Daniel Ricciardo, RB, Miami International Autodrome, 2024

F1 teams back extending points to 12th as “there are no backmarkers any more”

Formula 1

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Formula 1 should extend its points system to 12th place because the competition has become closer, team principals believe.

The F1 Commission last month deferred a decision on whether to award points to more than just the top 10 drivers, as it has done since 2010.

RB team principal Laurent Mekies is among those in favour of the change. “We think it’s a good idea to increase the points distribution, mainly because there is no back markers any more,” he said.

“We have 10 very strong teams. This year is a good example. We have a fantastic fight also in the second part of the grid, 10 cars fighting within one tenth [of a second], two tenths. Our pole position is P11, currently. Our win is P11 if nothing happens at the front, and the reliability of the guys at the front has been… extraordinary.”

Every grand prix so far this year has seen no fewer than 17 finishers, meaning at least seven driver in each have gone unrewarded. Mekies said it will make more sense for fans and viewers if the number of non-points-scoring finishers is cut.

“We think it’s a fantastic fight, we want to explain it to the fans. We want to explain it to our partners and we think that points will help to give value to that P11, which today for us is a victory. So for sure we are supportive of an extension of the point system.

“Whether you go to P12, to P14, to whatever, we can discuss. But I think where the level of competitiveness of the teams is so high nowadays that the fight in the midfield, the fight at the back will also deserve some points.”

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack believes newcomers to the sport will accept a change to the points system.

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“We have a new fanbase also. We are not any more the purists that we were for these many years. So I think it is really time to have a look at this.”

After the first six rounds, F1’s top five teams have scored 656 points, while the remaining five have just 27. However Krack says F1 should not hastily rewrite its rules based on how competitive the teams are this year.

“We should obviously not be too much influenced by how it is this year, because next year can be different than the year after. I think it was a good consensus in the F1 Commission to say we want to make an adjustment, but we should not rush it, because we don’t want to change it again later.

“So I think it’s important that we have a good thought about it, and then we discuss some different proposals next time.”

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says “there could be an argument made for all” finishers receiving points, as happens in series such as IndyCar. “That would obviously be quite an overhaul.”

“I think as soon as points come into play, it makes every pass that much more important. Sometimes cars will pull in, save some stuff on their car, wear and tear, because they’re out of the points. This would eliminate that.

“If a quicker car gets shuffled to the back, every pass counts. So I think there’s an argument you could make for the entire grid. Certainly no less than 12.”

“We need to change it once and that’s what we agreed at the FIA Commission, let’s do a review and I think all the teams were in the same spot, that expanding the points is a good thing to do,” he concluded.

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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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44 comments on “F1 teams back extending points to 12th as “there are no backmarkers any more””

  1. Very bad idea of its implemented.

    1. Why?

      Reply moderated
      1. Same

        Reply moderated
  2. Down to P12 would be okay, but all positions would be excessive as a mere participation shouldn’t effectively grant points.

    1. Yeah, I do think it makes sense to go down to 12 to give a bit more chance of points for that midfield battle when the top teams regularly finish 1-8 or 9

    2. Roy Beedrill
      13th May 2024, 8:32

      Frankly speaking, 5 out of 10 teams are seem to exist purely for the sake of participation only (I don’t believe there is a single person in Haas, Sauber, current-state Williams, Renault or the Mastercard-team who ever dreams about winning the Championship), so I think the current system is perfect and doesn’t need fixing.

      1. That’s like saying, we won’t bother giving points to 12 of the 20 Premiership football clubs, because they’ll never win the title.

        Unclear, why so many think points for all – is so terrible.

  3. NotSoCasual
    13th May 2024, 8:27

    I can see the commercial value to teams and drivers in this.

    As an exaggerated example, if you have Williams finishing in P11/12 every weekend, but Alpine finishing P19/20, there’s no marketing value in comparing 0pts Vs 0pts.

    Similarly, if you have Albon finishing P11 every weekend and Sargent finishing P20, to the casuals they’ll be equal and this not only affects fans immediate view of a driver (marketing potential) but also the long term one (stat comparisons).

