Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What Happens to 13 Years of IndyCars Using the New F1 System

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.


And Now for CART/Champ Car


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...

3 comments:

Indy Racing League Maniac said...

If I recall correctly, it was Hornish and Wheldon in '06. Hornish won by the tiebreaker with Helio in third seperated by 2 points.

SandWedge said...

You are correct. In the F1 system (which is what all this stipulating was about) he still has a tiebreaker but with Helio instead of Wheldon.

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