Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wins will determine Formula One champion

Those wacky lads with the FIA World Motor Sport Council are at it again, deciding Tuesday that the 2009 Formula One championship will be awarded simply to the driver who wins the most races.

F1 teams had proposed revisions in the points structure that had been used, wanting to see teams get 12 points for a win, nine for second and seven for third. The current system goes 10-8-6 for those finishes.

The current system will be kept in place to break ties. So if two drivers finish with the same number of race wins, points will be used to name a champion.

Would that work for NASCAR? I don't think so. I've always believed victories should mean more than they do in stock-car racing's points system, but I don't think they should be a trump card over every other measure of performance.

The F1 championship would have gone to a different driver 13 times since 1950 under the new system.

Wonder if F1 fans will start arguing that, for example, Felipe Massa is the "real" 2008 champion since he had more wins than Lewis Hamilton, who actually won the championship under the rules that were in place? NASCAR fans who don't like the Chase for the Sprint Cup format just love to beat their heads against that pointless wall.


Anonymous said...

This is a rule all racing series should adopt. Racing is about winning, not finishing. The "competition" rules in most series have become overly complicated, and NASCAR is the worst offender. NASCAR's byzantine rules are designed to protect the less-able drivers and teams so they can garner undeserved sponsorship and fan support. NASCAR needs to thin its herd of also-rans: get rid of the absurd yellow flags for debris, get rid of the red flags and green/white/checker nonsense at the ends of races and keep the cars running and pitting under green. If the drivers are capable, they should be able to adapt to less-than-perfect track conditions. Maybe NASCAR should even make their stars in cars learn to adapt to wet tracks, like real drivers.

Monkeesfan said...

Wins and laps led are supposed to always trump everything else in competition. The consistency argument is grossly outdated because consistency = mediocrity. The basic Latford system in use is still useful, but it needs to front-end load massive bonuses for wins and laps led to where it becomes mathematically impossible to win a championship without both.

"The championship would have gone to a different driver thirteen times since 1950 under the new system." Okay. Would that be the case under a system that directly rewarded winning and leading?

Anonymous said...

The current system is actually 10-8-6

Anonymous said...

A really dumb idea, but then the FIA is headed by one of the biggest jerks of all time, Max Moseley, who obviously has a grudge against most of the F1 teams since they called for his resignation after the sex scandal of his being caught on tape with 3 or 4 prostitutes.

As bad an idea is it is for them, F1 does operate differently from NASCAR and a like rule for Sprint Cup would be even dumber. If Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers team enter 12 races, win 6 and no one else wins more than 5 races, there is no way Awesome Bill should be thew Cup champion.

Jennifer Taylor said...

Hello fellow North Carolinian. I live near Charlotte as well.

Anonymous said...

It is my assumption that the current NASCAR points system was designed in part to motivate teams to stay in the race. When a driver tears up a car and has no chance of winning they will make lengthly repairs and go back out and drive around for points. This keeps the sponsors happy. I once saw Curtis Turner park his car at Darlington simply because he didn't like the way it ran which was not all that bad.

Anonymous said...

As much as I hate the Chase system, I think this would be even worse. Example: A driver has 10 wins and his closest competitor has 6, four races from the end of the season, it would be wrapped up. That flies in the face of what NASCAR was attempting to do by instituting the Chase. There has to be a middle ground somewhere, right?

Bobby said...

Here's the thing that makes it worse:

Let's go hypothetical:

Driver A wins 6 races, crashes out of 5 races, finishes 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th once each, and blows 3 engines. That's it - 70 points.

Driver B wins 4 races, takes 2 seconds, 3 thirds, 4 fourths, 3 fifths, and 2 sixths, and finishes every lap of the 18-race season. That's 112 points.

Yet driver A wins the title for more wins. How bad is that for racing? Driver B was nearly flawless and did a Johnson-esque comeback from bad starts to finish in the points. Which is the better driver? Isn't this supposed to be an endurance contest? Jimmie Johnson won the Chase by coming back from his errors to post podiums when he should have been in the deep end of the finishing order, not falling into the same Dega Trap that other drivers fell, and being nearly flawless.

Monkeesfan said...

Driver A - he won more races. You're assuming that Driver A fell out more often because of some fatal flaw in his driving while Driver B finished more because of hsi driving. That's not how performance works.

Johnson won a lot of races, but ultimately they are not why he won the title - he won that because he was a stroker.

I also dislike the argument that a wins-biased points system would see a driver clinch the title with such-and-such number of races left - again, people who make this argument are operating on a flawed premise, here that the fact of a wins-biased point system would not change how hard the racers go for the lead.