    An example of the long term impact of points are the seasons where Hamilton and Button were teammates. Hamilton had a bad year (lots of DNFs) at a time when the McLaren had high points potential and it meant that over 3 years Button had outscored Hamilton, despite losing the comparison when using any other metric.

    It’s still a marketable line that he churns out from time to time to this day ‘I outscored Lewis at McLaren’.

    Reply moderated
    1. You seem not to understand the implications of the proposed system, or (other) points-for-all-finishers systems (in general). Had such a system been in place at the time, the points difference between BUT and HAM would’ve been even greater in Button’s favour.

      Reply moderated
  4. I think up to 12 makes sense, I also wouldn’t like seeing too many or all getting points, they still have to be a bit of an achievement for backmarker teams, and 12 would make it a little more realistic.

    There’s been people on other sites suggesting points for the first 18, I disagree with that cause even in an era with good reliability like we are now it’s still very likely that the last one to the finish line would make the points with such a system.

    I also feel 15 like motogp is excessive, unless more teams join, 75% of the grid is a lot.

  5. I said it in a previous article about this and I’ll say it again, people need to largely stop thinking of points as a reward, and more as an in-season ranking.
    I am not persuaded that points going to all classified finishers make sense, but given we usually have at least 15 finish, I think a scoring system that ranks finishers down to 15th makes sense.

    Career points is already such a meaningless and stupid measurement that I don’t care if it makes it more inconsequential.
    I am happy if the scoring system more fairly ranks all of the drivers and the teams each year though.

    1. people need to largely stop thinking of points as a reward

      This, exactly.
      Points are points – they aren’t prizes.

      Points should be awarded to all finishers, IMO, as the ‘point’ of the points system is to track results and make visible how each competitor is doing throughout the season.
      11th place (or 13th place, in this case) should never be worth the same as crashing out on the first lap, or failing to even attend the event at all.

      Reply moderated
    2. (..) people need to largely stop thinking of points as a reward, and more as an in-season ranking.
      (..) I am happy if the scoring system more fairly ranks all of the drivers and the teams each year though.

      The irony here is that the systems that had fewer points scoring positions, ranked the drivers and teams more fairly than any of the inflated ones, let alone the new proposals.
      And reward VS ranking is a false dichotomy; points can and indeed, quite axiomatically, should represent both.
      @craigs

      Reply moderated
  6. Points are for finding out how everyone performed. Plenty of times when we’ve had excellent performances that have gone unremarked and/or ignored and made irrelevant just because they came in 11th.
    The points should be awarded all the way down the field. Maybe zero for last place.

  7. I agree with Davthedrummer and Acura that all finishers get points this would put more emphasis on the driver to improve position, as I imagine passing a car for 13th knowing you are never going to get 12th could be demoralizing, I’m sure drivers don’t really care about points until you are in a championship race it’s more about beating your teammate, so let’s give all finishers points it would give everyone a better way to see performance over season

  8. If the midfield teams want points, they should improve their cars so that they can finish inside the top 10 on merit. This is F1, not primary school. You shouldn’t get rewards just for participating.

    The idea that we need to extend the points system so that we can effectively rank midfield and backmarker teams is absurd, frankly. The current system works well enough for that. The last time we had more than one team go a whole season without scoring points was 2014, and there were 22 cars back then. So it’s not as though we have multiple teams stuck on zero points with no way of differentiating their performance.

    This is a solution in search of a problem – the main beneficiaries being the FIA, who earn money from teams per point and therefore stand to benefit from more points being awarded.

    1. +1

      Reply moderated
    2. Even Andretti would get points under that system.

    3. Having checked the numbers, there has never been an F1 season contested by only 10 teams where more than one team failed to score points. Even in 2003-5 when points only went down to eighth, at least nine teams managed to get on the scoreboard in each season.

    4. The problem is, if the teams at the back only get a couple of points during the entire season it’s more about luck than actually classifying them by their performance. And since every position is also worth millions in prize money, I’d say it should be a fair fight for it, where those that regularly perform better should always place higher in the championship. A few fluke races should not possibly overturn that in an instance. Finishing in the top-10 will still be finishing in the top-10, and can be celebrated accordingly, even if the points scale is different. There has already been several different scales over the years, why not try another one?

