Start, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Should F1 still award points if some teams have to miss races?

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Formula 1 is working out how to get its show back on the road following the unprecedented disruption to the start of this year’s championship.

F1’s motorsport director Ross Brawn initially indicated that if races had to go ahead without a full complement of teams, they wouldn’t be “world championship” events. Doing otherwise would be “unfair”, he said.

However Brawn has since revised that view, confirming that races could take place with fewer than 20 cars if needed.

While all fans will want to see F1 racing again as soon as possible, is it fair to run the championship if circumstances prevent all its competitors from taking part? Should F1 award points even if less than 10 teams show up for a race? Join in this weekend’s debate.


Teams being unable to attend races is not unprecedented. In 2014 two teams missed the closing stages of the championship. Had points not been awarded then, it would have affected the title fight, which went down to the final round.

It is unfortunate if some teams have to miss out on races, especially given the present circumstances, but doing otherwise would leave those who can race ill-rewarded.


The present circumstances are highly unusual and should be considered an exception. Previously teams have missed races because of financial problems. This year they are more likely to be forced to avoid races because of restrictions arising from the pandemic.

That shouldn’t stop F1 from holding races entirely, and those races will still enjoy widespread attention even if points aren’t awarded.

I say

The argument in favour of holding non-points races is a reasonable one under the circumstances and I understand the sympathy for it. But not awarding points for races doesn’t strike me as a realistic solution, not least because it would mean that if just one team couldn’t make all the races, the championship couldn’t go ahead.

You say

Should F1 award points for races even if all the teams can’t take part? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Do you agree F1 should award points this year in races which fewer than 10 teams enter?

  • Strongly agree (23%)
  • Slightly agree (25%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (5%)
  • Slightly disagree (15%)
  • Strongly disagree (31%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 110

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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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  • 28 comments on “Should F1 still award points if some teams have to miss races?”

    1. Tom Hitchings
      22nd March 2020, 13:23

      I say reintroduce the rule where, say, only your best 10 results count. This reduces the penalty from missing raises and was used to cover exactly this scenario in the days when missing some races was more common.

      1. I think this is a useful option, though with 8 being the minimum for a World championship, I’d go for 8 best results count (though imagine Mercedes winning 6, and finishing on the podium for the other 10, while Ferrari can only attend 12 races, but winning 8, one driver finishing 4 others on the podium – winning that driver the WDC, lol, mayhem?)

      2. I like this idea!

        There are pros and cons to all the different suggestions but I think this suggestion is quite ‘fair’.

    2. It will be hard to separate ‘cannot’ from ‘want not’. If Melbourne would not have been cancelled then it would have been a case of ‘want not’. If Italy were to decide to ban all foreign teams to enter the country around the Italian GP then it would be a case of ‘cannot’.
      Only FIA can judge every case, but based on recent decisions we cannot even trust them to be fully impartial.

    3. I voted strongly disagree.

      The first reason I watch F1 is for racing. Then, and only then, comes the season-long battle towards the two championships (not just #1, but up and down the entire field).

      Given the unusual circumstances, if one or more teams can’t make it due to the coronavirus, I’d prefer a non-championship race (or even season if team(s) are unfortunately that hard hit).

      Then we can see Hamilton battle Verstappen with his gloves off, instead of strategically avoiding a wheel-to-wheel fight with an eye on the championship. Then we can see the entire grid, and all teams just say “f it, let’s give it our best shot”.

      Instead of championship points, we can instead bring around rankings/ratings for various race-related activities – the driver with the most number of best overtakes, best defences, teams with the fastest pit stops, and other such razzmatazz. That’ll give a little something to look forward to at the end of the season.

      But all I want is to see cars racing.

      1. Interestingly, by voting against awarding points when not all teams can make it you might achieve the opposite, @phylyp.
        If there are no points up for grabs then other teams might decide to spare material/driver/etc.

        1. @coldfly – ugh, there never are simple solutions without side-effects, are there? Hmm, OK, how about no shows don’t get a cut of the (for once equitably distributed) prize money. Or else, no shows get a much smaller “sympathy cut”.

