F1 Considering Controversial Points System Changes

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads the field into turn one at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images ) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202404210206 // Usage for editorial use only //
SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads the field into turn one at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images ) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202404210206 // Usage for editorial use only //

Formula 1 is on the cusp of what would almost certainly be another highly controversial reform.

After 2002, at the height of Ferrari’s ultra-dominant Michael Schumacher era, F1 expanded the awarding of points for P1 through P6 all the way to P8 as well.

By 2010, the top 10 were all scoring points in each grand prix, with an additional point for the fastest race of the lap added in 2019 as the Liberty Media era got into gear.

But now, the small teams are reportedly complaining that even a single point for P10 is proving almost impossible, with Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg admitting his single point in Shanghai on Sunday is like a race win.

“If none of the top 5 teams have a problem, the top 10 are already booked,” said the German.

A new plan, to expand points all the way to twelfth place from 2025 and beyond, will now be discussed at a forthcoming meeting of the F1 Commission in Geneva.

2016 world champion Nico Rosberg is not an early supporter.

“Formula 1 is a performance game,” he is quoted by Speed Week. “The midfield teams simply have to stretch themselves to get into the top ten.”

Another Liberty Media-powered controversial change in recent years has been the new sprint race weekend format, which made its first appearance last weekend in China.

Regular critic Max Verstappen says the tweaks made for 2024 – improving the logical flow of the weekend and giving drivers more freedom to alter car setups – are an improvement.

But the Red Bull driver says he’s opposed to expanding the format from six race weekends a year to 12.

“I get it,” said the Dutchman, “I guess it sells better, better numbers on TV. But it’s also more stress on the mechanics and everything, to get everything tip-top every time.

“Let’s not think that now we need 12 of these because it will take its toll on people.”

Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, also admits the sprint weekend is still flawed, after he was harshly penalised for an incident in Saturday’s sprint in Shanghai.

“Maybe it’s better to save the tyres and not do the sprint in future,” the Aston Martin driver quipped. “There’s only an hour or two at stake and sometimes they penalise you on your license, so maybe it’s not worth going out at all.”

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