  9. If this gets implemented it yet another nail in the coffin, making races more dull. Remember the top 6 points system, when even the backmarkers managed to get points during a much shorter season? How? Teams had to take risks with their reliability in order to get to those points, to get the edge on the teams ahead. This created a domino effect and each race almost always saw a hadful of technical DNF’s. With the top 10 rules (even with the top 8), you slowly saw the reliability becoming more and more important. A top 12 point system, in a 24 (+6) races season is another reason to take less risks. You’ll inevitably end up in the points. We already have (out of the regular drivers), 15 out of 20 scoring points after just 1/4th of the season. With a top 12 system that would be 18 out of 20.

    I’d much rather prefer F1 to go back to a top 8 system (not the same points as that era though), so points become much more of an achievement, and teams need to take more risks to end up in the points.

    1. Unconvinced that your Top 8 plan – excluding, in reality, more than half the field of ever been competitive for points is going to do anything other than widen the gap further.

      There should be points for all – significantly weighted, including financially – so that a team struggling at the bottom, knows if it can make some marginal gains, then they benefit.

      1. Even under a top-8 scoring system, every team would have scored points last year.

    2. Reliability has not become better because the points scale has changed, but because the technical regulations demand it, budgets have increased, and technology have moved forward. Back in the really old days, F1 was at the very limit of what was technically possible, so of course things broke all the time. Today, after decades of rules iterations trying to hold things back, the cars are much, much slower than what would technologically be possible. So the margins are bigger, and therefor fewer things break.

      1. Back in the really old days, F1 was at the very limit of what was technically possible, so of course things broke all the time.

        Nonsense. Fangio and A. Ascari, who were part of “the really old days”, have some of the highest win rates in the history of the championship(s). You don’t get those percentages with your car breaking down all the time.

        Reply moderated
  10. Tbh at this point I’d much prefer a system like in indycar, where if you finish you get points. I think it could make drivers fight a bit more for every single position. Nowadays the lower teams if they get in the top 10 they race passively because it could be their only point finish of the season, and a single point could change massively the positions in the championship at the end of the year. If they had points until the last finisher, they’d be fighting tooth and nail for every single place.

    1. You’ve got your whole line of reasoning, backwards.
      Besides,

      a system like in indycar, where if you finish you get points.

      IC gives out points without having to finish the race.
      @fer-no65

      Reply moderated
  11. Just something to think about…
    Recently Magnussen’s defensive driving antics (and penalty-banking) have been a bit of a hot topic. Would he have continued to rack up penalties if there were points for all finishers?
    From his perspective, finishing 11th and finishing 20th with 30 seconds or more of penalty time is the exact same thing – so if the points went all the way down to last finisher, he’d have had more incentive to keep it clean after the first strike, both for himself and for his team.
    Each penalty would be costing more time and position on track, and it would actually matter. Two decent points paying positions is better than one good one and one blank.

    There was also much talk about how ineffective the penalty system was/is at discouraging such driving behaviour – well, having points available for those lower positions helps further encourage drivers to keep it clean and try to finish in the highest position – penalty-free – as much as possible, doesn’t it….
    The only time it becomes ineffective is when they are in last position already, and with absolutely no chance of finishing just one position better.

    Reply moderated
  12. There is no one right way to go. For example, in speed skating they give points to the top 40, and the winner gets only twice the points as the 11th place athlete. This is to reward consistency. In alpine skiing, the top 30 get points and the curve is more like F1, with 4th place scoring half the points of the winner, and 30th place only scoring 1% of the winner’s points. Big wins are given more priority than consistent mediocrity (sounds harsher than intended).

    While giving points in F1 down to 20th has some merit (it promotes racing at the back) the question is what F1 wants to prioritize? They’ve said to Andretti that they expect, no – demand, teams to be competitive for wins and podiums. These positions already get points. Why change the system? In this frame, the back of the field is not to be awarded points for showing up, but rather kicked out of the competition for being unfit to participate.

