Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

China showed point for fastest lap “really works” – Brawn

2019 Chinese Grand Prix

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Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn says the Chinese Grand Prix vindicated the decision to reintroduce a bonus point for fastest lap this year.

“I was particularly pleased to see that the innovation introduced in partnership with the FIA for this season, that of awarding a point to the driver setting the fastest race lap, is beginning to have an effect,” said Brawn after Sunday’s race.

Pierre Gasly scored the bonus point after making an extra pit stop with three laps to go in order to change tyres.

“The lure of an extra point, as long as it’s set by a driver who is in the top 10 at the flag, was driven by the desire to add a bit of spice to the final stages of a race, especially when the order seems more or less set,” said Brawn. “China worked out just that way.

“The top six positions more or less decided, but with Pierre Gasly a healthy amount of time clear of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, his Red Bull team decided to exploit the opportunity that gap gave for a free pit stop. They pitted the Frenchman for a set of soft tyres and sent him on his way for a crack at the fastest lap.

“It was great to watch the timing screens on the penultimate lap, seeing Gasly post personal bests in all three sectors to eventually steal the fastest lap from Sebastian Vettel.

“Prior to Gasly’s stop, you could also listen to other drivers discussing their options in the closing stages with their team on the pit wall, even though none of them took any extreme risks. This was a rule invented to please the fans and I think that today we saw that it really works.”

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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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  • 48 comments on “China showed point for fastest lap “really works” – Brawn”

    1. I still hate it.

      This was exactly what I was worried was happen.

      It’s a competition between about 2-3 drivers who have a gap behind them doing a fast lap on new tyres when their competition are doing what their mean to, trying to win a 50-70 lap race.

      If it means more genuine 2 stops rather than 1 stops it won’t be bad, but I don’t want to see pit stops 2 laps from the end.

      1. I have to say I’ve missed this feature since it was previously abolished but… I also now have to admit I’m not happy with the way it’s working out…

      2. I still think it is early days. Now the impact of the fastest lap point doesn’t seem so significant to drivers and teams. But imagine a scenario, 3 races to go, just a few points separating several drivers, then people might genuinely have a go at it in a racing scenario . Look at the conclusion of 2016. All Rosberg had to do for the final 4 races was come in second , which he dully did, and won the championship by 5 points. 5 fastest laps over the course of a season, just imagine hamilton had taken 2 more of those during the season then rosberg. All of a sudden lewis can win by doing what he did (winning those 4 races) and taking those fastest laps. Rosberg knows this and has to respond accordingly.

        I think there is still a lot of untapped potential in the fastest lap point. I agree the way gasly did it was the fastest lap point at it’s most bland. But give it time

        1. That sounds like an interesting scenario @melkurion, let’s hope the flap point does turn out like that.

      3. Agree. It’s a pointless one point gimmick.

        If Liberty and Brawn really want to make the fastest lap something exciting, dole out 10 points for it. Then everyone in the top 6 will be incentivised to have an extra unnecessary pitstop.

        1. Indeed, 10 points are more like it, 40% of what you get from a win.

    2. While I didn’t mind it during the first two races and it went to a worthy driver, this time around this looked like a one point consolation price for the worst driver of the top teams.

      1. RB did it to take the point away from VET to help VER and RB’s constructors tally. Every point counts. FLAP points will become more valuable towards the end of the season and will prove to be one of F1’s better innovations.

    3. I suspect we can expect plenty of statements like this from Mr Brawn throughout the season on various subjects.

      1. BlackJackFan
        17th April 2019, 2:50

        agree 100%

    4. It would work if the last of the top 6 didnt always have a free pitstop in the race….

      1. Also what is the “top ten” rule trying to achieve? If any of the cars at the bottom are able to beat an top 6 car on fresh tyres they deserve a point more than anyone else on the grid.

        1. It prevents back-midfielders from not trying to go for the top 10 only circling around and trying to do the best lap. (Well, for now it’s only theoretical because they’re so far behind.)

        2. I think it would add spice to the race if they let any car be rewarded for fast lap.
          You know some egos are going to be bruised if a F1.5 car gets a point for turning a quicker lap than the “A” teams.
          It might even motivate them to try and save face.

          1. P7-10 are also F1.5 positions, so it could still happen regardless.

            1. @ho3n3r But F1.5 in P7-10 doesnt get free pitstops like P6 gets.

      2. @rethla Good points. It would be better to limit it to the top 5 – less chance of a sizeable enough gap for a late race pit stop.

        1. Useless, there will be races with only 5 top cars left in the race, or even 4 or 3.

    5. *facepalm*

      Mr.Brawn, it was the worst thing of Chinese GP! Wake up!

      1. Just to clarify:
        – from top 10 no one else bothered;
        – Gasly’s achievement only is in his position, which allowed for free pitstop.
        – the time he showed was totally unspectacular, irrelevant to race result and demonstration of personal skills.

        1. @DAllein

          You’re right, but Gasley had to get the extra point or he would have stayed below Kimi in the standings…. that’s the reason RB bothered.

          1. I thought it was done to take a point away from Ferrari not to get a point for GAS. VET is really close to VER one point could make a difference.

    6. I really likes it, and it worked perfectly in China.
      Fastest Lap is a real thing, and it doesn’t matter that a driver has fresh tyres, as it doesn’t matter if the driver has less fuel or drives a diva of a car. The fastest lap is exactly what it says it is.

