NOVEMBER 26, 2008
What is wrong with a gong?
Bernie Ecclestone's desire to have medals rather than points to decide the World Championship is much in the spotlight again. Ecclestone argues that deciding the World Championship on the number of gold, silver and bronze medals that a driver collects is a better way than adding up points in the course of the season. The World Championship would thus go to the man with the most gold medals. Finishing fourth would result in nothing at all in the Drivers' Championship.
Ecclestone says that the current system encourages drivers to settle for lower positions because they pick up only a few points less than the winner. If the title was decided on the number of wins then there would be more incentive for drivers to go for broke.
Well, that is the theory.
A look back at the last 10 seasons reveals that the system being proposed would have changed the outcome of the World Championship on only one occasion: this year, when Felipe Massa won six races to Lewis Hamilton's five . In the nine other seasons the champion would have been the same but the date by which the title was decided would be different. In four of the years the title would have been over before the end of August and in two cases it would have been finished in July.
The change in the points system from six to eight scorers was made in 2003 after Michael Schumacher wrapped up the 2002 title in July. The 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system now used was designed to ensure that the World Championship would go on longer, thus maintaining interest in the title race.
The drivers would still be contrained by circumstances to win points for the teams in the Constructors' Championship and crashing out in an effort to win more Driver points would likely be frowned upon by teams which value the second title.
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