    That ties in with the blatant falsehoods propagated by Mekies. His claim that ‘there is no back markers any more’ is absurd when two teams haven’t even scored a single point, and a third only has 1. That’s a third of the grid that’s for all intents and purposes, completely irrelevant. They’re the definition of backmarkers.

    Then he claims that F1 has ’10 very strong teams’. This is also plainly not true. There is one very strong team, two that are okay, and the rest doesn’t have any hope of winning a race on merit. Being able to finish 16th is not ‘very strong’. That’s merely being ‘less bad’. It’s also failing to meet the standard FOM has for new entries. This shouldn’t rewarded.

    A point system all the way down makes sense in F2, where consistency is often a better indication of skill than a fluke result. But in F1, the top league? Who cares who finishes 16th there?

    1. A point system all the way down makes sense in F2, where consistency is often a better indication of skill than a fluke result. But in F1, the top league? Who cares who finishes 16th there?

      But ‘indicating skill’ is not at all what the points system does, or is even for – actual results tell that story all by themselves.

      Who cares who finishes in 16th in F1? Well, with a points system that completely disregards half of the pack it does tend to make them seem far less important – exactly equal with everyone else who finishes in the lower half, and indeed, tied with those who crashed out, had a mechanical retirement, racked up enough time penalties to put them three laps down and used it as a test session or didn’t even start the race at all.
      However, when that 16th position awards a few points it would make it every bit as important as 1st place as far as championship points go. Anyone can have a terrible weekend and finish outside the top 10 – it’s a complete waste for everyone (including viewers) when 19th isn’t even worth fighting for, never mind 11th.

      But the points themselves aren’t really all that important – the results are. The points system exists not to tell a story of its own, but to reflect results of each race’s finishing order (and fastest lap, now). It should reflect every result for every competitor.

      Reply moderated
    2. Who cares who finishes 16th there?

      Thousands of people making a living working at those teams, and their families, and tens of thousands of fans of the drivers at those teams. To name a few.

    3. They’ve said to Andretti (..) kicked out of the competition for being unfit to participate.

      Ironic, isn’t it? These team bosses clearly have an agenda, but can’t even bother to come up with a solid reasoning for their desire to destroy the competition furthermore. That’s how much they think of the fans.

      That ties in with the blatant falsehoods propagated by Mekies. His claim that ‘there is no back markers any more’ is absurd (..). It’s also failing to meet the standard FOM has for new entries. This shouldn’t rewarded.

      It truly is unbelievable, the nonsense they come up with. F1 has had an unprecedented run of stale dominance since the early 00’s, only interrupted by the odd season, which just happened to coincide with the introduction of the reliability rules and the dawn of the reliability points systems. Anybody with half a brain, able to deduce, and add two and two together can see the causality and indeed, could have seen it coming.
      Last year was the most one-sided dominant season in the whole history of the sport, this year isn’t anything better, and the backmarkers are marking and confined to the back more than ever. Yet here we are, having people in the industry claiming that there are no more backmarkers, it’s hilarious.
      It’s the exact other way around, that’s why they are planning to change the scoring just so that the oh-so-competitive-not-truly-backmarkers that aren’t able to score by themselves, can do so. Similar like when they changed the system for the ’03 season, only then it was done because one guy was scoring too much to their liking.
      They’ve killed the sport.

      Reply moderated
  13. Probably not a coincidence that this comes up as more scrutiny rises about Andretti’s exclusion due to the dubious reason of being uncompetitive. More points being distributed makes the championship appear more competitive at the lower levels.

  14. My preference would be 24 cars in the field and points to top twelve. Twelve points paying positions out of twenty seems a bit much, but 12 of 22 would be OK.

    Reply moderated
    1. Indeed, I’d be ok with even 12 out of 20, but no more than that, unless more cars get added, which look at the case there’s the possibility for.

  15. I can’t say I’m a fan of this.

    I get the arguments for it but I just still have the view that points should be something that’s earned & is an achievement rather than something more than half the field get.

