Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2022

Red Bull call decision to award full points for Japanese GP a “mistake”

2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes it was a “mistake” to award full points for the Japanese Grand Prix, despite the decision securing the championship for his driver Max Verstappen.

The FIA’s decision to give full points for a race which ran to little more than half its scheduled distance caught many teams by surprise. Heavy rain caused a two-hour interruption to proceedings and led to the race concluding after 28 laps out of a scheduled 53.

Red Bull and several of their rivals expected the FIA would award points in line with new rules which were introduced this year. These stipulate a race winner receives 19 points for a race which runs to less than 75% distance.

However the FIA determined that full points should be awarded as the rules state the reduced points are only used “if a race is suspended in accordance with Article 57 and cannot be resumed.”

Horner believes this is not how the FIA and teams intended the new rules to work when they were devised following last year’s farcical Belgian Grand Prix, in which half-points were awarded for a race which official consisted of a single lap behind the Safety Car.

“When you read the regulations, what I think was supposed to be fixed following Spa, perhaps is unspecified in the regs,” he said. “So unexpectedly we won, which is a phenomenal achievement by Max and the team.”

Verstappen had not mathematically clinched the championship after the race until Charles Leclerc lost second place to Sergio Perez after being handed a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage. Horner feels it is logical that reduced points should be awarded in any race that fails to meet the maximum 75% distance threshold.

“I think it’s a mistake that wasn’t included after the issues in Spa last year,” he said. “The regulations obviously haven’t been mopped up because we were under the strong impression that only 75% points would be scored.

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“So we felt we were going to be one point short. But in the end, Checo’s move on Charles nailed Max the championship. So you could see his surprise, the team’s surprise. But what a wonderful surprise.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Japanese Grand Prix in pictures
Verstappen won the title after a penalty demoted Charles Leclerc to third place behind Sergio Perez. Before that happened, Red Bull were so convinced the lower points total would be given that they were considering whether they should pit Verstappen in a bid to score the bonus point for fastest lap and increase his chance of taking the title.

“We thought we were going to be one point short,” said Horner. “So we were playing with the idea of pitting, but it was unsure whether Checo would pass Charles or not.”

Horner added he is “certain” the rule will be changed.

Red Bull’s championship rivals Ferrari also did not expect to get full points for the race. “We were confused ourselves,” its team principal Mattia Binotto admitted. “We thought it would not have been the full awards. So initially our calculation was such that [Verstappen] was not world champion.

“But at the end a clarification has been given, which is an okay clarification. So I think it’s simply accepted and that’s the way it is, he’s world champion. I think that it’s clear enough.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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50 comments on “Red Bull call decision to award full points for Japanese GP a “mistake””

  1. It is pretty ridiculous this has happened as this ‘interpretation’ leaves open the possibility (slight as it is) for a 1 lap race being awarded full points. Points paid should be dependent on percentage of laps complete irrespective of how the race is ended.

    1. I guess that is true but that would be ridiculous. Again the FIA makes it more complicated should have sticked with the original rule. But the FIA and rules is not a good combination

    2. Again FIA have betrayed the millions of fans tuning in to watch formula 1 by messing up their own rules/not getting their house in order multiple times during this race.
      Leaving a tractor on track while cars are still in racing conditions
      Ending the race a lap early
      Awarding full points.

      Lets hope they release the results of the cost cap audit without any issues

  2. If Fia is not able to clarify rules to teams how do they expect viewers will know what is happening?

    1. @seth-space considering all of the ridiculous outcomes in F1 and you can gamble on in certain countries maybe Mika Salo had a wager on max clinching the title here? But in all seriousness how is he allowed to be anywhere near the stewarding position today after his past controversy at Russia a few years ago when he made outside sources (I assume big sportsbooks) aware that Lewis would get a penalty before it was made official.

      There is no argument if Max would win (barring budget cap exclusion) the WDC this season but it did appear that the fia did everything possible to secure the win and the title at this race. Suzuka race is important because Japanese corporation Honda is Red bulls premium sponsor racing on a Track Honda owns, maybe the fia is sending a message to Honda that they should stay in f1 (possibly as a works team buying AT) in the future and threw them a bone in the form of wunderkind winning on their doorstep…

      Similar to the farce last race of 2021, Liberty media and FIA loves to have a grandstand Hollywood finish and bend the rules and read them them how they see fit..

