Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Monaco, 2018

McLaren drivers not convinced by F1’s mooted points system change

2018 F1 season

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McLaren Formula 1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne are not convinced the sport should award points to those who finish outside the top 10.

The F1 Strategy Group recently discussed plans to revise F1’s points system to reward top 15 or even top 20 finishers in each race.

However Vandoorne, who’s had three top 10 finishes so far this year, said “I feel like it should be an achievement to score points.”

“It shouldn’t be just points rewarded for everyone.”

Alonso made his debut in 2001 when points were only awarded to the top six finishers. It was extended to cover the top eight in 2003 and the top 10 in 2010.

The veteran of 300 races also believes points should not be given to all finishers. “I think Formula 1 has been always quite difficult to get points,” he said. “Some elite guys take points and it was kind of a reward, a big moment when you score even two points or something.

“I remember when Jules [Bianchi] scored the ninth position in Monaco that was some kind of miracle, that was a big moment for the sport. If everyone scores points now maybe we lose that unique feeling in F1 that other categories they don’t have.

“Whatever they decide will be OK but definitely Formula 1 seems more likely to be more exclusive the points places.”

Alonso also noted that the cost of drivers’ superlicences is linked to the number of points they score. “If it affects the cost of the licenses it’s not good news!” he joked.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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26 comments on “McLaren drivers not convinced by F1’s mooted points system change”

  1. Couldn’t agree more… I’m still making my own tables with point system from 2003-2010…

    1. Best system. :)

      1. Nonsense. 1950-1959 was the best point system. THAT’s when scoring points was a real achievement. These days it’s nothing.

      2. I take it you started watching after 2002! 10-6-4-3-2-1 was easily the best system (i started watching in 1995……)

        actually, I don’t mind the current system but it is much harder to get your head round the permutations. 10 for a win was nice and easy. i think the current system would work better with a bigger grid – as alonso/vandoorne said it devalues it if everyone scores points, which is essentially what we have now unless your name is sirotkin.

        1. I take it you started watching after 2002!

          You take it wrongly. I’m a child of the 1996 Monaco GP (plus a handful of GPs from 1994-1995 I hardly remember), haven’t missed a race since!
          I always felt that the switch to the 10-8-6… system was an improvement, struck all the right chords with me. 6 points-scoring positions were too few, plain and simply. And the gap between 1st and 2nd place was exaggerated. There is a school of though that teaches that the winner of the race is invariably the standout driver of the event, and therefore that difference should stand out from all the others. Needless to say that’s a school of thought I’ve always rejected.
          Also, the current system is just awkward. 25 minus 18 is 7, which is a divisor for absolutely nothing whatsoever. The steps are awkward. 8 years in, I still can’t remember which position awards how many points, so I still have to count up from 9th for all positions between 5th and 8th. 10th place awards 1/25 of the points of 1st place, which is like a molecule compared to the ocean, a tie-breaker at best. Might as well not award any points for that. 10 points-scoring positions are too many. The system was introduced for a grid of 26 cars, which immediately shrunk to 24 (6 of which were never points contenders, if you discount Jules Bianchi’s and Pascal Wehrlein’s heroics), so instead of 18-20 cars fighting over the first 10 places, we had 18 cars fighting over the first 10 places (plus a formula 1.999999 with 6 cars competing for 13th place in races with high attrition).
          And what on earth does 43 mean? I hate prime numbers, and that number symbolises absolutely nothing. Yeah, if you know F1, you know it’s the best score a team can achieve on a race weekend. But for anyone else, it’s just an odd, unfinished number. And don’t get me started on the points inflation that has mediocre drivers overtaking once-great drivers because two decent finishes can score as much as a decent midfielder used to score over the course of an entire season, while drivers who finish 10th every once in a while are breaking records for the longest points-scoring streak …
          I hate the current system.

          1. I completely sympathise with this aversion to strange numbers. This post got me looking up points systems from different championships around the world and I found that during the mid-2000s, Champ Car was awarding 31 points to the winner. 31?!

            Though the weirdest I saw was during the IRL’s inaugural 3-race season in 1996. The system started at 2 points for 33rd place, then simply counted up to 33 points for second place, and then a two-point gap to 1st place with 35 points—which is sensible enough—but then the twist was that your cumulative points total was multiplied by the number of races you competed in.

        2. Actually I started to watch F1 in 1999, but still i think the system of 8 point scoring positions was the best.

          And agree with nase – after 8 years I still do not remember scored points for positions 2-9…

          1. I still haven’t got used to the current points system either. Maybe that’s not the important thing as they obviously put it all together for you. But I agree with Waffle and El Nano.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with them. Vandoorne’s comments (”I feel like it should be an achievement to score points.”) (”It shouldn’t be just points rewarded for everyone.”) are almost a carbon copy of mine on this particular suggestion in the article about this specific topic posted a few days back.

