Double Jeopardy: F1 madness continues

Posted: December 12, 2013 by thevillainf1 in Uncategorized

Formula one found yet another way to make a mockery of itself by introducing a new rule awarding double points to a race for no other reason that it being the last one on the calendar (and hence supposedly keep the champ ship fight interesting for longer, but more importantly, enable you to charge the GP organizers more money). It’s not the first and it won’t be the last bogus rule change F1 throws at its fans  we slide down to NASCAR or even Mario Kart levels (since even a Chase like run of GPS deciding the championship would be a better idea).

 

Since as usual the combined F1 press corps can’t be bothered to look further than their nose tips and analyzed only the impact on the WDC, it falls down to backmarkers F1 to get a brief revival and investigate the true impact this bogus rule change would have had by looking at what would have  further happened down the grid and in the WCC as well , where a difference of one spot can mean a difference of millions of dollars for the teams.

 

I’ll only look at the past 5 years to see what would have changed. The premise is simple, we award double points to all top 10 (top 8 for 2009) finishers in the season finale, and see how the standings would have been changed, if at all.

 

2009: Buttons’ year in the sun

Button would still be a one time champion, but what would have happened to the rest of them? Would the Red Bull emergence as F1’s new powerhouse after they cracked the double diffuser have been enough to topple the Brawn monster of the first half of the season had the new rule been in place?

 

Table: 2009 official and revised standings.

 

  2009 WDC final gp result double points WDC official WDC
1 Button 3 101 95
2 Vettel 1 94 84
3 Barrichello 4 82 77
4 Webber 2 77 69
5 Hamilton DNF 49 49
6 Raikkonen 12 48 48
7 Rosberg 9 34 34
7 Trulli +1 7 34 32
9 Alonso 14 26 26
10 Glock DNS 24 24
11 Kovalainen 11 22 22
12 Heidfeld +1 5 23 19
13 Massa -1 DNS 22 22
14 Kubica 10 17 17
15 Buemi 8 7 6
16 Kobayashi 6 6 3
  no other      
  points scores      
         
  2009 WCC      
    official WCC Double pts WCC  
1 Brawn 172 183  
2 RBR 153 171  
3 Mclaren 71 71  
4 Ferrari 70 70  
5 Toyota 59.5 64.5  
6 BMW 36 40  
7 Williams 34.5 34  
8 Renault 26 26  
9 Force India 13 13  
10 STR 8 9  

The only changes in the standings would have been Trulli moving up one spot in WCC as he tied Rosberg on points, and Heidfeld would have jumped Massa.  Starting this off with a sizzle rather than a bang, you see in the table that very little would have changed in 2009, partly because the points awarded per race were lower to begin with (the 2009 season featured points for only the top 8, 10 for the winner, then 8, 6, 5 ,4, 3 ,2, 1 ), mitigating the impact of double points somewhat.

2010 The Bulls show their balls

2010 was the breakthrough year for Red Bull which Brawns double diffuser denied them the year before. Though Webber and Vettel did their damned best to throw away the title in a superior car throwing hissy fits (and their cars) at each other, a remarkable season finale saw the underdog come through to win what we know now was the 1st in a string of 4 consecutive titels. With Vettel the race winner in – again – Abu Dhabi, the WDC would have still belonged to him if double points were awarded, but how does the rest shake out?

Table : 2010 official and revised standings.

  2010 WDC final gp result double points WDC  official WDC 
1 Vettel 1 281 256
2 Alonso 7 258 252
2 Hamilton +2 2 258 240
4 Webber -1 8 246 242
5 Button 3 229 214
6 Massa -1 10 145 142
7 Rosberg +1 4 154 144
7 Kubica 5 144 144
9 Schumacher DNF 72 72
10 Barrichello 12 47 47
11 Sutil 13 47 4
12 Petrov +1 14 32 35
13 Kobayashi -1 6 35 32
14 Hulkenberg 16 22 22
15 Liuzzi DNF 21 21
16 Buemi 15 8 8
17 De La Rosa DNS 6 6
18 Alguersuari +1 11 6 7
19 Heidfeld -1 9 7 6
         
  2010 WCC      
    official WCC Double pts WCC  
1 RBR 498 527  
2 Mclaren 454 487  
3 Ferrari 396 403  
4 Mercedes 214 226  
5 Renault 163 179  
6 Williams 69 69  
7 Force India 68 68  
8 Sauber 44 44  
9 STR 13 15  
10 backmarkers on 0 points      

