Formula 1 to award points to drivers who set fastest laps
Formula 1 is set to change its scoring system this year by giving a point to the driver who sets the fastest lap in a grand prix. The move is part of an audacious bid to make F1 more appealing and increase audiences.
Bosses of F1 discussed the idea after fan surveys threw it up as one of many proposals that might add extra interest to races. It is expected to be officially confirmed before the season-opening race in Australia next weekend.
The move has been approved by the FIA's world motor sport council (WMSC), a key legislative body, but still needs to be signed off by two further bodies - the strategy group of leading teams, F1 and FIA, and the F1 Commission, a body on which the FIA, teams, sponsors and circuits have representation.
The driver with the fastest lap will only be awarded the point if he also finishes in the top 10. Approval is expected to be a formality, especially as the idea was initially discussed by the strategy group and approved before going to the WMSC.
It will be the first time a point has been awarded for the fastest lap since the first decade of the F1 World Championship between 1950-59. The feeling is that the change might add extra interest towards the end of a race, when the action can tend to die down following the conclusion of all the pit stops.
Bosses accept there could be negatives to the idea - such as a championship being decided by a fastest-lap point, or a title contender's team-mate, who is not in championship contention, setting a fastest lap to disadvantage a rival from another team. But the feeling was that all teams and drivers would be aware of this issue and any of them could choose to take action.
The idea was one of many that were put to fans in surveys conducted by F1 last year. The feedback was that it was an idea worth discussing and F1's senior stakeholders concluded it should be adopted.