Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Points, race weekend format and other changes under discussion for 2020

2020 F1 season

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Liberty Media is considering major changes to the sporting rules for the 2020 F1 season which could include a new points system and race weekend format.

RaceFans understands the sport’s commercial rights holder is eager to press on with its plans to overhaul Formula 1 at the earliest possible opportunity. While discussions continue around its planned changes to F1’s technical rules and commercial arrangements in 2021, Liberty hopes to take advantage of the opportunity to revise F1’s sporting regulations next year.

Last year teams debated whether to extend the points-paying positions from the top 10 to cover the top 15 or top 20 finishers. The 2018 season saw 210 points-scoring finishes and a further 134 non-points-scoring results.

However while teams did not reach the unanimous agreement needed to alter the points system for 2019, a change for next year can be agreed within the next three months without the backing of all teams. A new points system for 2020 can be approved if it is backed by at least 70 percent of voters in the F1 Commission before April 30th this year.

RaceFans has learned other potential changes up for discussion include the format of the race weekend – following calls to reduce the amount of practice time to make races less predictable – greater restrictions on use of dynamometers and simulation for development, and stricter curfews on working hours during race weekends.

The proposals are due to be discussed in a meeting between Liberty Media representatives and team bosses in London today.

Also on the agenda is a continuation of points arising from the Strategy Group meeting held earlier this month, during which it was agreed to hold a series of further discussions. These included one held in London yesterday at which the teams’ technical directors were present so that the implications of Liberty’s 2021 proposals could be fully evaluated.

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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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  • 61 comments on “Points, race weekend format and other changes under discussion for 2020”

    1. Currently, half of the field gets points and I don’t want to see that percentage growing.

      Jules Bianchi’s Monaco GP is a big reason why. For a small team which hadn’t scored points in its history it was a great achievement and if every driver got points it diminishes stories like that.

      1. Usually when a small team scores a point, it’s because a lot of the better teams had DNFs. It’s not a great achievement, it’s just winning a lottery, and that lottery may be won by the team that is not the best of the teams that usually don’t score points.

        1. The purpose of points is not who is ‘the best of the teams that usually don’t score points’, it is who finishes within the top 10.
          Don’t discredit an unusual point scorer because a top team had a malfunction or accident. Don’t discredit a point scorer because other cars are better on other days.

          1. The purpose of points is to record how well a team does compared to its competitors. Why should that apply to only the top 10 finishers? With team competitiveness now so “stratified” into “classes” the teams relegated to finishing worse than 10th should have some motivation to finish as high as they can, and that includes drivers for big teams that have been relegated to the back due to some mechanical issue or grid penalty nonsense. Extending points beyond 10th place would promote competitive racing all the way down the order for the full duration of the race and might end the practice of teams pulling perfectly functional cars out of the race to “save an engine” or skirt some regulation.

            1. Agreed 100%.

      2. Jules Bianchi’s Monaco GP is a big reason why

        @bleu – Very true, I loved seeing the paddock make their way to congratulate Marussia/JB.

      3. @bleu I couldn’t agree more with you.

    2. Reducing practice at weekends would be silly, new drivers don’t have enough time behind the wheel as it it compared to the previous decade reducing it means we will never see how some drivers could develop with time.

      1. Practice allow too much simulation and makes the race too predictable. Drivers don’t lack car time

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          31st January 2019, 10:08

          I don’t get this obsession with unpredictability. I want every team and driver to go as fast as possible. What’s next, Qualify by lotery? Random tires, which you only know when they take of the warmers at the start? Random pit windows?

          1. @passingisoverrated Very true. I couldn’t agree more with you.

          2. Time = Predictability = rewards the back room tech teams, the super computers and the analysis. Less track time (or restriction in FP tyres) rewards the driver better able to adapt and drive instinctively.

            1. In your rose-tinted world, perhaps. Over here in reality, we have ridiculously complicated cars, limited numbers of designed-to-fail tires, and drivers who have to drive slowly faster than everyone else to win.

              Your proposal also means there will be no new “competent” F1 drivers. Within 5 years, we’ll have nothing but a bunch of F2 drivers wiping themselves out on turn 1.

              If you want to be a luddite, fine– go watch NASCAR or historic racing. Stop trying to drag F1 down to your nostalgia enhanced fantasy world.

          3. @passingisoverrated – agreed. Rather, I don’t like “engineered unpredictability™©”.

            Unpredictability in racing arising out of unpredictable factors (e.g. changing conditions) – brilliant entertainment, even though it might be cruel to an otherwise deserving team. That’s the perfect combination of chance dealing a hand, and a team/driver being in the best place to seize it.

