Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

F1 approves plan to award a point for fastest lap in 2019

2019 F1 season

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A proposal to award a point for fastest lap during the 2019 F1 season has been approved by the FIA.

As RaceFans revealed last week the sport’s bosses believe offering a point to the driver who sets fastest lap will encourage more drivers to push flat-out at the end of the race.

As reported previously, the point for fastest lap will only be awarded if the driver who sets the fastest lap of the race finishes in the top 10.

F1 motorsport director Ross Brawn pointed out a point for fastest lap had previously been awarded in F1 between 1950 and 1959, and said reviving the rule has the support of fans.

“Together with the FIA we have been committed to evaluating ideas and solutions that can
improve the show whilst maintaining the integrity of our sport,” he said.

“We felt that the reintroduction, after 60 years, of a point for the driver of the fastest lap in the race goes in this direction. We have been considering this solution – which represents a response to detailed research carried out with thousands of our fans around the world – for a number of months.

“How many times have we heard the drivers on the radio ask the team about who holds the fastest lap? Now it will no longer be only a matter of record and prestige, but there will be a concrete motivation that will make the final part of the race even more interesting. Sometimes it is useful to remind ourselves of the heritage of our sport to move forward.”

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Author information

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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  • 78 comments on “F1 approves plan to award a point for fastest lap in 2019”

    1. and said reviving the rule has the support of fans.

      Based on the reaction i’ve seen over the last week i’m not so sure about that.

      1. Then again there were those horribly leading fan survey’s they were putting out a few months ago that was basically leading you towards the answers they wanted.

        I came away from the one feeling like i’d just voted in favor of a reverse grid sprint race when I in fact cannot stand the idea.

        1. georgeboole (@)
          11th March 2019, 19:49

          @stefmeister if there was a poll it would probably look like the one I took for summer/winter time in the EU.
          I was never asked wether I wanted to keep one of them but all questions were like…had time change was not available which one would you prefer?
          So in that way yes it has the fans’ support

      2. Don’t fall into the echo chamber trap in thinking that just because a majority on this site don’t like it that this translates 1:1 to the global F1 audience.

      3. I want to talk with those fans F1 administration always point as supporting their most outrageous ideas.

    2. Pretty pointless (no pun intended) rule change,but oh well,can’t be worse than elimination qualifying or double points.

      1. Disagree. Finally a smart move by Liberty. It will create more interest and competition with no additional cost to anyone.

    3. A conclusive survey of more than two dozen inF1uencers, shareholders and internet personalities found in favour of “Moar Pointz”, as well as races every Fortnite.

      1. And the victor does a Fortnite-style dance over the other two podium finishers!

        1. They always saying this is for the good of the realm. But peasant word never matter. It’s always #ForTheWatch.

    4. Ok, Liberty, am I right that in like 3-4 months we’ll have:
      – Reverse grid 2nd race
      – Fanboost
      – Medals
      – Random double-point races (double-points will be revealed after the finish)
      – WEC-style Balance of Performance

      If so, can you please add one more – my favorite (I proposed it on numerous website for the last 15-20 years) – mini-hellfire missiles! Not lethal to drivers – but one good shot and a wheel\wings\gearbox is gone! What can be more entertaining!?!

      1. They’ll mess up this too, like Indycar. FanBoost it and I stop watching.

        1. You forgot the track sprinklers.

    5. Liberty was talking beautifully but here we go again… The 2021 rules package has a big delay and probably it’s not going to be any kind of revolution while hastily introducing rules for no obvious purpose.

    6. Now they’re at it, they might as well start thinking about a points system overhaul.

    7. Boooooooo!!!!
      Hisssssssss!!!!
      Boooooooo!!!!

      1. Is that your turbo opening the blow-off valve? ;)

    8. Shouldn’t they rather fix the tyre/fuel/engine/[insert random car part name here] saving if they want drivers to push flat out during the whole race?
      What this rule will probably do is to encourage out of points drivers pitting 1-2 laps before the end to try a quali lap, juste to get a point. Formula E used to have this kind of behaviour a few seasons ago.

      1. @dan_the_mclaren_fan

        the point for fastest lap will only be awarded if the driver who sets the fastest lap of the race finishes in the top 10.