      I don’t mind who gets it either; how can you even say one driver deserves it more than another.
      And I like the added storyline of discussions with the pit, the excitement of a pitstop, and following the timesheets if it will be broken.

      At least one happy fan ;)

      1. *liked

      2. @coldfly – make that two happy fans, nice to see a driver that had nothing to push for – push for a point.

        I would like it extended to the full field rather than the top 10 though – maybe encourage more drivers / teams to give it a punt. The last few laps of the race *can* be a little processional so if the lower ranked teams think they have a shot too – I’m all for it.

        1. I’m fine with it too.

      3. @coldfly I full agree with you.

        God forbid we’re now awarding points for F1 drivers *gasp* DRIVING AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, oh the horror.

        What should have happened was Leclerc also trying to salvage something meaningful from this race and proving a point in the process however his pit wall seemed determined to make him score as few points as possible to let finger boy creep ahead in the standings. It would have been level pegging had they allowed him to go for the FLAP.

        1. Why not giving a point for the best groomed driver as well. Why not to push as hard as you can in personal apperance, brush youre teeth, get a fresh shave, shower yourself with finest lavender shampoo, and spice yourself with finest bottle of parfume instead of being all neglected looking while racing. Racing drivers must looka nd smell sharp too.

          Will we get points for best dressed mechanics as well….

    7. So the net is ‘fastest lap point makes otherwise boring, uninspired races acceptable’.

    8. “I was particularly pleased to see that the innovation introduced in partnership with the FIA for this season, that of awarding a point to the driver setting the fastest race lap, is beginning to have an effect,”.

      Innovation? Partnership with the FIA? Get this cheat out of here like they did with Flavio. So sick of this guys nonsense.

      1. BlackJackFan
        17th April 2019, 2:52


    9. Just waiting for the situation where one driver, leading another, slows to back him up so there isn’t enough gap to pit for tyres to go for the FL. Then Ross, we will see some excitement. Yeah….!!
      There will likely be more strategy applied to preventing someone getting the extra point than there will be to actually winning the point. What was Red Bull’s comment …. something along the line, “we prevented Ferrari picking up the point for FL.”

    10. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
      16th April 2019, 20:41

      Well, it works in that you give a point to the person with the fastest lap.

    11. It’s a consolation prize for whoever is 6th and has the gap. Besides, if the race hadn’t been THAT boring, no one would’ve realized Red bull were going for it. It wasn’t even discussed at Bahrain because the race was dramatic in itself.

      Gasly setting this meaningless fastest lap was as exciting as being punched in the face or falling down the stairs. It was a fitting end to a rubbish race…

      Meanwhile, those that cannot afford a free pitstop were having the race of their lives and we hardly saw them. Albon was holding off Grosjean and Perez was putting pressure on Danny Ric… And we have all this exciting moments uploaded to YouTube 48 hours after the Grand Prix because why show them during the race?? No, we have Gasly who had been outpaced by everyone in the top 5 by a mile pitting for fresh tyres so he scores a free point!!!!! Isn’t that great????!!!

      Ross, I’m deeply disappointed in you so far…

      1. You pretty much nailed it.

        There were a heap of battles going on further down the field that we saw very little of.
        As for discussions about fastest lap – we used to hear those well before there was any “point” on offer. They’re now just making sure the radio feeds about them are broadcast more often.

        If this is what we can expect from Ross, it’s hard to be confident about the 2019 regulations.

      2. @fer-no65 it wasn’t discussed in Bahrain because the race finished behind the safety car…

    12. Would have preferred to see Russell or Kubica try to do a “qualifying” lap and get a point. Would have been far more satisfying if they’d been allowed to do that, rather than Gasly’s freeby.

      1. @juan-fanger – Unfortunately for Williams – they would need to finish in the top 10 to qualify for a fastest lap point (as well as being fastest over a lap).

        1. Yes, @ahxshades that is exactly my point. Make it available to all teams, not just the top 6.

          1. +1

            However engine life must be shortened by deliberately going for fastest lap.

    13. How does this show it works? Did it create more racing? No, because if the driver is in a battle, he won’t take a pit stop to do this! Might as well have a lottery for the driver (in the top 10, oh, of course) who can build the greatest gap, he gets the point! Yep, we’ll all be on the edge of our seats following that!

    14. How did it work?

      What did it work at doing?

      It was a great example of how “pointless” the rule really is …

    15. Brawn, I once respected you.

      1. BlackJackFan
        17th April 2019, 2:55


        1. Could not agree more.

    16. Please Mr Brawn. Dont add too much chili.

    17. No it actually is not working. One guy went for it and got it, and so far only top three teams taken them so surprise surprise they are evne further ahead then others. Instead of real racing we are getting this fake BS and they are trying to convince us its great.

      FE is the great example how to stupidify racing to god level. Cant watch more than a minute with all that crappy fanboosts and other silly nonsense.

      If you want to ruin F1, its fine with me, but atleast have the decency to establish another one besides it, call it Jurrasic F1 if you like and allow it to have normal engines, unlimited amounts of engines/gearboxes, fuel and tyres and let the drivers race. The soft millenials can watch this modern circus of F1, and those who like real racing will watch the Jurrasic F1.

      And i dare to take a bet at any time that Jurrasic F1 would be more interesting for fans as for sponsors as well.

    Comments are closed.