Mohammed Ben Sulayem is shaking things up at the FIA and the way points are awarded for certain races is now on the agenda. The reason for the proposed adjustment is based on the confusion that reigned following the 2022 Japanese GP and the media reporting of how points were to be awarded for a foreshortened race.
Following the rain affected 2 lap farce that was the 2021 Belgium GP new rules for races that didn’t complete the full race distance were devised. For races completing up to 25% less than the full distance the winners points would be reduced by 6 – and the rest accordingly.
Reduced ponts for incomplete F1 races
For a grand prix that completes between 25-50% less than full distance the winners deduction is 13 points and for events were less than 25% of race distance is run the deduction of points from the winners standard 25 would be 19 points.
So in Japan delays for rain meant when the race clock ticked over to the 3 hours maximum time allowed and at the point Verstappen took the chequered flag, just 28 of the 52 laps had been completed.
Of course with a second world championship victory possible in Suzuka, the media had run all the potential scenarios in their pre-race shows as to how Max might claim victory. This of course included the situations where the race was foreshortened and reduced points were awarded.
F1 media read the regulations badly
In the English speaking media the assumption was reduced points would be awarded meaning Verstappen was short of the total required to clinch his second world title.
During the podium interviews several minutes following the conclusion of the race, Sky F1’s Johnny Herbert was told through his ear piece that the FIA had awarded Verstappen full points and in fact he had clinched the 2022 F1 drivers’ title.
It was all rather anti-climatic when compared to the usual euphoric celebrations between the team and driver winning an annual championship.
Reduced F1 points only applied to red flag finishes
The reason for the confusion was the regulation was worded in such a fashion that reduced points were only awarded for races that finished under red flag scenarios. Despite being reduced in the number of laps run, the 2022 Japanese GP was in fact completed under green flag conditions so full points were awarded.
Speaking the the Monte Carlo Rally, the FIA president has confirmed Steve Nielsen, the FIA’s new sporting director, is working on a new points distribution system.
When asked whether this would include the scenario which occurred at last seasons Japanese GP, Ben Sulayem replied, “Yes, it’s changing.”
FIA president blames the F1 teams
Then in a rather defensive fashion, the FIA president insisted on pointing out the debacle in Japan was not the fault of F1’s ruling body.
“Coming to the points; who chose that? The teams.
Who approved them? The teams. We just had to implement them.
And who takes the blame? Us.
Honestly. Where is the fairness? Tell me. This frustrates [me].”
Is the entire F1 points system up for review?
Mohammed ben Sulayem doesn’t make it clear whether the points system as a whole is up for review or whether it is just for when races are foreshortened.
The F1 points awarded for race positions last underwent significant change at the behest of Ernie Ecclestone. Up until the end of the 2009 season just 10 points were awarded for a win and the final point was awarded for eight position.
This changed in 2010 increase the recognition for winning an F1 race to the current 25 points a win receives down to 1 point for finishing in 9th place. This was tweaked to allow 1 point for P10 in 2019.
F1 points for each position that finishes
There have historically been calls from a small section of the sport, for points to be awarded for even more positions or even the entire field. This makes the battles towards the rear of the grid more important each weekend adding further interest for the fans.
Further a DNF would have a greater impact on a team rather than even finishing in just P15.
Its unclear at present whether Nielsen’s review and recommendations will cover this or not – and whether this would become yet another one of contention between the FIA and the teams.
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The current points system with P10 receiving a single point has been in place ever since 2010, though, rather than from 2019.
If you go by media reports F1 is in such disarray and so acronym that it should be disbanded.