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Proposed changes to F1 points system spark debate

Proposed changes to F1 points system spark debate
© Reuters
Formula 1 stands on the brink of potentially initiating another highly debated rule change. Following 2002, amid Ferrari's dominant phase with Michael Schumacher, the sport increased its points distribution from the first six positions to the eighth. By 2010, points were allocated to the top 10 racers at each Grand Prix, with an additional point for the fastest lap introduced in 2019, marking the true onset of the Liberty Media era.

Formula 1 stands on the brink of potentially initiating another highly debated rule change. Following 2002, amid Ferrari's dominant phase with Michael Schumacher, the sport increased its points distribution from the first six positions to the eighth. By 2010, points were allocated to the top 10 racers at each Grand Prix, with an additional point for the fastest lap introduced in 2019, marking the true onset of the Liberty Media era.

Currently, however, smaller teams are voicing concerns that securing even a single point for tenth place is becoming exceedingly challenging, with Haas' Nico Hulkenberg equating his point at the Shanghai Grand Prix on Sunday to a victory. "If none of the top 5 teams have a problem, the top 10 are already booked," the German stated.

Plans to extend points to the twelfth finisher from 2025 onwards are set to be debated at the upcoming F1 Commission meeting in Geneva.

Nico Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, has expressed skepticism early on. "Formula 1 is a performance game," he mentioned in an interview with Speed Week. "The midfield teams simply have to stretch themselves to get into the top ten."

Recent years under Liberty Media's influence have also seen the introduction of the new sprint race weekend format, which premiered last weekend in China.

Max Verstappen, a regular critic, acknowledges that the modifications for 2024 — which enhance the weekend's logical sequence and provide drivers more liberty in adjusting car setups — represent an improvement. However, the Red Bull racer is resistant to the idea of increasing the number of these weekends from six to twelve per year. "I get it," the Dutchman remarked, "I guess it sells better, better numbers on TV. But it's also more stress on the mechanics and everything, to get everything tip-top every time. Let's not think that now we need 12 of these because it will take its toll on people."

Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso has also recognized faults in the sprint weekend format, following a severe penalty for an incident during Saturday's sprint in Shanghai. "Maybe it's better to save the tyres and not do the sprint in future," the Aston Martin driver suggested jokingly. "There's only an hour or two at stake and sometimes they penalise you on your license, so maybe it's not worth going out at all."

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 2, 2024
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