Once more we do not really see major changes, though Massa is again drawing the short stick in WDC standings, dropping another place as this time Rosberg would have jumped him. Hamilton would have been the biggest winner, jumping Webber and tied with Alonso for 2nd in WDC, though the Spaniard would still edge it thanks to his greater win tally.  Petrov’s feisty, Alonso championship losing drive would have seen him jump ahead of Kobayashi in the standings. While all the way down the standings , Alguersuari would have jumped Heidfeld in the points. However when it comes down to the all important constructors money, again nothing would have changed in 2010. None of the cars from the two only teams really close to each other in the standings at the final round managed to score a point, so the WCC positions remain the same. So 2 years in a row where the double points would only have had a minor impact on WDC standings at the ass end of the grid. Much ado about nothing then, or shall we continue and see if anyon would have been set to lose a few million dollars over the latest shenanigans?

 

2011 Vettel and Red Bull teabag everybody

The 2011 RBR was unstoppable in the hands of Vettel, reaching a level of dominance one would only expect to see once in a generation (only for Red Bull and Vettel to step it up a notch and really rub it in at the end of 2013). There is no doubt Vettel and Red Bull would have walked away with all the glory, but will we see some changes down the grid? The venue of the season finale changed in any case, as we returned to Interlagos for the final GP, where Vettel’s mysterious gearbox problem gifted Webber a win to lift his morale after another sound thrashing by the youngster during the season.

 

Table 2011 official and revised standings

 

  2011 WDC final gp result double points WDC official WDC points
1 Vettel 2 410 392
2 Button 3 285 270
2 Webber 1 283 258
4 Alonso 4 269 257
5 Hamilton DNF 227 227
6 Massa 5 128 118
7 Rosberg 7 95 89
7 Schumacher 15 76 76
9 Sutil 6 50 42
10 Petrov 10 38 37
11 Heidfeld DNS 34 34
12 Kobayashi 9 32 30
13 Di Resta 8 31 27
14 Alguersuari 11 26 26
15 Buemi 12 15 15
16 Perez 13 14 14
17 Barrichello 14 4 4
18 Senna 15 2 2
19 Maldonado DNF 1 1
         
  2011 WCC      
    official WCC Double pts WCC  
1 RBR 650 693  
2 Mclaren 497 512  
3 Ferrari 375 397  
4 Mercedes 165 171  
5 Force India +1 69 81  
6 Renault -1 73 74  
7 Sauber 44 46  
8 STR 41 41  
9 Williams 5 5  
10 backmarkers on 0 points      

The driver standings actually don’t see any changes, but there is a big, multi-million dollar whopper of a change in the constructors standings where Force India overhaul Lotus Renault  for 5th in the WCC thanks to a strong result for both Di Resta and Sutil (P8 and P6 respectively) while the Lotus boys picked up just one point courtesy of Petrov’s tenth, making only +2 points in our final tally as opposed to FI taking home a sizeable 12 pts for the weekends work. Considering the Lotus’ current financial plight, that one surely would have stung for Eric Boullier.

 

2012 Alonso gets close, but no cigar

2012 was arguably Alonso’s finest year to date, dragging the third or even fourth best car within a whisker of the championship was a near superhuman feat but alas it was not to be, as Vettel got lucky with Grosjean being an idiot at Spa, the Brazilian weather, surviving an accident and car damage to drag home the sixth place he needed to secure his fourth title. Were the double points rule active at that time, Alonso would have been a triple world champion, which obviously is a major shake-up of the history books due to one silly rule. I suspect it is probably why a  team like Ferrari went along with an idea as stupid as this, as they were blinded by the success it could have brought them (the 2008 title would have also been Massa’s were this rule implemented at the time), forgetting it is of course a double edged sword.

 

Table: 2012 official and revised standings

 

  2012 WDC final gp result double points WDC official WDC points
1 Alonso +1 2 296 278
2 Vettel -1 6 289 281
3 Button +2 1 213 188
4 Raikkonen -1 10 208 207
5 Webber+1 4 191 179
6 Hamilton -2 DNF 190 190
7 Massa 3 137 122
8 Grosjean DNF 96 96
9 Rosberg 15 93 93
10 Hulkenberg +1 5 73 63
11 Perez -1 DNF 66 66
12 Kobayashi 9 62 60
13 Schumacher 7 55 49
14 Di Resta DNF 46 46
15 Maldonado DNF 45 45
16 Senna DNF 31 31
17 Vergne 8 20 16
18 Ricciardo 13 10 10
         
