I’m a few days late to the discussion but still wanted to voice my opinion on this highly controversial format change Formula 1 has set forth. The consensus among many F1 fans is that it’s a gimmick and hurts the integrity of the series. If you have no clue what I’m even talking about, I’ll take a moment to enlighten you.
This past week, the F1 Strategy Group and the Formula One Commission met to discuss some changes that would be put in place in 2014 and 2015. The change that immediately became a hot topic all over social media was the decision to make points in the season finale worth twice as much as they would for any other race. For example, an F1 race winner usually accumulates 25 points but in the finale, the winner will actually receive 50 points. Their goal and I quote is to “maximize focus on the Championship until the end of the campaign.”
I see what F1 is trying to do here but as long as you have Sebastian Vettel on the track, you can award quadruple points for the final event and it still won’t make a difference. Seb could have actually sat on his couch eating ice cream for the first eight races of this past season and still have enough of a lead over the field to win the championship when it was all said and done.
A lot of Formula 1 fans are outraged by this new rule and believe it compromises the integrity of the series. Sorry to say it but there are few other issues that are compromising the integrity of the world’s most popular motorsport much more than this (but that’s a topic for another day). The other contingent of fans out there believes that this will spice up the show, add more drama and that it was a good decision by the powers that be.
Personally, I think they didn’t go far enough and no, I don’t mean they should be giving quadruple points for the finale. I think F1 is on the right track here with what they’re trying to do but went about it the wrong way. The idea is to make a certain race mean more so I built off of that concept and came up with a fairly intriguing format change that would be perfect for NASCAR.
NASCAR could take the winners of the Daytona 500, Coca Cola 600 and the Brickyard 400 and award them automatic chase berths as long as they remain inside the top twenty in points come Richmond. The races are perfectly spaced out with one being the season opener, another marking the one-third point of the season and the third race is just a few weeks before the commencement of the Chase.
If someone wins one of “the big three” but gets into the Chase by other means, they could be awarded six bonus points for those victories compared to the three that a driver would get for winning any other race in the regular season. These races that are already held in such high regard by the racing community would suddenly be kicked up a notch with a potential Chase berth on the line. