How the titles can be won

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The F1 drivers’ and constructors’ championships will be decided in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Here’s how.

Drivers’ championship

Lewis Hamilton is the favourite to win the title as he has a seven point lead over Felipe Massa.

Massa can only win the title if:

  • He wins with Hamilton sixth or lower
  • He finishes second with Hamilton eighth or lower (i.e., if Hamilton drops out of the race, Massa must finish in the top two to become champion)

Any other combination of finishes will make Hamilton the champion.

In the event of a tie, the title would go to the driver with the most wins. If they have the same number of wins, it would go to the driver with the most second places, and so on. Here are the number of top eight finishes each has achieved so far:

Lewis Hamilton52302010
Felipe Massa52201110

Constructors’ championship

Ferrari has an 11 point lead over McLaren, making them favourite to lift the constructors’ title.

There is a large number of permutations for how the championship could be decided which would be too complicated to go through now. But here are a few points worth remembering:

  • Even if McLaren finish first and second, Ferrari could finish as low as fifth and sixth and still be champions.
  • If either McLaren drops out of the race, Ferrari are automatically champions.
  • If either Ferrari finishes first or second, Ferrari are champions.

In the event of a tie the same method is used to separate teams as for drivers. Here are the teams finishing records this year:


See the full F1 championship standings before the Brazilian Grand Prix

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “How the titles can be won”

  1. Nice numerical analysis there Keith.

    It therefore begs the question ‘Will it be that straight forward, or will there be an F1 curveball?’….

  2. With so much rain predicted and so many mistakes possible Hamilton and Massa may aswell flip a coin for the Championship!
    I know who my money is on but how exciting is this gonna be? If the rain does come it will be the 3rd or 4th wet race in Brazil in 25+ years……

  3. keepF1technical
    30th October 2008, 9:53

    it would be interesting to see clearly how the monza penalty has impacted the constructors. After all a cynic could easily perceive the purpose of the penalty was to hinder one manufacturer over another!

    Imagine if we discussed the impacts of all the seasons dubious penalties – we would be here for a v.long time.

  4. Gives you something to think about…..
    Massa 1st and Hamilton 8th gives Massa the championship.

  5. Also how about a non full race distance scenario where the points are halved….
    Highly unlikely I know but it is possible.

  6. @ Somers
    Now THAT would be a brain-wrecking situation!

  7. Well with all this talk of major rain it’s an outside shot

  8. Somers – Indeed: Brazilian MET office now predicting rain on Friday and Saturday –

  9. While we were busy fretting over the demotion of Bourdais at the Japanese grand prix, and its effect on the drivers championship and by that, Hamiltons lead, we failed to appreciate the full significance of that singular action. By promoting Massa by a single point to 7th position, it all but handed Ferrari the constructors title.
    For Mclaren to win the constructors title, they must finish 1st and 2nd with Ferrari finishing in 6th and 7th position. Mclaren have yet to have both cars on the podium throughout the course of this season, the possibility of that happening now is even more remote.
    The other implication is that, if frees up the second Ferrari to seriously disturb the race of Hamilton, while Massa goes for the win.

  10. yorricksfriend
    30th October 2008, 14:04

    My mouth is watering at the prospect of the upcoming Interlagos Grand Prix. Longest two weeks of my life

  11. Here is an easy way for Massa to win, he should just tell Kimi ,’take out hamilton and I’ll give you the Vodka!’

    Only joking, but hamilton seriously better watch his back, he has quite a few ememies on the grid and it only takes an oppertunity moment (i.e after he has pitted) for a kamakazi pilot (Piquet) to bump him.

  12. Keith, just to say your blog is an oasis of calm amid the growing hysteria for the final race (just checked out autosport, PlanetF1 etc). Thanks for all the great work this season!

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