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FIA change points system - No medals, but a tweak to the points available for a race winner

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

The FIA's World Motor Sport Council met this week to discuss some regulation changes and once they were announced, they caused great surprise.

The biggest change is with the points system. Previously, Bernie Ecclestone has suggested that awarding medals rather than points to only the top three places would encourage drivers to fight for wins, instead of playing a more strategical game during a race. The FIA didn't seem keen for this to go ahead, and FOTA suggested simply raising the points scores, so the gap to first place was larger, and worth going for.

Neither of these options have been taken up, though, and we are presented with a mixture of both.

The driver's championship will now be solely based on wins, although points will still be counted for the constructors championship. So, for instance, Driver A has 7 wins, and Driver B has 6. Driver A wins the championship, regardless of how many points he has scored. If, at the end of the season, more than one driver has the same tally of wins, then it reverts to second place finishes.

There are a few concerns about this system, most of all that it could be confusing for new and existing fans to see a driver scoring points, but that not counting. It could also cause confusion if a driver has more points than his rival but still doesn't win the title.

There is also the problem that if one team is particularly dominant, and win the first 9 races in a row (it's unlikely, but still a possibility), then the season is over by July. It also rewards those who achieve a lucky win, and perhaps achieve nothing else, rather than those who consistantly finish in the points.

The changes have not been received well both in and out of the paddock. It doesn't seem fair that the FIA can change the regulations so close to the start of the season. Both Button and Alonso have registered their dissatisfaction in the changes, both mostly worried about the effect it will have on the fans. Former driver and BBC commentator Martin Brundle suggests that it probably won't have too much effect on the racing, either, as it's overtaking that is the problem and not motivation.