What difference would double-points make in F1?

With the proposal for double points for the final round of the 2014 championship, many F1 sites have commented on the championships that would have changed as a result.  A number have also commented about the impact on the drivers’ points totals (although this measure is meaningless since the points for a win went to 25 in 2010).   However this may be missing the point, as the intent behind the change is to extend the championship battle longer in the season,, not necessarily to change the ultimate destination for the World Drivers’ Championship.

The Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship has been run for 64 years (1950-2013). In this time the championship has gone to the last round on 25 occasions leaving 39 years when the title was decided early.   Of these 39 years had double points been available for the final round of the year the championship would have been extended to the final round on 18 occasions.  In a further ten years the championship battle would have been extended, but not until the final round, leaving 11 occasions when it would have had no effect whatsoever on which round the title was decided.

So the double points idea would only extend the duration of the championship for 28 years (44%) and of those only 18 (28%) would go to the final round.  These figures are complicated by the many and varied scoring systems that F1 has used through the years, with different points values for a win (8, 9, 10 and 25), a point for fastest lap and several different dropped score schemes through the years.  If we just look at the period since 1991 (the time when all the results counted towards a drivers’ final points total), the situation is as follows:

23 years total:

ten years where the championship went to the final round;

three years where double points wouldn’t extend the championship (1991, 1995 and 2011);

five years where double points would extend the championship, but not to the last round (1992, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2013);

three years when double points would extend the championship to the final round (2000, 2005 and 2009).

In this period since 1991 the double points would only have extended the championship in eight years (35%), and only taken it to the final round on three occasions (13%).  Given the ill feeling the suggestion has generated among the fans of the sport, it doesn’t seem to do what was intended.  Unless of course the intention was to generate plenty of press and social media coverage for Formula 1 during the off season.

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