    1. @jerejj – very true points.

      How often have we read about Alonso himself dragging the McLaren “into the points” and used that as a measure of achievement. “into the top 10” doesn’t have quite the same ring.

      1. It is huge achievement in McLaren. Nothing to be proud about when they drive Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull.

  3. I believe it would be interesting if we have like 30-40 cars (not sure if there is space to accommodate that much) on the grid. With 20 cars, well maybe a return to 8 place reward would be better than extending it to 15. I do not agree to many of Alonso’s comments, but this time I have to.

  4. The only driver that would want this is Ericsson

    1. And sirotkin, still no points so far!

  5. Aggree. If there were points for all the cars (or top 20 of 22!) it would spare shaming teams that didn’t score a point. We want them to feel shameful. It may make sense to give points to first 15 when you have 40-50 cars on the grid but giving points for taking part is not the way.

  6. More pointless (no pun intended), tinkering by the strategy group/Liberty. I really don’t know what this extended points system is designed to achieve? Perhaps to mask the effect that the top 3 teams are so dominant?

    Personally I think the system immediately before the most recent change, was the best i.e. Points down to 8th place.

  7. Mickey's Miniature Grandpa
    13th July 2018, 15:59

    To my mind the best system was 10-6-4-3-2-1. However this was during an era in which of the three or four teams normally expected to fill those places for most of the season, more often than not over half their cars wouldn’t make the finish, thus providing point-scoring opportunities for others. It was certainly an improvement over its predecessor, 9-6-4-3-2-1 with only a driver’s best 11 results from a 16-race season being counted towards the championship. Curious rule, I think it was intended to act as a bit of an equaliser in terms of differences in reliability between teams.

    I think 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 shifted the balance too far towards reliability. Previously you could win 5 races, with your rival second in each, then retire from the sixth and watch your rival win, and still have a 10 point lead. With this change, you’d be equal on points. It devalued winning and in doing so reduced the incentive to try a ballsy overtake for the lead.

    The current system is a slight improvement, but i’d rather see the 10-6-4 proportions for the top three places. 25-15-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1. I don’t see any compellling reason to extend it to award points further down the order. If you can’t score points, sort your car out and stop hiring rich but talentless drivers. Awarding points just for turning up serves no purpose than to devalue the achievement of scoring points. You wouldn’t give a team a hundred million dollars just for turning up, so why give points?

    1. With regards to your comment that “You wouldn’t give a team a hundred million dollars just for turning up, so why give points?”, there are those who point out that is what the sport already does with the “historic team” bonus it gives to Ferrari (along with a similar one to Williams, albeit on a much smaller scale), or the bonus paid to teams like Red Bull and Mercedes for being WCC winners.

      1. Bernie's Miniature Grandpa
        14th July 2018, 11:24

        No! Really?

    2. How about 12, 9, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 perhaps? Rewards reliability and finishing near or at the front.

      1. Bernie's Miniature Grandpa
        14th July 2018, 11:21

        How about 12-8-6-5-4-3-2-1?

        On the other hand, it’s just occurred to me that advocating a greater points differential between the top 3 places is quite close to Bernie’s gold/silver/bronze medals idea from a while back, which is slightly disturbing.

  8. It will mean nothing if overtaking remain difficult.
    Today, a failed (even a successful) attempt to gain a position let the driver and the team exposed to attacks from whoever was in the back originally – by the tyre degradation or crossover in the pits.
    So, it will be mathematically unsound to risk a position (marginal point) risking to lose two.
    I.e.: suppose you are 12th, you try to get to 11th, you don’t suceed, and the previous 13th passes you as you get vunerable. You tried to get a point more, risking whatever points you already have at 12th and ended up losing one position/point.
    That would be the most likely scenario nowadays. Given the deltas required to a regular pass, the pass would happpen regardless of any new points system. No reasonable team boss would allow for that risk.

  9. OMG, please NO!. That F1 is even considering this is VERY BAD SIGN.

    1. I am almost sure that f1 has someone in charge of coming up with some ridicule story just to generate a talking point.

      1. Bernie's Miniature Grandpa
        14th July 2018, 11:27

        Chairman Emeritus, perhaps?

  10. I really don’t understand why people are so hung up on the idea that points are something special or magical. They are just points, something made up to decide the outcome of a season because we want more than one race to do so. Finishing a race in 10th position will always be finishing in 10th. Finishing in 3rd will always be 3rd, and so on. Those achievements does not change and will still be recognized and celebrated no matter how many points, flowers or balloons it rewards you with towards the championship. Every change is not bad, and not every decision taken in the past are the best for all time to come.

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