Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

The implications of F1's vote on a new points structure

Formula 1 is about to consider a new points system that rewards drivers down to 12th place. Here's what F1 might change and why.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-24, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR24, the remainder of the field on the opening lap of the Sprint
As exclusively revealed by Autosport over the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, Thursday's virtual F1 Commission meeting will have a new points structure from 2025 onwards as one of its agenda points.
The FIA, F1 and the 10 teams are set to vote on a tweak to the existing points system that has been in place since 2010 for grands prix. The top seven positions remain unchanged, but from eighth place down there will be a more gradual sliding scale that awards points all the way down to 12th, with just one point separating all those positions.
The existing rule on the fastest lap point, which only points finishers are eligible for, is expected to stay in place, and would also extend down to 12th position.

F1's proposed 2025 points system

Finishing position
Current points
Proposed points
1
25
25
2
18
18
3
15
15
4
12
12
5
10
10
6
8
8
7
6
6
8
4
5
9
2
4
10
1
3
11
0
2
12
0
1
Fastest lap
1  (top 10 finishers only)
1  (top 12 finishers only)
 

Why is there a new push to change F1's points system?

The main driver behind the F1's points system change is the competitive pecking order this year, with a clear split between the top five and bottom five teams. With only 10 points-paying positions, that means on a normal weekend with few incidents, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Aston Martin are expected to freeze out any points on offer.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, Valtteri Bottas, Kick Sauber C44, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24, the remainder of the field on the opening lap of the Sprint

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, Valtteri Bottas, Kick Sauber C44, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24, the remainder of the field on the opening lap of the Sprint

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The bottom five outfits are fighting for scraps and have to bank on any of the frontrunners hitting trouble or having an off-kilter performance, which has become more unlikely in recent years due to the near-bulletproof reliability that trademarks modern-day F1.
It also means that if one of the midfielders scores big by catching a lucky break in a chaotic race, it might be all but locked into sixth position for the season. As it stands after five race weekends, Williams, Alpine and Sauber are all yet to score any points.

What would the points system have changed since 2010?

Applying the prospective 2025 system to this season, extending the points down to 12th would have allowed every team to get off the board. There are no position changes at the top of the drivers' or constructors' standings - more on that later - but Williams would have taken five points so far, with two apiece for Alpine and Sauber.
Haas would have been the main beneficiary, with the team tripling its points and leapfrogging RB, as Nico Hulkenberg equals Lance Stroll.
2024 drivers' standings (current classification vs proposed system)
Pos
Driver
Points
Pos
Driver
Points
1
110
1
Max Verstappen
110
2
85
2
Sergio Perez
85
3
76
3
Charles Leclerc
76
4
69
4
Carlos Sainz
69
5
58
5
Lando Norris
59
6
38
6
Oscar Piastri
41
7
33
7
34
8
Fernando Alonso
31
8
George Russell
33
9
19
9
Lewis Hamilton
25
10
Lance Stroll
9
10
Lance Stroll
12
11
7
11
Nico Hulkenberg
12
12
6
12
Yuki Tsunoda
9
13
Nico Hulkenberg
4
13
Oliver Bearman
6
14
1
14
Kevin Magnussen
5
15
Alexander Albon
0
15
Alexander Albon
5
16
0
16
Esteban Ocon
2
17
Guanyu Zhou
0
17
Guanyu Zhou
2
18
0
18
Daniel Ricciardo
1
19
0
19
Pierre Gasly
0
20
0
20
Valtteri Bottas
0
21
0
21
Logan Sargeant
0

2024 constructors' standings (current classification vs proposed system)

Pos
Constructor
Points
 Pos
Constructor
Points
1
Red Bull
195
1
Red Bull
195
2
Ferrari
151
2
Ferrari
151
3
McLaren
96
3
McLaren
100
4
Mercedes
52
4
Mercedes
58
5
Aston Martin
40
5
Aston Martin
46
6
RB
7
6
Haas
17
7
Haas
5
7
RB
10
8
Williams
0
8
Williams
5
9
Alpine
0
9
Alpine
2
10
Sauber
0
10
Sauber
2
Moving down the seasons, Ferrari would have beaten Mercedes to second in 2023. The two giants would have finished on equal points, with Carlos Sainz's win in Singapore swaying the duel towards the Scuderia.
In 2020 there would have been a swap between McLaren and Racing Point for third, while Valtteri Bottas would have jumped Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen to third in 2018. Those are some of the rare cases of the top four positions changing hands.
Verstappen would have still beaten Lewis Hamilton to the contested 2021 title, and Sebastian Vettel still would have clinched the 2010 and 2012 championships over Fernando Alonso.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB6 leads Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F10 and Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing RB6

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB6 leads Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F10 and Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing RB6

Photo by: Sutton Images

What do the teams and drivers think?

