Reading over the AUTOSPORT story about driver penalties in the form of a points system on their license had me wondering if this is a good idea. Apparently the drivers think it is and certain power brokers in Formula One do as well but it would be interesting to hear an opposing viewpoint. Jonathan Noble is, by uneducated guess, an ace guy but the article is written with the assumption that fans know about penalty systems currently in place and how this new points system would change that. It’s very bare on back story and the usual journalistic approach to informing the reader of the who, what, where, when and how. I’m sure I’m just running slow this morning and the error is my ability to digest news, not Mr. Noble’s ability to write it… he’s a good guy.
For those reasons, it is difficult to understand how a points system that accrues infractions in the shape of a points will work as juxtaposed to the current system of fines. I understand that fines are simply that… fines for cash. They have no punitive implication such as a ban or some other penalty no matter how many times you are fined.
The article says that this is tied to the speeding violations as well as drivers are keen to get rid of that penalty but have held off on making it an issue until the FIA could have a serious discussion over a points system which is now set for the weekend of the Spanish Grand Prix. According to technical boss Charlie Whiting:
“It’s a complex question and we need to get the balance right because banning a driver is a serious issue,” he said. “We need to make sure a driver genuinely deserves any ban.
“We will be monitoring offences and running a [hypothetical] system in the background to see how it would all work if put into practice. We need to do that for a while.”
They are testing a system in concert with the actual season so they can assure that the system is properly managed and equitable. That’s good news as accruing a few points over speeding violations which would then amount to a race ban would be really harsh.
According tot he story, the FIA will review their system at the meeting in Spain to assure all parties that the system won’t tally up silly infractions that one day result in a massive punishment such as a race ban.
What the article also notes is that AUTOSPORT did report back in March that the Super License fee was drastically increased but that the driver swallowed that pill by being reassured they would not be fined for pit lane speeding infractions. I assume the amount of revenue generated through speeding penalties was well below the total increase in Super License fees or otherwise the FIA wouldn’t agree to it.
What do you think? Can a points system work and in particular would it be something that could be exploited or seriously detrimental to F1 or a particular driver?