FIA to review reduced F1 point rules after Japanese GP confusion

The FIA has announced it will review the rules surrounding reduced distance races and points allocation after confusion over the awarding of full points at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Race winner Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Heavy rain resulted in a lengthy red flag delay at the Japanese GP two weeks ago that meant the race could only complete 28 of its planned 53 laps before the three-hour time limit expired.

Despite only just scraping over the 50% mark for the race distance, full points were still awarded due to the wording of the regulations that said reduced points only applied for races that could not be resumed.

It meant Max Verstappen clinched his second F1 world title after a post-race penalty was applied to Charles Leclerc, although the Red Bull driver was visibly unsure if he had won the championship throughout the parc ferme proceedings.

As part of its review of the events at Suzuka, including the incident that saw drivers quickly pass a crane on the track following their safety concerns, the FIA confirmed it would be revisiting the rules surrounding reduced points.

"At the Japanese Grand Prix, Article 6.5 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations which covers race time limit and points distribution was applied correctly," the FIA said in a statement.

"However, the wording of the Regulations will be revisited with a view to bringing further clarity during the next review of the Sporting Regulations."

Race winner Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Race winner Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

The FIA adjusted the rules surrounding reduced points in the wake of last year's Belgian GP that saw half points still get awarded despite the cars only completing two laps behind the safety car.

But because the updated rules said these only applied to races that could not be resumed, it meant full points could still be awarded at Suzuka.

Article 6.5 of the FIA's sporting regulations reads: "If a race is suspended in accordance with Article 57, and cannot be resumed, points for each title will be awarded in accordance with the following criteria," before detailing the structure for reduced points.

This sees the winner of the race get six points if less than 25% of the race is completed, 13 for 25-50% and 19 for 50-75%, with full points then kicking in for any distance over 75%.

It is likely this will be adjusted to remove the wording that says it applies if races "cannot be resumed".

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It was accepted throughout the paddock that the awarding of full points for such a short race was an unintended consequence of the rules being rewritten last year.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner called it a "mistake", having only found out after the chequered flag that full points would still be handed out, while McLaren boss Andreas Seidl said it "wasn't the intention" of the rulebook.

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