As we've all heard and now digested, Formula One has decided it will no longer crown its champion driver via points, simply by race wins (with points as a tiebreaker).
Now... I understand putting more emphasis on wins for a championship, but wins alone is too much. While NASCAR gives entirely too much for simply participating, and basically no credit to winning versus anything else; I think F1 will be putting way too much credit into possible inconsistency. I honestly believe IndyCar's current system is the fairest because it gives a good enough bonus to first and second place finishers but it doesn't murder people not finishing first and second.
Lets face it a season champion is about efficiency; the person who finishes the best overall/most often, I mean who do you want to hire out of college; the kid who got a few A's but failed half his classes, or the kid who comes out with the 3.14 GPA?
People want to guess that a guy in the new F1 system can win 5 and quit, and yes its a realistic scenario, but lets look at what happens to 13 years of Indy Car Racing.
I went back to 1996 in both CART & IRL using F1's new system, and here are some interesting results. Of the 25 titles, we get 8 new or non-split champions; 18 times the title is clinched before the final race. 9 times it is clinched with 2+ races to go.
Want to see a year by year analysis of what happens to Indy cars under the win heavy system? Well lets take the IRL first:
2008: Dixon secures championship with 3 races still to go when Wheldon & Briscoe fail to win Detroit. Helio is never in contention at the time when Dixon clinches.
2007:Tony Kanaan locks up share of the championship in Detroit and Franchitti's win on final lap of Chicago stops Dixon from taking it from TK.
2006: Hornish still wins with a tie-breaker but instead by a 2 point tiebreaker over Helio instead of tiebreaker over Wheldon.
2005: Wheldon clinches in Chicago with 2 races still to go
2004: Kanaan still wins, but as a FOUR-WAY-TIE with Wheldon, Buddy Rice and Adrian Fernandez with TK having most points.
2003: Dixon wins via points in 3-way tie with Hornish & De Ferran; Dixon essentially locked up share of it with 1 race to go barring catastrophic failure.
2002: Hornish wins but this time locks it up share with 3 to go, and clinch with 2 to go, no duel to the wire with Helio
2001: Not only does Buddy Lazier win instead of Hornish, Lazier locks it up with 1 race to go. (Remember in reality Hornish won by 100+ points)
2000: Buddy Lazier still wins clinching with 1 to go, but this time there is a 7 way tie for 2nd place in wins.
1999: Greg Ray wins but clinches title with 1 race still to go when Scott Goodyear (who finished 9th in points) doesn't win at Vegas.
1998: Brack locks it up before the final race; 2nd place in points Davey Hamilton is never a factor.
1997: Luyendyk wins instead of Tony Stewart with a 8 way tie for 2nd. Luyendyk locks with 1 to go.
1996: Buzz Calkins wins outright breaking the 3 way tie with Luyendyk & Cheever.
2007: Bourdais clinches with 4 races to go!
2006: Bourdais wins when A.J. Allmendinger retires in Surfers; Mexico doesn't matter and 2nd place in points Justin Wilson is never in contention.
2005: Bourdais clinches when Tracy doesn't win Vegas and still 3 races to go.
2004: Bourdais clinches when Tracy doesn't win Laguna Seca and 3 races still remain; Bruno Junqueira who was a close 2nd in points never matters.
2003: Tracy wins but instead clinches when Bourdais doesn't win Denver with 3 races remaining! Junquiera & Michel Jourdain Jr. in reality a close 2nd & 3rd never matter.
2002: Da Matta clinches with 3 races to go when Franchitti doesn't win Miami.
2001: 2001 was Gil De Ferran domination right?... nope Kenny Brack beats Castroneves by clinching the title with 1 race to go.
2000: De Ferran's first title right? NOPE; we have a 3-way tie of Paul Tracy, Juan Pablo Montoya & Helio Castroneves (5th, 8th and 9th in points) with Tracy taking the title in point tiebreaker.
1999: Montoya wins but instead of going down to the wire and then tiebreaker over Dario; this time he clinches it Vancouver with 4 races still to go!
1998: Zanardi wins with 4 races still to go!
1997: Zanardi clinches 1st title with 1 race remaining.
1996: Michael Andretti wins title instead of Jimmy Vasser even though Andretti failed to finish 6 races...
Not entirely different results across the board, sure; but some pretty interesting seasons in there...