Formula 1 has edged closer to a further overhaul of its points structure for the 2010 season after teams approved a new system that will offer greater rewards for winning.
Little more than one month after the old 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system was replaced with a MotoGP-type format (25-20-15-10-8-6-5-3-2-1), sources have revealed a meeting of F1 think tank the Sporting Working Group in London on Friday approved a further overhaul to reward more for race wins. Rather than there being a five point difference between first and second, teams agreed to expand that difference to seven points – with further tweaks to the points taking place lower down the order. The new points structure approved by the SWG is: 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1.
The matter still needs to be approved by next month's meeting of the Formula 1 Commission before the FIA World Motor Sport Council can put it into the 2010 regulations, but this is likely to be a formality with teams already having voted in favor of the changes.
Although yet another change to the regulations is not ideal for F1, especially after such fanfare in December at the first amendment, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner is adamant that the sport should always be ready to put its hands up if it thinks things are wrong. He also believed a greater points gap between first and second would provide greater motivation for drivers to fight harder for the win.
"I think you should never be afraid of change so long as it is a change for the better," he told AUTOSPORT ahead of the SWG meeting. "And I think that what the points are trying to be designed to do are first of all – to generate a pecking order perhaps lower down in the top 10 – so that with the points going down to 10th place there is reward for a top-10 finish. But I think also one of the factors that Bernie is keen to look at is perhaps having a heavier weight between first, second and third, so there is more emphasis that rather than drivers cruising and collecting points, that they have to go for it.
"It is not because drivers don't want to take the risk, but if the points difference between a win and second is two points it is not the end of the world, whereas if it is a significant number then it adds motivation for the drivers to push each other very hard."
It is believed that the SWG also discussed the idea of awarding points for pole position or fastest lap, but neither of these concepts were agreed. The group also talked at length about the possibility of introducing a rule that would force drivers to make two mandatory pit stops during a race, but this was not approved, either. F1 drivers will therefore only need to make a single pit stop in 2010 so as to ensure that they run on both types of tires made available.