        1. And thats exactly the problem. It’s not the fastest lap but the fastest lap by point finishers.
          It’s quite possible someone put in a faster lap but does not get rewarded.

          1. MB (@muralibhats)
            11th March 2019, 22:11

            So what are you protesting against? The extra point itself or not providing that option to the who grid? The OP was against the idea of the points and you sound for it.

            So what this does is not provide points to someone outside points which makes sense. Else someone can amass 21 points only through this and if a team like Williams does work hard to get 5 points, be overtaken by them?

            1. It, ‘s easy. It’s only for the fastest lap if…
              So not really for the fastest driver on track. That’s no good.

    9. How many times have we heard the drivers on the radio ask the team about who holds the fastest lap?

      Exactly. How many times? Besides Vettel in his Red Bull years, I don’t remember any other situation like that. It’s a meaningless stat that shouldn’t be part of the world championship title winner decision, just like pole position.

      I also fear for their over explanation about fans supporting the idea. It reeks of marketing research, deciding on something because people like it not because it’s a good idea or has a valid argument for it.

      They honestly can go to hell… Every year I grow more disappointed by the way F1 is… I’m reaching the limit. I have to make a special effort to watch it given its not available where I am (unless I pay a fortune I cannot afford), competition is worse, and on top of it they do stuff like this…

      1. I think Verstappen did something like that a few times too in the last 2 years. But off course now teams will let their drivers take that point when they see the opportunity

      2. Alonso almost every race.

    10. No-gimmicks Liberty and the FIA solving all the non-issue issues. Because…

      1. @jimmi-cynic First the idiotic B-film staging pre-USA race, then say they don’t want to gimmick-up F1 and now the point for fastest and push women into cars in the space of 1 week.

        We knew there would be gimmicks with American owners especially with all the ‘attract the younger viewers’ -talk, but at least it’s not Formula E bad yet.

    11. Terrible idea. DRS, gimmicks and now this. They are robbing my sport, the one I follow for more than 20 years. Sad.

    12. I’m not too fussed by this- let’s let it run and see how good/bad it is.

      I’d also like to propose (without any irony):
      1. Strong DRS, but eliminate DRS zones- just give each driver 90 seconds of DRS per race for use at will. A digital display showing how many seconds left on the side of the car.
      2. A new penalty whereby a driver must drive round the outer portion of a corner if they’ve made a minor error (eg leaving the track or illegally gaining an advantage). Drivers would self-penalise within two laps of the error- failure to do so may incur a worse penalty.

      These are not gimmicks, I genuinely believe that they would improve racing!

      1. Having a timed DRS would overcomplicate it. Just have a set number of times it can be used (as braking closes it). Something like no. of laps minus 10, so in a 60 lap race you can use DRS 50 times. No activation zones or 1 second rule.

      2. What about the ERS that is still limited to 2MJ per lap? freeing some restrictions there should make for more powerful cars as well as unfolding more significant development in the PU area.

    13. I see this as a positive and I don’t quite understand the hatred that it’s getting from a lot of people.

      For years I’ve seen complaint after complaint about how so many races turn into nothing but a fuel and tire management game. This counters that! I think it could certainly spice things up towards the end of a GP. For instance, if a car is running 7th, 15-20 seconds back from 6th as the laps wind down, there’s currently no reason to push. Gaining a position is essentially impossible, and there’s nothing to gain by putting additional stress on the equipment.

      However, in that same scenario, the driver in 7th could push hard and set a fastest race lap to gain that additional point. Now there’s something to play for! And that one driver pushing hard for that point could lead other drivers to try and take it away from them. One point can mean an awful lot at the end of the season, not just for the midfield teams but at the top as well. Over the course of the season, there’s now 21 additional points to play for.

      Things could get even spicier if someone pushing for a fastest lap pushes too hard and winds up losing a position, or falling out of the Grand Prix entirely.

      I think it’s a positive move that will encourage more action in what can often otherwise be a rather dull period. I don’t think it’s gimmicky as some people say; this is rewarding a driver and team for a genuine accomplishment. Stuff like this I welcome; I hope someday the real gimmicks (like DRS) go away.