    I think back to when points only went to the top 6 & scoring just felt so much more meaningful than it has done since they extended it to 10th. I remember how big a deal scoring points used to be and how special that first points score used to feel and now it just again feels pretty meaningless and extending it down to 12th is just going to make that worse.

    The Sport/Show balance is tilting very steeply in the wrong direction for me & it’s really starting to affect my enjoyment.

    When I watch Indycar I pay zero attention to the points. I’ve been watching Indycar in it’s various incarnations for 34 years or so now and I can’t even tell you how much each position scores as the fact everyone who finishes gets points just makes it feel less relevant or interesting. Same with the IMSA Sportscar series. Only reason I know who’s leading championships and who’s in contention for it is when the commentary teams mention it & most the time they don’t even really talk about the points gaps.

    1. Only reason I know who’s leading championships and who’s in contention for it is when the commentary teams mention it & most the time they don’t even really talk about the points gaps.

      It’s long been a downside of F1 that the ‘meta experience’ is often more compelling than the actual races.

      One of the great things about motorsport today is that most series have followed F1’s example and offer comprehensive highlight videos of their events, usually only a few hours after the finish. It cuts away all the fluff usually trotted out to hype up the event – ‘what will this mean for the championship!?’, ‘could this outlandish strategy work?!’ (spoiler: no) – and zeroes in on the actual best bits of the racing.

      I’ve had good fun watching many series’ highlights so far this season, but I couldn’t say who is 3rd or 5th or 8th in the F1 championship. I don’t even know who’s leading in Indycar or the WEC now, other than that in the latter case it has to be one of the Porsche cars which have a bit of an advantage. But so long as the racing is good – whether full length or in a highlight format – the points are pretty irrelevant.

  16. Extended points is fairer to the lower ranked teams.
    Imagine this scenario under the current scoring:-
    Team “X” finish every race of the season in 11th & 12th position. They score nothing.
    In the final race there is a crash/rain/badly timed safety car, and Team “Y” who have come last in every previous race of the season fluke a P10 and score one point.
    Doesn’t reflect how hard Team “X” have worked all year, and because points make prizes Team “Y” get a bigger pot of championship cash for their fluke result.
    Not fair is it?

    Reply moderated
  17. the points are pretty irrelevant.

    I guess thats the difference for me though as points used to feel more relevant because they used to feel more special when managing to score some felt like a bigger achievement & something to be celebrated.

    And to be quite honest it’s the same way I feel about more than a few other aspects of F1 now. As certain things have changed over the past few years especially they for me have started to feel less special, less interesting & less worth been something to pay as much attention to.

  18. A compromise would make sense.

    Count constructor championship points for each driver down to last place, keep drivers championship points as is. That way teams would be ranked fairly and drivers wouldn’t be handed easy points to keep their prestige.

    I’m not opposed to points down to 12 though both sides of the argument for(/not) being all drivers is compelling.

  19. The inadequacy of a system not scoring down to the last finisher is best illustrated by plotting a graph showing the % increase in each position’s points relative to the place below it. Currently in F1 there is a peak of 39% from 1st to 2nd (which I personally think it’s a bit high as it heavily rewards dominance). Then a trough flatlines at about 22.5% from 2nd to 5th, then from 7th to 8th it climbs back up to 50%, then 100%, 100% then INFINITE % from 10th to 11th, then ZERO % from 11th to last. Totally non-linear nonsense. And a slight tweak stretching the final points down to 12 will not fix it.

    In contrast, Indycar’s infinitely more sensible system initially peaks at 25% from 1st to 2nd, then from 3rd down to 20th it’s generally 8%, varying from 6 to 11%. They could get it smoother and increase the gaps for higher places by increasing the number of points for all places, but the current 50 for a win makes the arithmetic a bit easier for the fan to add up in their head than 100 points for a win.
    (Beyond 20th, it picks up to 20% at 24th, then drops to 0% from 25th to 30th. Not sure why they keep it at a 5 points participation award from 25th to 30th, but nobody’s perfect.)

  20. How about just reward every driver points except when the driver gets a dnf or dq.

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