F1 to go ahead with Bernie’s medals instead of points ?

Champagne and medals from 2009 ?

Champagne and medals from 2009 ?

It looks like we may be in for more than just different cars next season. Few weeks ago Bernie Ecclestone floated an idea to scrap the championship points and give the top 3 drivers medals instead. The one with most golds would take the title. This would be rather radical change. Perhaps because of the radical nature of this idea I thought there is no way this could go ahead anytime soon.

To my surprise (if Bernie and the news reports can be trusted) it seems this idea found quickly the support among the teams and may be implemented for 2009 season already. The system would be simple. Gold, silver and brozne for top three, nothing for the rest. The other positions would however determine the championship rankings.

The constructors championship would still continue under current point system.

Bernie Ecclesstone (to The Times):

“The FIA and all the teams are behind it and it will be done. The whole point will be, when they get to Melbourne for the first race, the guys will want to leave there with a gold medal. They (will not) want to leave with ten, eight or six points.”

Although I believe that Ecclestone is getting it all wrong when it comes to the future of Formula One Grands Prix, this idea of his may be the step in right direction. Imagine if this system would be in place this year. How different approach would both Massa and Hamilton have to choose for the Brazilian Grand Prix …

This new “points” system requires FIA’s World Motorsport Council approval, their next meeting will be in December.


11 Comments Post a Comment
  1. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    There’s big difference between one system and another one. Gold should a point, silver half point, and bronze just a quarter of point!!!

    Here’s an example:

    Somebody could win 5 races (A), during all year having a great battle with others (B, C, D…) which won 4 races. But this first (A) didn’t get great results in the races which didn’t win, achieving some bronze medal or so, and the other drivers (B, C, D…) yes, winning more silver medals than the championship leader (A), and still would win the Drivers Championship???
    No, I’m not supporting this stupid idea, any step done is part of the path to the triumph!! First, this doesn’t give any prize to regular drivers and very important is second, the champ could be some driver which really didn’t deserve it, what if the leader succeeds in more races than others but do it terrible in the rest of races? What if some driver is leader in golden medals but has a sudden accident and remains half of the season without racing and later he only can achieve silver or bronze? Who would like to see a lucky driver as World Champion??? For example, being regular is what made Lewis Hamilton win this last championship, and his fans would take their hairs off if Felipe Massa did him in his second chance just because of this medal system.

    Although, this gives a good opportunity for the teams which can’t be regular by some problems. Having a lucky weekend could make their driver World Champion!! I understand why they risk to that system, the new recount could gift them the title! But still it’s not fair system with those who usually step on the podium (1st, 2nd or 3rd) and those which usually aren’t. I guess that the drivers are looking forward to be to win races, but some of them only can expect to get the last points and be happy with what they have done, otherwise they go home with nothing in their hands with these medals…

    Kotenoks last blog post..RubberGoat

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      If I understand it well whoever wins the biggest number of races will be a champion. If few drivers have the same number of wins, then the higher number of 2nd places will break the tie

      It sure has its shortcomings and that’s why i am surprised that this idea received the support of ALL the teams that fast …

      Positive is, that with such a system drivers would not worry that much going for all or nothing trying to win the race because under that system 2nd or 3rd may not mean much (other than the MUMM on the podium) …

  2. GeorgeNo Gravatar says:

    Brilliant idea, it simplifies the championship and it encourages the drivers to drive for the win. It’s not so long ago that Raikkonen (I think) came very close to becoming world champion without a single win!

    Consistent points scoring will still be critical for the team bosses as the contructors points system isn’t going to change.

    I for one would be over the moon if this goes ahead.

    • Mosport83No Gravatar says:

      When I first read about Bernie’s medal plan I didn’t like it. Upon further reflection however, I’m beginning to see the merit of it.
      I’ve been following F1 and NASCAR since 1970, and have seen enormous changes in both series. As both grew in stature, I believe that the governing bodies lost sight of a key factor. Fans (generally) are far more interested in watching races than championships. The fans want to see drivers competing for wins rather than driving conservatively to preserve a points position. So, if Bernie’s plan provides clear incentive for drivers to focus on high finishes (first thru third) rather than points finishes (fourth thru eighth), then I’m all for it. F1 needs to become more about on-track racing and drama rather than fuel/tire strategies and high-speed processions.
      With all of the changes proposed for F1, I hope that this one actually happens.

      • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

        now (a month after this post was written) we know this will not go ahead next season but bernie hasn’t given up yet :-) Mosley however wnats to do some market research first before changing the point system

  3. StewNo Gravatar says:

    At first I had a hard time with this idea, but the more I think about it the more I’m starting to like it. I’d rather drivers contest for a win rather than just gather points. On the other hand consistency being in the top 4 or 5 is good too.