            Unpredictability brought about by regulations – it’s just fake. It might be entertaining in the moment, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that it was a quality race.

            1. joe pineapples
              31st January 2019, 11:27

              Couldn’t agree more.

            2. @phylyp, in some ways, perhaps the term “unpredictability” is the wrong term to be using altogether, because I don’t think that is actually what people want. In some ways, perhaps what people want is something a bit more like uncertainty than unpredictability, which I would say is subtly different.

              With uncertainty, there is perhaps a stronger role for both the drivers and the teams to influence events and to take the initiative, which is what I sense fans are more interested in. They want to have a sense of the skill of the drivers and the team coming through to the fore by being able to judge and evaluate incomplete data, whereas unpredictability, to me at least, perhaps implies a more random factor that, as we have sometimes seen in the past, can leave a bitter aftertaste or even be rejected by fans because they want the sense that somebody is being rewarded for their judgement and skill.

          4. @passingisoverrated Agreed! How about instead of restricting the running time, the data gathered in the sessions is restricted. Give the teams less information to base their setup and strategy on. It would also lean more heavily on the driver feedback to set up cars rather than teams doing it by numbers.

            1. @asanator – yeah, I’d suggested something along similar lines – in FP, the only data a team gets is from the FIA – sector/mini-sector timings, and speed trap figures. No telemetry from the car. Let the drivers set the car up by feel, not by points of downforce.

            2. An even simpler variation of this would be to not allow the teams to run the softest compound tyre during practice.

              I completely agree that it does the sport no good to reduce running time on the track for the paying fans in attendance.

          5. @passingisoverrated What’s not to understand? Tell me, which football game would be more interesting to watch, Barcelona vs. Sheffield United or Barcelona vs. Man Utd? The latter obviously. Why? Because you are less sure about which team is going to win, hence it is “less easy to predict”. If you prefer to watch football games in which the odds of one team winning is 1/5000, then go ahead. But don’t expect the majority to side with you.

            1. @mashiat We already have the “Barcellona/Manchester” unpredictability. It was between Merc and Ferrari last year (and let’s not forget that RB won a nice amount of races). I, and I think also @passingisovereated, don’t want a Shaffield having the same odds of Manchester to beat Barcellona. F1 has always been a race between few drivers for the championship. What it lacks in some races is the show, but when you have races like Britain last year the last thing you care is Toro Rosso not being able to reach the first spots.

            2. @m-bagattini I’m not at all advocating for near-equal cars in F1, and I thought that 2018 was quite a good year competition-wise. And that is because it was often unpredictable, as we were always guessing up until Q3 whether it was going to be Ferrari or Mercedes on top. Rewind back a few seasons, and it was basically 2 by 2s at most races. That was because of certain teams doing a better job than the ones behind them, which is fair enough, but it sure wasn’t enjoyable to watch a Mercedes 1-2 thirty seconds ahead of two Ferraris, who in turn are 30 seconds ahead of the Williams/Red Bull.

        2. @Croft You’re wrong there. Yes, less practice running might initially make races and more precisely the strategies less predictable, but in the long-term, the situation would eventually revert to how it is at present with the current amount of practice sessions as Toto Wolff, for example, has pointed out. Furthermore, drivers indeed do lack car time due to how restricted testing outside the GP weekends has been for approximately ten years now.

          1. While there is bound to be sound regression to the mean it won’t revert fully. Less time rewards drivers / in race decision making -v- over analysis back at base.

      2. Gavin Campbell
        31st January 2019, 10:24

        It also reduces track time for fans further. I would advocate that teams have to run their nominated 3rd driver say 16 times in FP1 (8 in each car) over the season. This allows them to not run drivers on the first couple of races and somewhere like Monaco.

        So some drivers have to battle with a lack of track time but its all even over the season. Although I suppose it could hurt the 2nd drivers in teams. But we’d get youngsters and people like Ocon out on track snapping at the heels of of the current drivers.

        1. Good idea. Let’s take it further, and make it simpler – drivers who participate in FP1 can’t take part in the race. It doubles the number of young drivers getting a chance, still gives teams telemetry, and eliminates the risk of a number two driver being discriminated against. FP2 runs at (roughly) the same time as qualifying and the race, so letting the Sunday drivers do FP2 onwards will still allow them a good amount of relevant data gathering.