          1. @phylyp on the flip side, will those same hosts be willing to pay quite as much for a non-championship event, or for a grid which contains fewer entrants than they had originally expected to participate in that event?

            There aren’t any really easy answers in this situation – though, with the tightening restrictions on travel and the news that Pirelli is having to freeze most production lines anyway, it might be something of a moot point if there are no tyres available for the teams to use anyway.

            1. I think the problem is that Pirelli has too many tires available. They had already shipped out the Vietnam and Bahrain tires and I’m sure some of the other races had been made.

      2. I strongly agree. we have had less than 10 teams before. if a team opts to not race then the other teams shouldn’t suffer because of that.

        1. But I rather not see teams take risks, like taking people to a race who might be infected or would run a serious risk getting infected, just to score some points. Especially in this case where it could affect not only themselves but also their family and possibly many others.

    4. Don’t the rules cover this kind of situation — or at least something close to it?
      Also, aren’t the teams required to participate in every championship round, either by the rules or their contracts?
      If the race is not a “world championship race” and no points are awarded, doesn’t that release the teams from the requirement to participate? The only things teams really care about is the points for the constructors championship, because they translate directly into income — if the race awards no points, there is zero incentive to participate.

    5. I think it should be as Brawn said weeks ago. If any one team could not make a race because they were being withheld from travelling by their government, for example, which is pretty much today’s reality anyway, then it would not be fair to run a points race when one or more teams would have loved to be there but were not allowed to go.

      Otherwise once F1 has the green flag to race, which it would seem will only happen once the world opens back up again anyway, and one or more teams still chooses to not go to a race that has the world’s go-ahead to run, then it should be a points race where the team(s) choosing not to attend would lose out.

      Bottom line for me…there should be no need to run a non-points race, as either they will all be prevented from racing, or they’ll all have the green flag to race and they’ll all be there.

      As to Brawn ‘revising’ his view I don’t think he has revised it as much as added information. That he revealed in Australia that technically the FIA (not Liberty not Brawn) could use their discretion and run less than the 12 car minimum that we thought was the ‘law’ does not necessarily revise his opinion about points races vs non-points races and the circumstances which might determine that, or determine how to deal with an absent team or two based on if they were forced to stay away or chose not to attend.

      That Brawn said FIA ‘could’ run a race with less than 12 cars at their discretion does not mean they will, or want to, or are going to…it simply means that by the letter of the law they could. Has Brawn spoken to what he thinks of that concept, or has he just pointed out the reality of something that is available to the FIA?

    6. As a compromise I’d say yes and no. If the season starts at Baku but not all teams can make it, run the first few races as non-championship events, but establish a deadline that later races will count: something like “all the races held after the end of July will count towards the championship”.

      1. @kaiie – very smart. I like it.

      2. As a compromise I’d say yes and no.

        The word I dislike most in the German language.

    7. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
      22nd March 2020, 13:57

      Somewhat relctuantly, I’ve voted ‘slightly agree’.

      I think everyone would agree that such a circumstance is far from ideal, but in the context of Formula 1’s future it is critical that as much as possible of the sport’s contractual obligations, to all its various partners, are fulfilled.

      I would expect that holding non-championship rounds in lieu of full rounds would fail to meet many of these obligations. While the hard core would probably continue to watch, casual viewers would be disinclined if a race “didn’t count” and so viewership likely damaged.

      The entire 2020 season is an exercise in damage limitation now, and to refuse to host rounds in contractually allowable (even if less than ideal) circumstances, would be self sabotage.

    8. Well, this is another example of the bad habit of polls in this site where the question is worded very differently than the tone of the article suggests. Since the question of the poll is a generic one (instead of specific to Covid-19 situation), then my answer is definitive: strongly agree.

      In general, it’s part of the team responsibility to partake on all events if they want to maximize their chance of winning. So by default, every round should counts, no matter how many teams actually participating in that round. However, as usual, there always an exception to the rule. If agreed beforehand, of course a round can be run as a non championship round. The situation regarding Covid-19 (especially lockdown on Italy and the possibility of part of UK too in the future) is a good example where I will also strongly agree to be a good enough exception to make a non full field round to not award any championship points.