      1. @partsguy20

        I don’t quite understand the hatred that it’s getting from a lot of people

        And I don’t understand how anybody would be fine with the title being decided by the random event who had enough space behind to put on fresh tyres at the end of races.

        1. The next logical step would be to award a bonus point for an on-track pass.

        2. @balue I’d argue it’s not random when all the teams know about the incentive, as they will adjust their strategies accordingly.

          We’ll surely see teams running strategies designed specifically to fill those gaps and block those possibilities—maybe using their B teams to run interference or, if they’re out of the points, snatch them away from their competitors.

          Of course whether this is preferable is a matter of taste. Personally, I’m intrigued. And although there has been a lot of discussion about how these points might affect the standings, you could very well have an absorbing strategic fight where no point is awarded. And I would be fine with that—just as an absorbing, close on-track battle that ultimately results in no overtake is far better than someone breezing past with DRS.

    14. Ok. So now it has been approved. Who do you say will get the most of available 21 points? I’ll start.
      Bottas 14 pts. Gasly 7 pts.

      1. I think Hamilton and Vettel will get the lions share of these points.

        1. @drycrust I can’t see Seb, Lewis, Charles & Max would count on having trouble-free pit stop to get a single point and risk losing more points.
          It’s an opportunity for the fifth and sixth fastest driver who would certainly have a decent gap to the mid-field.

          1. They won’t need fresh tyres, they’ll just enable qualy mode for a lap.

            1. If Valtteri was the only one using a fresh tyre at the last two laps, Seb/Lewis most probably can’t match his time. When he happen to be in the best three, Gasly can do the same.

            2. I think you’re right. I don’t know how the strategists will work it, but my suspicion is the person winning the race will probably walk away with this extra point.

      2. @ruliemaulana
        As time goes by, teams will use sleight tactics to ensure someone (Sebastian or Lewis) doesn’t get the point. We can multiple scenarios here.
        1. Assuming there are no.1 and no.2 drivers in each team, RBR will ensure Pierre goes for the point every single race.
        2. Take sister/B-teams such as Alfa Romeo, RP and STRH–top three will ensure someone from one of these three sets the fastest lap simply to make sure someone at the top doesnt get it–doesnt matter where drivers finish from 11–20 anyway–it is literally pointless.
        3. Take the midfield, not all of them will have 21 good races–Haas might be strong on track X and Renault might be strong on Track Y. Same no.1 no.2 situation. Kevin Mag will be running in 11th ahead of (say) Kvyat by 20–30 odd seconds–simply pit for a quali tyre and ensure Daniel or Hulk dont get the point.

        The team with most points wins–you may either outscore them or make sure they don’t outscore you.
        I foresee a lot of fan hatred because of this.

    15. If I’m to pick something good that might come out of this is the prospect of having the machinery pushed out more often instead of cruising home.

      Apart from that, I’m not sure if it’s a good move.

      1. @niefer I don’t think it’s going to result in drivers pushing harder for longer, If anything it may end up with them trying to save the tyres more so in the final stint so that they have more grip left for the final 2-3 laps where they may go for the fastest lap. In which case it add’s nothing.

        However it’s more likely going to just end up been a point for the driver who’s highest up the order with the biggest gap to the car behind enabling him to pit for new soft tyres with 5 laps left which gives him the fastest lap almost by default & I don’t think that scenario is deserving of an extra point.

        1. @stefmeister I’m not sure that would happen so often, because it’s too risky saving tyres so early without knowing what others are up to. It’s kinda giving them a head start.

          As for the latter, I think it’s a fair point.

    16. Teams will need to staff-up with an additional strategy analyst to figure out, if, when, who and how they are going to go after the point.
      If I were a team manager and had a car running in 12th place, what the heck, go for it. Now before everyone jumps on me that it is only the top 10 that can get the point, what if two cars drop out in the last 5 laps, you’re there and it does happen, and even if not, imagine the embarrassment of giving a point for Fastest Lap to someone that didn’t turn the Fastest Lap. That would be fun.

      1. Oh yes, forgot to say, I think this is a stupid idea and would wager that it winds up in the bin with double points and elimination qualifying.