    3. Changes, changes, changes…. Maybe it’s time for LM to put forward the technical rules for 2021 first (as the teams are waiting for them for quite some time now), rather then jump to the next topic to ‘make things better’. And rollback the old F1 Live Timing app while they’re at it.

      1. Agreed.
        Seems like some of these proposals are generated from a air of desperation ‘we must be seen to be achieving something’, hence a sudden burst of ‘deckchair re-arranging’ proposals.

        Sort out the technical rules for F1 asap, the rest is just froth and PR diversion tactics.

    4. Let’s fix all the things that don’t need fixing cause the important bits are just too hard…

      1. @aussierod Very true, LOL.

      2. They want broader audience, not necessarily keeping the current viewers. I don’t blame them, they’re a company.

    5. Points for top 15 will make races much more interesting to watch. Many times in the 2nd half of a race the only battles still going on are outside the top 10.

      1. @krommenaas I don’t think the battle for 14th would be interesting even if it gave 10000 points.

        1. I don’t think the battle for 14th would be interesting even if it gave 10000 points

          On the contrary, @fer-no65.
          Every driver would try to finish 14th ;) It’s like those indoor cycle races where they almost stand still as they don’t want to be first

          1. @coldfly yeah but if 14th gives 10000 points, then a win is worth…

            1 MILLION POINTS!!!!!!!

    6. F1 revised point system

      2 point Pole
      1 point fastest lap of race

      Points for all 15 drivers finishing race

      30 Winner
      24 2nd place
      22 3rd place
      20 4th place etc

      1. Somehow, I’m not a fan of rewarding pole and FLAP (especially the FLAP) with points.

      2. And how many points for fanboost and most retweets?

    7. @krommenaas I beg to differ. I suspect it’d actually be the other way round if anything, i.e., with 15 getting points the only battles still going on during the 2nd half of a race would take place below P15 rather than below P10 as might be the case sometimes at present.

    8. It seems they’ve never heard of the saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or at least don’t get what it actually means. Perhaps, they should check its definition so that maybe they’d then finally get it, LOL.

      1. @jerejj – I don’t think you’ve worked in the corporate line, you have such noble thoughts :)

        The mantra is: ‘If it ain’t broke, let’s “improve” it.’

      2. “‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it””

        But it is broke – that’s the problem.

        1. @Croft The race weekend format definitely isn’t broken.

    9. Points for all classified finishers except last place will give everyone something to fight for – and reward drivers and teams on merit.

      1. (mentioned this before)
        In effect we DO award points to all finishers, @webbo82.
        P11 = 0,04 pt
        P12 = 0.001 pt
        P13 = 0,00004 pt
        P14 = 0.000001 pt

    10. We don’t want less track running. Just reduce the number of sensors permitted on the cars. Teams can have x sensors split over the car, which they must elect at the start of the season. That way, one team might go all out on aero sensors, another on ride/suspension/tyres, etc. There would be scope for mandatory sensors to allow for PU manufacturers vs customers.

      1. and besides fewer sensors, we can also reduce the driver’s senses!
        Bird Box F1; guaranteed YouTube success.

        1. No need! Kvyat is back….

    11. Id like to see 2 sprint races with reverse grid order for the 2nd and Im a traditionalist. The current formula is almost endurance racing and even endurance racing proper looks more ‘on it’ than we have in F1 at the moment. Its boring. You can mess around dusting in corners all you like but until we have some of the greatest drivers at the present time allowed to push every lap its just an engineers championship.

      Of course its always been about ‘ to finish first, first you must finish’ but cars are just limping round bringing it home based on what 100 data engineers back at the factory decide is the likely outcome.

      Points for 15th, lack of practice, blind folding drivers whatever, is all just window dressing. Liberty need to take some liberties.

    12. Perhaps some form of points multiplier system could be introduced? Have points for all 20 places, but then x1.5 for RBR, x2.0 Mercedes, x2.5 Ferrari.

      1. Now that’s funny. :.)

    13. Jonathan Parkin
      31st January 2019, 12:56

      There are a couple of reasons why we are in the current situation, in my opinion. Those reasons are Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher. Together at Benetton and Ferrari they both perfected the fine art of leaving nothing to chance. Ross from the car and team perspective and Schumacher from a driving one including his fitness.

      What then happened was all teams had to do the same thing in order to beat him thus predictability reigned

    14. Points should be left as they are, Increasing the number of cars that score just diminishes the achievement of scoring points.

      I also don’t think the ‘It will make the fight for 11th-15th more interesting’ argument works because it’s not as if been down in 17th means there not pushing hard to try & move forward as it is so adding points further down the field isn’t going to mean anyone pushes any harder. It will make zero difference to the racing.

