Formula 1 will introduce a new points system from 2010 after the FIA World Motor Sport Council approved the F1 Commission's proposal to award points to the top 10 finishers in each race.
A statement from today's meeting of the World Council said: "Due to the expanded grid of 13 teams, and further to the recommendation of the F1 Commission, a new points system will be in place for the 2010 season." The new system will award points in the following order: 25-20-15-10-8-6-5-3-2-1.
The change was proposed to take into account the increased field for 2010, when the addition of the new entrants will take the grid up to 26 cars – its highest figure since 1995.
What it means:
The previous two changes to the Formula 1 points scoring system were implemented to alter the weighting between each position. The new-for-1991 system increased the winner's score from 9 to 10, then the 2003 tweak increased the prize for second place from 6 to 8, and extended to eighth place.
The latest change, although it seems to be the most dramatic in the sport's history, is not intended to – and will not – significantly alter the outcome of a championship. Instead, it is simply to further increase the number of scoring cars from eight to 10 in accordance with the grid being boosted to 20 cars. In essence, it is just to make the smaller teams more likely to score and to give them something to fight for.
The higher scores will punish retirements more heavily, but in turn a driver can recover more quickly with a greater number of points on offer for a win or podium finish.
Under the 2010 system, the result of this year's championship would have been exactly the same. Jenson Button would have beaten Sebastian Vettel (243 points to 203), with Rubens Barrichello third (187), Mark Webber fourth (178), Lewis Hamilton fifth (123), Kimi Raikkonen sixth (119), etc.
The close finishes of 2007 and 2008 would have retained the same order under the new system, with the following scores:
Lewis Hamilton 240
Felipe Massa 239
Kimi Raikkonen 271
Lewis Hamilton 270
Fernando Alonso 268
The close finish of 2003 would also have produced the same result, with Michael Schumacher beating Raikkonen 225 to 221. In fact, you'd have to go back to 1999 to find the first change of place. Under the 2010 system, Eddie Irvine would have beaten Mika Hakkinen to the title 230 to 218. But Irvine would also have won that title under the 2003 to 2009 system.
The only major impact next season's system will have is the affect the 2.5x increase has on the statistical history of F1. For example, in their careers, Ayrton Senna scored 614 points, Nigel Mansell 482 and Jackie Stewart 360. A rookie driver now could pass all three in three seasons. Even Schumacher's 1,369 wouldn't take all that much catching, which makes rather a mess of history for those who value the all-time stats. On the other hand, it could be argued that the statistics already are skewed by the increase from 9 to 10 for a win, from six to eight cars scoring, by the varying amount of dropped scores between 1967 and 1990, and by the number of races in a season – from seven in 1950 to 19 in 2005.