It appears the move was instigated by some of the smaller teams, with RB team boss Laurent Mekies explaining why it would be a good move for his squad.
"Even the bottom five teams are large organisations now and it's very difficult to explain to the outside world, to our partners, and to our fans, that we battle for a P11 that actually grants zero points," he told Autosport.
"If you look at the level of competitiveness of the top five teams and the reliability level of the cars, it means that most of the race you're battling theoretically for zero points, and we don't think this is right.
"We also think it's more meritocratic because, if you score points up until P12, you will avoid the effect where if something completely stunning happens and somebody scores a P5 or P4 in the rain, it means the other guys can stay home for 10 races.
"It's ticking all the boxes with virtually no downside, so hopefully it will go through."
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen suggested F1 could go even further and reward every position like IndyCar and NASCAR do.
"Maybe points for everyone would be better so that you always have something to fight for," he said. "When you're fighting for P16 or 14 or something like that, it'd be good if there was still something to fight for. It feels pointless [now]."
Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01 battles with Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24

Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Team VCARB 01 battles with Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

On the opposite side of the grid, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said he was "impartial" on the issue, and having experienced the other end of the spectrum at Alfa Romeo, Ferrari chief Fred Vasseur empathised with the smaller teams' plight.
"I'm not against [it]. And coming from Alfa Romeo, I perfectly understand sometimes the frustration that you are doing a mega weekend, but if there is no DNF in front of you then you finish P11 and the reward is zero," said the Frenchman.
The fact that the top teams aren't affected has given the points tweak a possible runway to gain a majority and be approved by the F1 Commission. The FIA is also set to gain from it as teams pay the governing body licence fees based on the number of points earned the previous season, so eight extra points per weekend means the FIA would be in line for a revenue increase of over $1m.
And even if some leading team bosses were to be against it in principle, whatever their motives, granting two more points positions is perhaps unlikely to be a hill worth dying on - antagonising the smaller outfits in the process - ahead of future Concorde Agreement talks.

Are there any arguments against?

Why would people be against such an innocuous change in principle, though? If anything, two more points rewards would offer F1 fans an extra battle that is worth following. Are there any tangible downsides?
First of all, the points tweak is a very situational fix, attempting to apply a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The 50/50 split of the grid is not likely to remain in place for long, with the 2026 rules revamp expecting to blow the field apart again.
In addition, the argument that scoring more points makes teams more attractive to sponsors appears tenuous, as in relative terms nothing actually changes and the worst teams will still finish below the better ones in the constructors' standings. Is there a tangible difference between finishing last with five points or with 15?
A more philosophical argument, though, which is sure to divide opinion, is whether or not continually expanding the points positions over the years is detracting from the essence of F1.
Points in F1 have never been participation medals, but have been fought over with blood, sweat and tears. The images of an elated Mark Webber and his Minardi team scoring a rare fifth at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix, when only the top six scored points, still form part of F1's lore.
Paul Stoddart and Mark Webber celebrate in front of their home crowd

Paul Stoddart and Mark Webber celebrate in front of their home crowd

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Even today, scoring a point is a cause for celebration for struggling teams and drivers, a just reward for a spotless weekend well executed. The more F1 rewards finishes outside the top 10, the more scoring points starts losing meaning, and any sense of achievement gets watered down.
Still, the latest push to expand the points system appears to have more momentum behind it than before. It is now up to the F1 Commission to make the call on whether it is just an opportunistic "plaster on a big cut", as per Esteban Ocon, to F1's split grid or a long-term improvement to the show as a whole.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Mercedes taking action to cure F1 car's “underlying balance” problem
Next article The F1 hero to zero dividing line that has never been so thin

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe