The loser standing small

I was surprised to find myself feeling disappointed that the scheme to decide the F1 drivers’ title by race wins alone has apparently been deferred until 2010 following today’s statement by FOTA. Perhaps it had sub-consciously dawned on me that, while the rule is unlikely to create many do-or-die lunges in the last laps of a grand prix, it would perhaps affect the way teams approach races overall.

At the moment, a team looking uncompetitive might settle for points or a podium; under the new rule, they might go to greater pains to use innovative strategies or take risks to get the win. It could change teams’ decision-making processes from qualifying onwards for the rest of the weekend: strategies like Schumacher’s 3-stop Hungaroring victory in 1998, or 4-stop Magny Cours win in 2004 might be chanced somewhat more often. Of course, the ban on refuelling from 2010 will remove a variable from pit stops, but even so they will remain important. All told, the “winner takes it all” system could have some positive implications.

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