The points dilemma
Rewards Vs Championship longevity
Recent reports have suggested that the new points system could be tweaked again ahead of the new season. Back in December the World Motor Sport Council confirmed that due to the increased size of the field in 2010, points would be awarded down to tenth position rather than eighth as in the past.
However, the new system of 25 points for a win, 20 for second, all the way down to one point for tenth position, did not address the issue of incentive. As it stands, the ratio of points between first and second positions remains – as in 2009 - at 80 percent and therefore not a great deal of incentive for a driver to risk his current position for an additional 20 percent or five points.
More recently, Autosport reported that the points structure could be further amended ahead of the 2010 season with 25 points for a win, 18 for second, 15 for third, down to one point for tenth. This does create an increased incentive for driver to take more risks and go for victory as the difference increases to 28 percent.
The dilemma facing the F1 commission and the WMSC is that while a greater points differential does increase the incentive for overtaking, should one driver dominate the early part of the season, the championship can be wrapped up relatively early.
The old points system (10-6-4-3-2-1) was ripped up in 2004 when Michael Schumacher secured championship success mid-season, in favour of the more equal 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system and this has certainly helped keep the championship alive until the latter stages of the season.
Bernie Ecclestone for one does want to see an increased award for the victory and even suggested a rather odd medals system for the sport. This however gained little support.
Apparently the teams have given the green light for a greater spread of the points but it remains to be seen if this will increase the likelihood of passing for the race lead as desired, while also ensuring that the championship in not a foregone conclusion by the summer months.