So F1 is now officially awarding an extra point for the driver that has the fastest lap of the race, providing they are in the top ten.
F1 has previously had a point for fastest lap, from 1950-1959 points were awarded for the first 5 drivers and an extra point for fastest lap, but for 2019 the rule is slightly different. Not only does the point only go to a driver in the top ten positions that scores the fastest lap, but if a driver outside of that scores the fastest lap no point is given to anyone.
So to give a statistical spin on this, how many times since 2011 (which is 158 races) has the fastest lap been given to a driver outside of the top ten? Twelve. Roughly one or two a season. How much difference would the extra point be to the championship over the same period? In the Constructors’ Championship, absolutely nothing, not a single change. With the Drivers’ Championship? Three drivers would have improved; Bottas would have been third instead of fifth in 2018, Ricciardo would have been seventh instead of eighth in 2015 and Raikkonen would have been 11th instead of 12th in 2014.
The idea is basically pointless, it will change nothing, in 1950 a win would have given you 8 points and there were only single figures of races each year, an extra point here or there could actually do something. With the current format of 25 points, by the end of the season, everyone at the top is generally too far apart for a single point or two to even matter. Even if you make the fastest lap worth 10% of a win, rounded up, the 3 points that would give still does almost nothing, there were an additional three changes over the eight seasons and that’s it.
And one of the main reasons it’s pointless? In six of the eight seasons the champion achieved the most fastest laps, so the gap to the lead just gets bigger, championships can be won even earlier. There is simply no need for it and it won’t change anything of importance whatsoever. Now you could tell me that in previous seasons the fastest lap wasn’t worth anything so they wouldn’t have cared for it, and you’d be right. But the gap between 1st and 2nd at the end of the season has been well over 20+ points in six of the eight seasons.
Fastest laps since 2014.
2014 SFI (1) / Williams (2)
2016 McL (1) / STR (1) / SFI (1)
2017 SFI (1) / McL (1)
2018 Haas (1)
All 91 others were set by Mercedes, Ferrari & Redbull.#JustSaying#MsportXtra pic.twitter.com/Oz9umyPxrv
— #MsportXtra (@MsportXtra) March 11, 2019
The only real chance of anything being changed is if the midfield runners really start pushing for it, but if the gap between the top three teams and everyone else remains for 2019, there’s not much chance of that happening often enough to do anything. Since the turbo hybrid era began only nine fastest laps have been given to a team outside of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. They may be closer in 2019, they may not be, but the only difference this potentially could make is the odd change here or there in the midfield battles and that’s it.
The point is pointless.