        1. Agreed.
          Who saves a set of qualy tyres just in case we can go for an extra point?
          More likely to be the race leader to go for it with 2 laps to go.

      2. When someone who finishes outside the top 10 sets the fastest lap, the fastest lap point is awarded. It says so in the announcement.

        1. That should be “NOT awarded”, sorry! Edit button needed.

    17. Why is it only available for finishers in the top 10? If there is going to be this nonsense then at least allow everyone to play. What wrong with Kubica getting a point for FLAP but finishing 11th? Should a 6th place Bottas get it for setting a slower time but finishing 6th, though this is a much worse result for that team and driver? What’s the point for a slow team even finishing a race – no potential points for a glory run, just turn down the engine and cruise to the finish.

      We can all guess that this will just go to whoever is running last of the Big 3 teams given how much of a gap behind they have to pit for new tyres at the end of the race.

      Also, will there be pressure to add extra scrutiny with blue flags? Can see pressure to move cars out of the way because they’re 3 seconds in front and their wash is slowing down a driver in the hunt for the WDC who is on a hot lap.

      1. I believe that if someone outside the top ten sets the fastest lap, then no-one gets a point. So you could have those outside the top ten trying for it, just to prevent those inside the top ten getting an extra point.

      2. I agree, it should be open to everyone or not at all. Okay, so it’s said some drivers will pit, wait quite a while, then suddenly reappear to claim this extra point. I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to come up with rules that will exclude those who haven’t made an honest attempt to run the entire race distance from getting this extra point.
        Regarding Blue Flags, maybe a car that has been lapped could let the lap ahead car passed just before the start – finish line, then use the “tow” to give themselves the chance to bag the fastest lap time for themselves (extra point or not).

    18. I’m fine with this. It is unlikely that it would decide a championship and it will give those sometimes dull races some intrigue towards the end.

      1. @trido That’s pretty much my view on it. I’d personally rather they didn’t bring this in but I’m not too bothered that they have. There are lots of potential negatives in regards to this but there are also some decent positives.

        If I had to pick one out of DRS, elimination qualifying, “wasp-in-a-jar” engines, halo, B-teams, double points, fanboost, reverse-grids or points for fastest lap, I’d pick this.

    19. I remember when finicky fans used to complain and sometimes mock the teams and drivers for going for the glory of fastest lap when they were out of the running. Saying things like, ‘it’s ‘pointless’. Well not anymore!

    20. I will withhold judgment until I see how this plays out. But it seems to me that since it was dropped in 1959 and F1 has survived the last 60-odd years without it, then there is probably no need and its just a gimmick. We shall see.

    21. F1 2019 now with added point for fastest lap.

      Everyone does a shot when they hear “blue flags, blue flags!” because it’ll be more than ever before!

    22. “As reported previously, the point for fastest lap will only be awarded if the driver who sets the fastest lap of the race finishes in the top 10.” Discriminatory practices are still very pervasive in modern society. Make everyone eligible you elitists.

    23. Does Ross actually believe some of the things he’s saying, or just toeing the company line. Bringing back something from the 50’s sounds really innovative.

      Let’s imagine for a minute that a driver in 10th or 11th place is a lap down but still in with a chance of being in the points and is on a flyer way faster than the driver in 1st place (and easily the fastest lap with a few laps to go) and the driver in 1st place blocks him…… and they make contact.

      Oh wait…….

      1. @dbradock: All the brilliant minds work in F1. And why so few are available to work for the FIA or Liberty.

        1. @jimmi-cynic. Love it.

          Mind you there are a few at liberty like the ones that write the unanswerable Fan Voice Surveys and the ones that then interpret the results (even though the published ones don’t reflect it) to give an answer that someone at Liberty wants to hear.

          Scary stuff really. Next Ross will be saying that the overwhelming majority of fans are in favour of Fanboost, Activation Zones, short narrow tracks, increased DRS and giving each driver a little bag of oil that they can fling out of their car to disrupt any following cars just like Mario Karts.

          1. @dbradock: Spot on. Liberty’s Plan for Fan Engagement and Probable Domination is scary.