    2. What was happening was clear in the on-screen graphics. In the UK, the Sky F1 commentators thought the graphics were wrong; in fact, the commentators were wrong and unsurprisingly the graphics were correct.

      1. It wasn’t just Sky F1’s commentators from what I’ve heard, it was plenty of others too as well as the teams.

  3. There was a race and it lasted more than 50% of the original distance.

    I’m perfectly fine with awarding full points for that.

    1. Me two. But I’d like to know…

  4. The race should have run to 29 laps based on the timer, but the chequered was displayed 1 lap early for some unknown reason. The 28th lap should be nullified and LEC placed 2nd, opening up the WDC again, yikes.

    1. Yep that was a weird one. According to the commentary Max crossed the line with 2sec to go.

    2. Huh? The race was a lap too short so the solution is to remove another lap? That doesn’t make any sense.

      1. It’s what the regulations specify. It’s what they did at the last Japanese GP in 2019, I don’t make the rules.

    3. I wouldn’t want you to be my carpenter, that’s for sure. If something is short already, don’t use a saw to fix it!
      This isn’t the first time a race has been flagged off a lap early, but never have they shortened a too short race with another lap.
      On another note: I guess they used the same calculator to calculate the budget cap. No wonder no-one is able to keep track :)

      1. They did it in Japan in 2019! How long have you been watching F1?

    4. No, the +1 lap is if you hit the 2 hour timer. That’s to stop a farcical situation where a driver who might be miles in the lead slowing down to run down the 2 hour timer.

      The 3 hour timer is to set a limit on the end of the event. Light fades, things have to be packed, people have flights to catch. Of course the farcical situation I refer to is a possibility here.

      1. Incorrect, Grand Prix length is always set as a distance, not a time.

        Standard distance is 305Km +1 lap. (Monaco has a shorter distance specified, +1 lap). Alternatively, 2 hours +1 lap (with no stoppage), or 3 hours +1 lap (with a stoppage).

        If the chequered flag is signalled before the appropriate distance, the last lap that was completed is deleted, this is what they did in Japan in 2019.

        1. strange thing is here you sound as if you know.

          But what I’ve heard (and I always state my opinion as an opinion, not as fact) is that what Raymond Pang is saying is the actual correct situation

  5. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    9th October 2022, 13:50

    I can understand Horner’s comments, it was an unnecessary distraction which has taken some of the shine off an utterly dominant season for both RBR and Verstappen. He had the look of someone a bit miffed despite the landslide victory him and his team has achieved.

    1. Because no one knew what the hell was going on. He probably also did not want to fully celebrate until he had it in writing. The whole thing was a farce.

    2. @brightlampshade Maybe he is aware of the budget cap decision and does not want to celebrate knowing that the cars could possibly be excluded?

      Also no one has not clarified why the race ended 1 LAP early. Max crossed the line just before the clock went to zero so it should be 00:00 plus one 1 lap but why was the last lap graphic shown. Every other FIA series does this so why is F1 any different?
      I know it does not make a massive difference but it feeds into the narrative that FOM run a clownshow with inconsistent WWE style officiating and this entire race was a mismanaged embarrassment (modern F1 cars and FOM allergic to running races with full wets robbing fans of a full race for example) from start to finish

      1. No, the +1 lap is if you hit the 2 hour timer. That’s to stop a farcical situation where a driver who might be miles in the lead slowing down to run down the 2 hour timer.

        The 3 hour timer is to set a limit on the end of the event. Light fades, things have to be packed, people have flights to catch. Of course the farcical situation I refer to is a possibility here.

        I think Raymond Pang is correct

    3. Bruno Verrari
      9th October 2022, 16:28

      Fully agree, if the assumtion is correct.

  6. Like everyone else I’m just baffled at how things got so confusing in such a short period of time, in every way. Race results, post-race penalties, and now even championship points…

    The fact that they reviewed the rules specifically for a situation like this last year after Spa, and then managed to write two rules that cancel each other gives so little hope that FIA can even decide what’s right and what’s wrong at any other level in the sporting, technical and finantial regulations.

    How come the fix for Spa ended up like this, where a race can run for just a few laps and still get full points?

    1. Why did we need a fix for Spa. It happened once and not likeley it will happen again. Now we have additional rules that makes it only more complicated.

      1. The fix didnt fix anything, but it was necessary.
        The backalsh was too much. Anyone if 2 brain cells knew that they run 3 laps only to make it count as a full event and to avoid refunds. So, a CYA burocratic parade had a major influence on the WDC result.