Anonymous said...

It does fascinate me how much attention F1's recent bad decision has gotten while Toyota's debacle in F1 was virtually never mentioned in 2007 when the media and Jack Roush were moaning about how Toyota was going to come in and overwhelm NASCAR. I guess facts are not supposed to interfere with a good story.

Anonymous said...

Well it would for sure eliminate the I've got 3rd or 4th wrapped up, so I won't push it and ride around and points race. It would inspire them to get up there and give it all for the win. Nobody will remember who finished second anyway next year anyway.

Monkeesfan said...

Given how Toyota has all but monopolized the Truck series and is steadily building the same kind of muscle in Winston Cup, the media and Roush can hardly be criticized here.

Anonymous said...

Toyota by most reports in 6 or 7 years has now spent well over $2 billion in F1 and so far has no wins and I believe just one 2nd to show for it. They had spent close to $2 billion in F1 before 2007, which should have told the experts in the media that Toyota's alleged heavy spending was not going to blow everyone away in NASCAR - but that would not have been as good a story as Jack Roush crying wolf about the Toyota menace, which apparently got him several extra millions out of Ford. What helped Toyota wasn't buckets of Japanese money, but good old expertise - the Gibbs organization. If I'm not mistaken I believe Ford moved its truck series support to Roush for 2009 because of the alleged Toyota threat in Cup. As I said, one doesn't want to let the facts interfere with a good story.

Anonymous said...

The AP is reporting this afternoon that a brain was discovered at FIA and it has announced that the change to determining the F1 driver champion based on wins alone will not take effect until 2010, if ever.

Monkeesfan said...

Richard In NC - Gibbs didn't help Toyota take over the Truck Series.

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan, No I believe Bill Davis, the economy, and Jack Roush have given Toyota a hand in the Truck series - Bill Davis to help get them started, the economy to suck the Dodge money away, and jack Roush to take Ford's truck money to Cup.

My point still is that Toyota's F1 experience provided objective evidence in 2007 that it was quite unlikely that Toyota was going to come into the Cup series and blow everyone away, but Jack Roush and most of the media chose to ignor what happened to Toyota in F1 when promoting the Toyota threat.

Monkeesfan said...

It wasn't the economy, it was Toyota's overall resource and technology edge, because Toyota took over the Truck Series in 2005 and has won some 50% of the races since.

People want to cite F1 and how Toyota has struggled there - it's not relavent to anything in NASCAR. While people do matter, NASCAR is not the "people sport" some people want to think, else there would not be the dominance of the big teams (or manufacturers) that there is.

Anonymous said...

Toyota's experience in F1 does prove that money alone will not guarantee success - and Toyota has admitted that their spending in F1 is in the ballpark with what Ferrari and McLaren spend. The one thing Hendrick, Gibbs, and RCR have in common is they get the best people and keep them. It's always the people. Toyota's experience in F1 and in Cup in 2007 demonstrate that money and technology are not the answer unless you have the people who know how to use them effectively.

In any event, in 2007 I never saw anyone in the mainstream media mention Toyota's F1 experience and, accordingly, that they might struggle in Cup - hyping the threat of Toyota overwhelming the other Cup teams made a better, if faulty, story.

Monkeesfan said...

Richard, you're comparing money vs. money; in NASCAR it's become money vs. less money; moreover, why should anyone believe Toyota won't eventually get it going in F1?

The one thing Hendrick, Gibbs, and RCR have in common is money and technology; if it were people, RCR would not have needed seven-post shaker machines, to hire engine builders from Ilmor Engineering, etc. to just keep up with Hendrick and company. The people argument will not be credible until the day comes when a Tommy Baldwin-type team comes in without windtunnel time, engineering help, etc., yet hires some excellent people and shoots down the big teams because of the quality of the people hired and no other reason.

Richard in N.C. said...

Monkeesfan, after 6 years of mediocracy, the prospects for Toyota in F1 don't look encouraging,but you'd have to expect them to improve. Based on published reports and statements by Toyota, they spent something close to Ferrari and McLaren in 2008, but came in a distant 5th with no wins yet after 6 or 7 years. BMW took over Sauber after Toyota got into F1 and came in 3rd last year and were in the championship hunt for awhile.

Money alone won't bring success unless you have the people who know how to use it.

My point still is that the talk by Roush and the media in 2007 that Toyota was going to come in and overwhelm Cup racing was clearly rebutted by Toyota's experience in F1, but the mainstream media chose to ignor the evidence - apparently because the Toyota menace made a better story.

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