            Your list is probably accurate, but expect RBR will decline the little bags of oil because it might confuse fans and harm the Honda brand.

            In the 20 Questionable Things thread, I speculated (using the most astute results-driven, conclusions-confirmed polling software):

            The Fan Stewards Button was Liberty’s answer to FE’s critically acclaimed Fan Boost. Also served as an aspirational cost-saving budget cap measure – no need to employ know-it-all former drivers, when know-it-all fans can make bad calls just as well for free.

            The next stage in cost-cutting and fan engagement will be the F1 Fan CFD App. Available on all platforms – consumes all available processing – not compatible with F1 Streaming App or Fan Stewards Button. The Fan CFD App will assist Liberty and Ross to develop designs that allow the cars to follow closely without grievous performance loss. This time for sure.

            Rumours swirled that the CFD App was just bitcoin mining malware designed to assist sagging share price and fulfil Liberty’s new revenue sharing agreement with the teams.

      2. Bring back the 50s! Alfa Romeo and a point for fastest lap.
        Why not reinstate the entire 50s points system? 8-6-4-3-2-nothing for everyone else, and only your best 5 results count!

    24. Here’s an idea, not really on topic but hey: Combine quali time + championship standing to form race grid.

      Giving a time penalty for each point driver has in the championship standing. Say 0.1s per point.

      That would ensure front runners start at the back but quali still counts, very soon cars would become great at overtaking.

      1. Tell Liberty @jureo, as this would be fantastic if you wanted to “improve the show”.

        But 0.01s per point would be enough. 100 points would be worth 1 second, meaning the fast cars would have to use the fast tyres in Q1 like everyone else.By mid-season the top cars will be mid-grid and by the end of the year they’ll be needing to battle through the entire field, including their slower team-mates.

        1. Weight per point is adjustable. :) I agree 0.01s would be better.

          1. Remind me to keep track of what starting grids would look like in 2019 with that idea applied!

    25. Great to see a fix for a non existing problem

      This will really spice up battle for 5th in the championship

    26. So could this happen: Top 10 driver has the fastest lap. Driver on postition 14 pits, puts on new tyres, adjusts wings, takes a sip of cold drink and goes on to get the fastest lap so that the Top 10 driver WOULDN’T get the extra point. Nobody would get the extra point, but one point is taken away from whoever had it before… Even title could be decided by such manouver.

      1. Your tinfoil hat (or MAGA cap?) is much too tight. Relax.

    27. Okay, so I’ve been on this website for a number of years now! By far my most visited page in my browser history! But today feels like the right moment to make my first comment.

      The announcement of a point being awarded for the fastest lap has been met by a chorus of boos, which i fully understand! But I remember during the early 2000s many fans and media alike were clamouring for such an idea, along with a point for pole position! So why the sudden change of heart?

      I also seems to remember fans cheering and shouting from the rooftops when Liberty Media took over our sport, me personally, i wasnt a fan and I knew that the gimmicks would soon follow. And as soon as i saw Micheal Buffer announce the drivers at COTA 2017 i knew we was in trouble. But yet its only now people are realising that Liberty are not here for the greater good of the sport, they are here to make profit by any means possible, and attract fans by any means possible. I attended the Abu Dhabi grand prix in November and i have to say, it basically felt like i was turning up at a music festival and not a Grand Prix weekend.

      A point for the fastest lap is just the start of the gimmick train, so strap yourself in people. This is what you wanted instead of Bernie

      1. Congrats, @ashleyxander, on your first comment.

        On behalf of the non-first commenters, why didn’t you warn us sooner!?! ;-)

        However, it’s a false choice between Bernie/CVC or Liberty – we didn’t choose either of them.

        1. Haha thank you Jimmi

          Agreed we didnt choose Bernie or Liberty, but the latter have proven to be a false dawn

    28. I dont’ get the part of “only first 10 positions”. Drivers in the first 10 are already sort of pushing to get their share of points home. If you want everybody pushing hard it would make sense to allow this 1 point to the 11th-20th runners as well. But I get the reasoning behind this: people already out of the points pitting for tires and setting the fastest lap… well at this point I don’t know if this is so good as I first envisaged it

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