      2. Maybe it was a good idea to (try to) fix a rule that allows for people to pay 300 bucks in order to wait in the pouring rain for 4 hours, then see a 1 lap “race” and having to walk by a ridiculous podium ceremony, but what do I know???

        1. Completley not related to the rule of awarding points. If it rains and they can’t race you still don’t get your 300 bucks back.

  7. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
    9th October 2022, 14:14

    FIA makes some odd decisions. Either way it would not impact Max being the champion (it was a matter of time) but this could have championship impact for that tight mid team battles

  8. After actually reading the rule it was clearly not a mistake and very plain to see full points were what the rules said should be awarded.

    I also think full points for a half race distance are fine in and of itself, but if they want to half points or 25% points in the future in such cases and adapt the rule accordingly that is just as well.

    However, the rule as it is, is what it is and was applied correctly. Thus not a mistake.

    1. Yep. Just like how reading an instruction manual is usually a good idea, so is reading the rules.

    2. I think he meant the mistake was made in the writing of the rule rather than in its application.

      1. When I was at school I was taught to always read and understand an exam question before answering it. The same advice would be well-advised here. The rule (6.5) isn’t ambiguous.

        Spa ’21 ended under a red flag with no laps without a safety car or vsc. The new sporting regs this year addressed exactly that situation. Horner doesn’t seem to understand that.

  9. A lot of people probably switched off after the cars crossed the finish line and therefore may not even be aware Max has won the WDC…lol. Bit embarrassing all round.

    1. Last race learned us you can’t switch off until 3 hours after a race. We also now know they need 9 months after a season to calculate the cost cap so don’t witch off :-)

    2. Bruno Verrari
      9th October 2022, 16:34

      He’s not! The FIA is cheatibg through its own arrogancy:
      They flagged the race a lap short (with a few seconds of racetime still left when Max got the chequered flag), so the last lap shall be deleted and the results of the second-last lap become the official ones.
      Charles is second, according to them!
      Any other reasoningbis invalid.

      1. Your logic is, ehm, special: You say the FIA ended the race a lap too soon, because Verstappen had yet to pass the line when the timer goes to 0. so you would shorten the race with another lap?
        The rule, as far as I know is: “The race can not exceed two hours in length—if this interval is reached, the race will be ended at the end of the next full lap”
        The next full lap, not the first pass over the start/finish line. If his last lap was slower than 106.1s, (time after counter hit 0.00 until he was flagged as finished) you can argue they needed to add another lap (because he must have been over the line the moment the timer hit 0,00), not shorten it by another one…

  10. Hopefully, FIA won’t mess up with this rule aspect again.

    1. Ahhhh … dare to dream. Dare to dream. Ya gotta have faith. Of course they will.

  11. The rule seems unnecessarily complex. I think, in this instance, Horner is correct. They should apply the percentage of laps completed rule to all races regardless of if there is a red flag and restart. It’s just simple and clear this way. Unsurprisingly FIA have added an extra, unneeded complication.

    1. Given that the teams, the commentators, and I expect most fans thought the points rules applied differently, it suggests to me the rule needs changing!

      1. Yes change it back to the original rule and bring back the grid girls.

      2. FIA can’t do anything about people not reading the rules. 6.5 is very clear:

        “If a race or sprint session is suspended in accordance with under Article 57,
        and cannot be resumed, points for each title will be awarded in accordance with the
        following criteria…”

        What FIA can do about people interpreting that as applying to races which finish with the chequered flag? Did they really need to have written “guys, this doesn’t apply if the race finishes under racing conditions, only if the race is suspended when the total race time reaches three hours”?

        1. *What can the FIA do about…

  12. The FIA are clearly again not fit for purpose they change rules to suit other teams it’s a question of moving the goal posts again

  13. Meh, FIA being FIA..

    Tractors on track, waving flag early,…

    It is telling Red Bull even wantrd to pit Verstappen, to get fastest lap..

    The struggle is real, teams really want those points when title is on the line.

  14. Another classic example of why Liberty and American “sportsmanship” is a disaster to any sport they control with their pencil!

    1. true! Scammed and Rigged… they wanted max to be champ in Japan and they made it happen… the rules can be manipulated as they please… the amount of mistakes since Masi left is embarassing… i am starting to lose interest in this farse

    2. What does the promotor have to do with the regulator?

  15. What does the promotor have to do with the regulator?

Comments are closed.