  2012 WCC      
    official WCC Double pts WCC  
1 RBR 460 480  
2 Ferrari 400 433  
3 Mclaren 378 403  
4 Lotus 303 304  
5 Mercedes 142 148  
6 Sauber 126 128  
7 Force India 109 119  
8 Williams 76 76  
9 STR 26 30  
10 backmarkers on 0 points      

Also near the top of the standings, Button would have leapfrogged his teammate Hamilton (outscoring him 2 years in a row) as well as Raikkonen to secure third in the standings with his win. Hamilton’s DNF after his accident with Hulkenberg would also result in Webber passing him for fourth in the standings, edging it by 1 point. While the top 6 in the drivers’ championship would have seen some serious upheaval, the gaps in the WCC were too big between all teams for anyone to profit from the double points, though again Force India came within nine points to steal a spot from Sauber. It could have been so had Hulkenberg not crashed while dicing for the lead, but at least the fifth place he salvaged would have seen him jump Perez in the standings.

 

2013 Not this guy again

A strong start for Ferrari and Lotus gave everybody some hope that this would be the year in which Red Bull would be brought down back to earth, but once the shocking level of incompetence demonstrated by Pirelli really came to the fore with some spectacular blowouts in Silverstone F1 had no choice but to change tyre compounds and then the Red Bull wings took off again. Vettel’s total domination would have ensured him the WDC either way, and a win in the final GP just capped off a near perfect year for the German,

 

Table: 2013 official and revised standings

 

  2013 WDC final gp result double points WDC official WDC points
1 Vettel 1 422 397
2 Alonso 3 257 242
3 Webber 2 217 199
4 Hamilton 9 191 189
5 Raikkonen DNS 183 183
6 Rosberg 5 181 171
7 Grosjean DNF 132 132
8 Massa 7 118 112
9 Button 4 85 73
10 Perez +1 6 57 49
11 Hulkenberg -1 8 55 51
12 Di Resta 11 48 48
13 Sutil 13 29 29
14 Ricciardo 10 21 20
15 Vergne 15 13 13
16 Gutierrez 12 6 6
17 Bottas DNF 4 4
18 Maldonado 16 1 1
         
  2013 WCC      
    official WCC Double pts WCC  
1 RBR 596 639  
2 Ferrari +1 354 375  
3 Mercedes -1 360 372  
4 Lotus 315 315  
5 Mclaren 122 142  
6 Force India 77 77  
7 Sauber 57 61  
8 STR 33 34  
9 Williams 5 5  
10 backmarkers on 0 pts      

The only change we would have seen in the drivers’ championship would have come from Perez leapfrogging Hulkenberg. However another multi million dollr change in the WCC standings would have seen Ferrari jump ahead of Mercedes courtesy of Alonso’s second place ( 36 pts) and Massa’s 7th (12pts) v Rosberg’s fifth (20 points) and Hamilton’s ninth (4 points), in the ends the red team outscoring the silver arrows by 3 points. Just looking ath these figures really hit home how absurd this new rule is. Rosberg’s 5th place is worth more than a 2nd anywhere else on the calendar. A crap race with a penalty from Massa still bags him 12 pts, as much as a 4th anywhere else!

 

 

Conclusion

 

Proponents of the double points season finale Bernie extravaganza could look at this and say it would have barely had any impact. The three biggest difference would have of course been Alonso taking the 2012 title, and FI stealing a WCC spot from Renault in 2011, and Ferrari doing to same to Mercedes this year. However, looking at the amounts of money involced in one constructors spot difference in the standing the ramifications can be huge. Cost cutting will take another hit as teams even all the way down the grid will be forced to keep car development up until the very end, as we see, even a fifth place is worth 20 points. In a tight WCC this can make the difference between tens of millions of dollars, and one fifth place should not have this kind of impact. The ramifications are just too big, and there is not a single sporting reason for this double points system to be awarded. Supposedly ‘the show’ benefits from it, and so does FOM’s wallet, as F1 continues its slide down from motorsport into mere entertainment.

 

While it was fun contemplating all these ‘what ifs’ during the long off season, my voice – or that of F1 F1 fan for that matter – won’t have an impact in the fight to get this ridiculous new rule kicked to the kerb. But the voice of the reigning, 4 time WDC should have some weight to it. If the rest of the drivers do not succumb to the PR machines of their respective teams, they should voice their opposition too an then just maybe F1 may still take this out of the 2014 regs. However, while I love to bash the FIA for its incompetence, once again we should wag a finger in the face of teams, as they too had a voice in this matter, and from the reports we read, several of them even accepted this daft proposal. Shame on you.

Comments
  1. Is this blog or the podcasts still alive?

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