    I think I will have to wait and see how this plays out. (see, I’m not convinced yet) :)

    Stews last blog post..BMW Sauber Day One Test Notes in Barcelona

  4. […] things should release the final version of 2009 Formula One Calendar as well as do something about that medal system proposed by Bernie Ecclestone. But before that let’s sum up the other F1 related news from last […]

  5. Mosport83No Gravatar says:

    Bernie Ecclestone’s plan to award medals for placing first, second and third in F1 races is an interesting concept. So, I applied this reward system to each World Championship season from 1950 thru 2008. Although not scientific, the results are interesting. Based on this system, it would have been possible to determine a World Champion in every season.

    Of the 59 World Championship seasons contested, the World Champion would have been different 14 times, as follows:

    Year Medal Champion Points Champion
    1956 Peter Collins Juan Manual Fangio
    1958 Stirling Moss Mike Hawthorn
    1964 Jim Clark John Surtees
    1967 Jim Clark Denny Hulme
    1977 Mario Andretti Niki Lauda
    1979 Alan Jones Jody Scheckter
    1981 Alain Prost Nelson Piquet
    1982 Didier Pironi Keke Rosberg
    1983 Alain Prost Nelson Piquet
    1984 Alain Prost Niki Lauda
    1986 Nigel Mansell Alain Prost
    1987 Nigel Mansell Nelson Piquet
    1989 Ayrton Senna Alain Prost
    2008 Philipe Massa Lewis Hamilton

    Driver Medal Championships Point Championships
    Juan Manuel Fangio 4 5
    Peter Collins 1 0
    Stirling Moss 1 0
    Michael Hawthorn 0 1
    Jim Clark 4 2
    John Surtees 0 1
    Denny Hulme 0 1
    Mario Andretti 2 1
    Alan Jones 2 1
    Jody Scheckter 0 1
    Alain Prost 5 4
    Nelson Piquet 0 3
    Niki Lauda 1 3
    Keke Rosberg 0 1
    Nigel Mansell 3 1
    Ayrton Senna 4 3
    Didier Pironi 1 0
    Philipe Massa 1 0
    Lewis Hamilton 0 1

    Some notes:
     Nelson Piquet won three Point Championships, but would have won no Medal Championships.
     Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell would each have won two more Medal Championships than Point Championships.
     Seven drivers who were Point Champions would have won no Medal Championships.
     Four drivers who would have been Medal Champions won no Point Championships.
     From 1977 thru 1989, the Medal Champion was different than the Point Champion nine times.
     From 1990 thru 2007, the Medal Champion was the same as the Point Champion.
     In 1956, Juan Manuel Fangio scored no second-place or third-place finishes, and Peter Collins would have won based on one more second-place finish than Stirling Moss.
     In 1961, Stirling Moss scored no second-place or third-place finishes, and Phil Hill would have won based on two more third-place finishes than Wolfgang Von Trips.
     In 2005, Fernando Alonso had five second-place finishes and three third-place finishes.
     In 2006, Fernando Alonso had seven second-place finishes.
     The tie-break system applied to four drivers in only one year (1982).
     The tie-break system applied to three drivers in four years (1956, 1959, 1961, 1974).
     The tie-break system applied to two drivers in four years (1968, 1981,2005,2006)

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      it must have taken you quite some time to work out this comparison

      it sure is interesting to see how different point (medal) system would affect the outcome of previous championships. but of course have to also take into consideration that different system also means different approach of drivers – that is also something that Ecclestone hopes to achieve with his “medals” idea

  6. Mosport83No Gravatar says:

    Actually it took me about an hour last night using the race history from another database (which shall remain nameless!). In most years it was fairly easy to see which driver had the most wins. When there were ties for win totals, the second-place totals usually decided it.
    I agree that evaluating points-based seasons retroactively is not decisive because drivers/teams will adjust their approach based on the reward system in place at the time. However, it does show that a different system may produce a different champion, in this case 25% of the time so far.
    It’s odd that Bernie would propose this system now, especially when you consider that the two systems would have crowned the same champion in every year since 1990 except for 2008 (and that was only by a single win). If someone else had proposed the medal system, I would have expected Bernie to resist it on the basis that the points system was working just fine for the past nineteen seasons!
    If and when the medal system is introduced to F1, I would look forward to seeing more aggressive on-track racing among the top contenders.

  7. […] do not know what FIA tried to prove by applying Bernie’s “medals system” to the results of all the F1 championship. It is interesting reading but rather meaningless. The […]


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