    9. As for racing this year and having a championship it’s already down to besting Mercedes and realistically only Ferrari or RedBull are in the position to beat them. Some say Ferrari may not win at all. So the Championship is for all purposes already over. If that is the case then Formula One should just get on with the Championship.
      Last month All Teams we’re prepared to get the season going. Once a real schedule can be established in what ever way it presents itself should then become the 2020 Championship. No excuses from any team. Here’s the race dates and until they are cancelled the Teams and Drivers Should approach every event whether it be ten total races or the full season as laid out last year. Put an asterisk on this Championship and just let Formula One do it’s thing in a much safer world sometime in the future. I hope I’ll be around.

    10. I voted for ‘strongly agree.’

    11. F1 isn’t fair. Award the points no matter what. What’s the point in a non-championship race in this day and age?

    12. I went strongly disagree simply because the racing/public exposure is the important thing for Liberty the teams and the sponsors.
      Skipping the WDC & WMC titles for a yr will not harm the sport.

      I’d like to add this. This is a first world problem, here we are debating whether the FIA should award points in order to or not a billion dollar sport has a world championship and entertain the mostly middle class. Covid 19 is just hitting the African continent, most of the countries do not have an advanced health structure or the number of hospitals trained doctors and nurses and equipment to cope with such a epidemic.
      I haven’t said this to make people feel bad or guilty, I think we need to take a step back and realize how lucky we are. F1 or any other sport being postponed will not have any real damaging effect on us.

      1. @johnrkh Well said and agreed. I think we all pretty much would agree, but it is perhaps a little ‘therapy’ at this point to hope we can tackle this soon enough to actually see some racing, as in, it would be symbolic of being on top of the virus. But for sure by the day it starts to seem more and more unlikely, and it is all an unknown.

        It is the gratefulness that I carry for having F1 in my life that is largely what has had me appear as Liberty/Brawn’s number one fan around here. That we actually had an entity take over post-BE and state and enact for the most part corrections to all the aspects of F1 that needed addressing, subject to it always being a work in progress, but a start to steering it in a better direction nonetheless…a necessary direction change…with the teams’ agreement…has me thrilled for the future. And why not? Can’t be worse, and I’m just grateful for what we have anyway.

    13. Captain burdzaye
      22nd March 2020, 21:17

      Why not go back to a principal used in some bygone years and award points for all races, BUT….

      Only allow teams to count their x best scores.

      For example a 10 race season that allowed the 7 best scores by each driver to be tallied for the championships. This would allow each team or driver to miss up to three races without it unduly disadvantaging them (although in reality it would depend on which race).

    14. Strongly against giving points if a team can’t compete. There are many reasons but one of the main ones for me is that it puts pressure on teams and drivers to compete when the focus should be on being careful to not spread this virus. I don’t want anyone taking a chance and showing up too early because they didn’t want to miss out on points.

    15. I said I strongly agree. Given the risks of travelling these days, if a team turns up it should be rewarded with the opportunity of scoring world championship points. Please understand, that isn’t a slight on any teams who couldn’t make these races because obviously each situation is different and the safety of race personnel is paramount… I just don’t see the point of not hosting a points paying world championship Grand Prix if the majority of the teams are present and the show is ready to go.

      Should the prize fund be distributed based on the points scored in these races? That is a much more important question.

    16. I voted neither agree nor disagree mainly because I believe each circumstance needs to be considered on it’s own merit. For example is it fair to have a race in Italy contested between only Ferrari & Alpha Tauri because Italy forbid foreign travel? Of course points should not be awarded in this scenario.

      However, if a team struggles financially due to the delays in the season and doesn’t turn up in Canada (fingers crossed!) for a race, then the season goes on without them with full points being awarded.

      So not an easy question to provide a one size fits all answer to.

    17. As a thought, why not introduce a season trophy named after someone important to F1, e.g. The Charlie Whiting Cup, and make the races count towards that?

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