F1 bosses ‘united’ in opinion over potential points system expansion with talks set

Thomas Maher
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

The F1 points-scoring system is likely to be tweaked ahead of F1 2025.

The proposal to increase the number of points-scoring positions, currently postponed, has the support of the F1 team bosses.

The idea to increase the number of points-scoring places to award any race finishers is under discussion, but the ultimate decision has been postponed until the next F1 Commission meeting in July.

What are the proposed points-scoring changes?

At present, the top 10 finishers in a Grand Prix score points – the race winner receiving 25, and the driver in 10th place receiving one.

The current system dates back to 2010, with the previous system rewarding drivers down to eighth place and only awarding 10 points to the race winner.

But a proposal to introduce points right across classified finishers of a race is being seriously looked at and was put before last month’s F1 Commission meeting – being pushed out to allow more time to evaluate the potential ramifications of the change.

Several F1 team bosses have had their say on the topic, with support for the idea evident regardless of the competitiveness of the team.

RB’s Laurent Mekies, a team who are far from guaranteed points on any given race weekend, expressed his support for the idea in the team bosses’ press conference in Miami.

“We think it’s a good idea to increase the points distribution, mainly because there are no back markers anymore,” he said.

“We have 10 very strong teams. This year is a good example. We have a fantastic fight also in the second part of the grid, 10 cars fighting within one-tenth, two-tenths. And, you know, our pole position is P11 currently.

“Our win is P11. If nothing happened at the front, and the reliability of the guys at the front has been… extraordinary. So we think it’s a fantastic fight. We want to explain it to the fans.

“We want to explain it to our partners and we think that points will help to give value to that P11, which today for us is a victory. So for sure, we are supportive of an extension of the point system. Then know whether you go to P12, to P14, to whatever, we can discuss, but I think where the level of competitiveness of the teams is so high nowadays that the fight in the midfield, the fight at the back will also deserve some points.”

With the intention being to open up the possibility of more teams scoring points, and encourage teams to remain fighting for every position right to the chequered flag, Mike Krack believes it’s time the system is overhauled.

“I think the system needs to be looked at. We have a new fan base also,” he said.

“We are not anymore the purists that we were for these many years. So I think it is really time to have a look at this.

“Personally, I think there always needs to be something to fight for, wherever you are. A bit like Laurent mentioned, we should obviously not be too much influenced by how it is this year, because next year can be different than the year after.

“But I think it was a good consensus in the F1 Commission to say we want to make an adjustment, but we should not rush it, because we don’t want to change it again later. So I think it’s important that we have a good thought about it, and then we discuss some different proposals next time.”

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Ferrari’s Fred Vasseur said he isn’t against the change, but says only extending the points system out to 12th place or so – as has also been proposed – would simply lead to the same argument being made further down the line.

“I’m not against, and coming from Alfa Romeo, I perfectly understand the frustration that sometimes you are doing a mega weekend, [but] if there is no DNF in front of you, you finish P11,” Vasseur explained after the Chinese Grand Prix.

“And the reward is zero, but you can finish P11 or P20 – it’s the same. I can understand the frustration for this.

“Now, if you do this [change] and next year you have six teams in front, then you will say it’s the same for P13, but we have to pay attention. [But] I’m not against.”

James Vowles, a team boss who would very much benefit from a points system change as Williams is one of two teams yet to score a point in F1 2024, said the main question is over just how far down the field the points should be awarded.

“I think changing the points is sensible,” he said.

“There were just questions over where do we go? Is it P12, P14, P16? All cars, fundamentally.

“In terms of tuning it at the front, I think my conclusion from that is Verstappen won by winning the most races. It doesn’t matter what you do.

“It was a very good conversation at the F1 Commission around this where the room was pretty much united in let’s do something that’s good for the sport. However, let’s take our time to get it right and do it once.”

Addressing how the change might have an effect on how teams go racing, McLaren CEO Zak Brown said he is in full agreement with the points put forward by his peers.

“I think increasing that will just create more excitement throughout the whole field. So we’re supportive of more teams getting more points,” he said.

“I think there could be an argument made for all. That would obviously be quite an overhaul.

“But I think as soon as points come into play, it makes every pass that much more important. Sometimes cars will pull in, save some stuff on their car, wear and tear, because they’re out of the points. That would eliminate that.

“If a quicker car gets shuffled to the back, every pass counts. So I think there’s an argument you could make for the entire grid. Certainly no less than 12. But I think as James mentioned, we need to change it once and that’s what we agreed at the FIA Commission, let’s do a review and I think all the teams were in the same spot, that expanding the points is a good thing to do. “

A side effect of the change, apart from having a huge impact on the all-time points-scoring lists that already heavily favour the achievements of modern-day drivers, would be a big increase in finances for the FIA.

With annual team entry fees calculated based on a set dollar amount per point scored in the previous year, every team having higher points scores would lead to higher entry fees – unless the set dollar amount is reduced by the governing body.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner hinted this might be the only reason his team might have feelings one way or the other on the matter.

“I’m sort of ambivalent to it. You can see it’s very competitive,” he said.

“It feels like there are two groups in Formula 1 at the moment. The teams from P6 to P10 are in as hard a fight as P1 to P5.

“I think it’s one of those things where you just have to run the numbers and look at the analytics to see what would actually change. So I’m impartial to it. Unless, of course, you’re paying points money.”

Separately, drivers would also have increased super licence costs for a similar reason as the teams.

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