Read Edward Docx on Formula One in full
This month in Prospect, Edward Docx muses on the beauty of Formula One—and his frustrations with this most impenetrable of sports. Here, in an extract from the piece, he lays out his radical new scoring system for races.
So, then, this is my proposal for the Grand Prix Drivers Association: as well as rewarding final finishing positions, I would add a bonus to reward overtaking. From 2016 onwards, drivers should be awarded 10 “bonus” points for making up 10 positions from their starting place on the grid—these in addition to the points they would ordinarily score for the final placing (see box opposite). This bonus would be added only for finishers in the top 10.
How would my overtaking bonus work in practice? Qualifying would be exactly the same—an hour with fastest lap time placed at the front and so on. But—and here is the big difference—the top 10 drivers would now be able to choose if they wanted to drop 10 places on the grid. The fastest driver—“pole”—would make the decision last in order to reward and strategically privilege his being quickest in qualifying. Any driver who thought (at any given circuit) that he might be able to make up 10 places could therefore elect to give himself a 10 place grid “penalty” that allowed him a shot at the 10 point bonus. Drivers who had qualified 11th to 20th would be promoted into the top 10 positions in ranking order, depending on how many of the front 10 elected to drop back behind them.
What this would mean is that where it is difficult to overtake (at tracks such as Monaco) we would get the same starts as we do now—since all the drivers would choose to be as far up the grid as their qualifying time allowed. Thus the…