Feature: What Would Happen If The Existing Points System Had Been Used Since Formula One Started?

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Sport and statistics go hand in hand. Statistics help us to analyse what see and learn in a single sports event, a season, and throughout time. Statistics also afford us a method of comparing the past and the present.

When the existing formula one points scoring system was introduced at the beginning of 2010, the new system was so different from the former systems that comparing the feats of drivers throughout time had been massively skewed. For example, earliest points scoring system only paid 8 points for a win. This was increased to 9 in 1961 and to 10 points in 1991 until the current point system was introduced. The points for a win has now been increased to 25 for a win. The number of drivers scoring points in a race has also increased from 5 in the 1950s, to 10 since 2010.

The points scored statistic is one of the best for comparing driver throughout history as most drivers at some time in their careers will score points. Not all will score wins, pole positions or fastest laps, so the comparison between drivers who were not elite is less meaningful there.

So here at the Qualifying Lap, we’ve undertaken to go back through the record books and place all the results of all grand prix drivers into the modern points scoring system to see how things would look. Now obviously there are some limitations. For example, drivers prior to 2010 that were fighting over tenth place in a grand prix would throw caution to the wind in an effort to try and score points, which would have resulted in many crashing out. The 2010-2013 F1 driver might be content to take the one point that is on offer for that position and would drive more conservatively to the finish. Teams also built more reliable cars now, and don’t stretch the equipment a far as possible in order to mar the car as fast as possible. This greatly increased the amount of vehicles breaking down, resulting in a loss of points for drivers. But putting such limitations aside, the adjusted point scoring table (as I like to call it) makes for very interesting reading.

No prizes for guessing which driver is on top, that’s Michael Schumacher with a total of 3872 points. Of the current F1 drivers, Fernando Alonso is third with 2206 points having just moved ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Ayrton Senna over the last two years, Kimi Raikkonen is seventh of all time with 1705 points, and Jenson Button is ninth on 1609.5 points. Other current drivers in the top 100 include Lewis Hamilton (14th, 1288), Sebastien Vettel (15th, 1244), Felipe Massa (16th, 1231), Mark Webber (17th, 1159), Nico Rosberg (57th, 542) and Hekki Kovalainen (83rd, 281).

For your information, here is the top 25:

1 Michael Schumacher 3872

2 Alain Prost 2481.5

3 Fernando Alonso 2206

4 Rubens Barrichello 1892

5 Ayrton Senna 1859.5

6 David Couthard 1725

7 Kimi Raikkonen 1705

8 Nelson Piquet Sr 1638

9 Jenson Button 1609.5

10 Nigel Mansell 1490

11 Gehard Berger 1391.5

12 Mika Hakkinen 1368

13 Niki Lauda 1257

14 Lewis Hamilton 1288

15 Sebastian Vettel 1244

16 Felipe Massa 1231

17 Mark Webber 1159

18 Riccardo Patrese 1114

19 Jackie Stewart 1099

20 Ralf Schumacher 1092

21 Damon Hill 1091

22 Carlos Reutemann 1085.5

23 Jean Alesi 1033

24 Emerson Fittipaldi 1003

25 Graham Hill 996

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(Image copyright The Times)

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