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F1 May Award a Championship Point for Fastest Lap

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Ross Brawn
Ross Brawn, sporting director of Formula One

A last-minute change to the 2019 Formula 1 sporting rules could lead to drivers being awarded with a single championship point for setting the fastest lap during a Grand Prix.

According to a report from RaceFans, the rule change is due to be submitted at the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting that will take place on Thursday in Geneva.

Should the WMSC approve of the change, the proposal would then go to the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission for an urgent e-vote, as the season is set to start in less than two weeks.

Liberty Media, the commercial rights holder to F1, says the new scheme was encouraged by the result of a fan surveys and research, and that it could be a useful tool for adding excitement to the end of a race, particularly when a front-running driver has dropped out of contention for a better position.

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Liberty Media says it also considered awarding a single point for pole position, but decided against it as it could make it possible for a driver to win the championship on a Saturday. “What happens in the race on Sunday is paramount,” a source told RaceFans. “Nothing should detract from that.”

The F1 community seems to be split on the matter. On reddit, many users have denigrated the new system as a gimmick, while other users have pointed out that many other series already use it. Nonetheless, the value of a single point in F1 may be too small for it to have the desired effect of encouraging drivers to push when they might otherwise be inclined to turn down the engine and save their tires.

Of course, if that’s the intended effect, F1 could simply raise the engine limit, which currently forces teams to drive as conservatively as possible and which has also significantly increased the cost of making the engines, thereby exacerbating the gap between the big- and low-budget teams.

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