_godley21. Thanks for reading!

Paul Godley 26/02/2014

Image source (and all image rights): Webber crosses the line in Australia - redbull.com

I shall be once again keeping track of what the standings would be like under previous systems again this year, so watch this space!)

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