      In terms of practice i’d go back to the 2006 format of 2 60 minute sessions on Friday & a single 60 minute session on Saturday.
      I’d absolutely be against reducing practice any further than that because I love watching the practice sessions as it’s the only time over a weekend you can just sit back & watch the cars, Compare how each is handling & what drivers are doing differently. In qualifying it’s more about watching the lap times & in the race is more about watching the timing, figuring out strategies & potential fights for position etc…

    15. Improving F1 for the spectators by cutting tje amount of time people can watch F1 cars on track.

      More points positions, everyones a winner.

      Only change should be top 6 score points.

    16. As a traditionalist who has not missed a race on TV or in person for over 20 years, in the last 4-5 years I have admittedly begun to lose interest in the second half of the season. There’s just no real big surprises anymore, considering there were only eight drivers to stand on the podium in the last two years and that is with Perez and Stroll both only 3rd in Baku. In both 2014 and 2015, only three drivers even won a race. The last time a team other than Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull won a race was 2012 when there were eight different winning drivers and five different winning teams. Let’s face it, the new Turbo Era stinks. Even in recent F1 history, there seems to always be that dominant team. I would propose a traditional race on Saturday (maybe 3/4 the current distance) and then a reverse top 10 grid for a 25 lap sprint race (longer tracks like Spa shorter) on Sunday with no pit stops for tyres. Major regulation changes don’t seem to be shaking things up anymore. It’s time to do something.

      As for cutting out Friday practice, I think this is a horrible idea. Fridays at a Grand Prix weekend at many tracks allow spectators to walk the track during practice sessions and a proper weekend also entails many great support races. I’ve seen Porsche Supercup, Ferrari Challenge, Formula BMW, Historic F1, and many other very entertaining races on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday mornings. It’s a shame we do not get to see F3 and F2 over here in North America as well. Cutting Friday would also add less to the local economies of host cities. At most race weekends we arrive on Thursday and leave on Monday. As for adding unpredictability, see the paragraph above, or perhaps as someone else in this forum suggested require that if you practice on Friday, you can not race so more young drivers get development time and even some veterans might get to hang around a few more years.

      1. @vivagilles27 ”Fridays at a Grand Prix weekend at many tracks allow spectators to walk the track during practice sessions”
        – How would it, in reality, be possible to walk a track while it’s active with cars running around it, though, LOL?

        1. Really? You felt the need to make this asinine comment? Yes, that’s completely what I meant. Dodging cars during practice.

          Many circuits allow for open seating on Friday and where they don’t you can often walk to different viewing points in General Admission areas.

    17. Get rid of the myriad of sensors in the cars, let just test drivers take on FP1 sessions, get rid of the outside control rooms with 100 engineers analyzing the data, and leave the points as it is.

    18. Unpredictability? What’s predictable or not predictable has less to do with practice and simulator times than it does with the disparity between teams and cars. What was predictable in recent years has been that the drivers on the podium would be dressed in either Merc or Ferrari uniforms with a dark blue RBR suit thrown in from time to time. Besides, if practice shows that the Ferrari is faster than the Merc, what does that prove about the race? How did that work out on the track in 2018?

    19. Instead of a fixed point system, make the points random values. Sometimes you win the race and get 25, sometimes you win and get 1. Sometimes you finish last and get 18. Who could predict that?

      Also…stop the senseless long-term driver contracts! A team’s drivers for a race weekend would be selected by pulling names from a bag of monogrammed crisps – organic, of course. Bags of these same special F1 Driver Crisps would be available to real fans for only 99 quid each per race weekend.

      But why stop there? The pit crew and race support teams could be selected by a popularity draft on social media. But why stop there? Mix up the management structures. Who wouldn’t pay to watch Toto & Horner on the same pitwall, barking team orders to Stroll at Ferrari?! Or Newy scolding Zak at McLaren…er…Haas?

      And sprinklers! Pay Bernie to install and operate sprinklers at every track. Not every track, maybe just the totalitarian regime tracks.

      Still not unpredictable enough? Don’t announce the race calendar. To anyone. Make every F1 race a Flash Mob event. Ok, not every race, that would be too predictable.

    20. Instead of limiting Friday running, just have Pirelli create a special Friday-only tyre that have different heat, grip and durability characteristics from the qualifying/race tyres.

      Teams can then run laps to test components, new drivers aren’t penalised and the teams aren’t able to perfect their tyre programs by Friday night. Fans aren’t then penalised with less track time as well.

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