Wins not points to decide Formula One title

March 18th, 2009 - 8:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris/Rio de Janeiro, March 18 (DPA) The number of wins rather than the highest number of points will decide the Formula One title from the 2009 season onwards, world motorsport federation FIA said.
However, the constructors group Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) and Rubens Barrichello, the most veteran driver on the paddock, strongly criticised the move later Tuesday.

In the event of two or more drivers finishing with the same number of race wins, the title will go to the driver with the most points, FIA’s Motorsport World Council ruled.

The rest of the standings will still be decided on the current scoring system.

If the new regulations had been in effect last season, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and not McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton of Briton would have won the drivers’ championship.

The Brazilian driver lost out by 98-97 points but won six races to the British racer’s five.

The council rejected a proposal from the teams to change the scoring system to 12, nine and seven points for the first three finishers, retaining the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points system.

The council also rejected a suggestion by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone to award gold, silver and bronze medals for the top three drivers in each race.

The constructors’ championship will still be decided by points, rather than team wins.

The FIA also agreed to introduce a voluntary budget cap from 2010 of $42 million per two-car team. Teams who agree to the cost cap will receive “greater technical freedom.”

FIA president Max Mosley said the regulation would “encourage intelligent development.”

A FIA statement said: “As an alternative to running under the existing rules, which are to remain stable until 2012, all teams will have the option to compete with cars built and operated within a stringent cost cap.

“To enable these cars to compete with those from teams which are not subject to cost constraints, the cost-capped cars will be allowed greater technical freedom.”

FOTA, which includes top dogs Ferrari and McLaren along with some other Formula 1 teams, issued a statement to complain about the changes.

“FOTA would like to express its disappointment and concern at the fact that these have been taken in a unilateral manner,” FOTA and Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo said in a statement posted on the association’s website.

“The framework of the regulations as defined by the FIA, to be applicable as from 2010, runs the risk of turning on its head the very essence of Formula 1 and the principles that make it one of the most popular and appealing sports,” he added.

Di Montezemolo stressed that, at a time of crisis, FIA should rather seek “to maintain a stable framework for the regulations without continuous upheaval, that can be perplexing and confusing.”

Barrichello, 36, who has raced in the top category of motorsport uninterruptedly since 1993, was also upset about the new rule.

“I think the winner should be whoever gets the most points. The champion should be the driver who has shown the highest quality throughout the whole championship,” Brawn GP driver Barrichello told Brazilian television channel TV Globo.

“Imagine a team that wins six races at the beginning of the year. From then on, the championship is virtually over,” he said.

The 2009 Formula 1 season is set to start March 29 with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

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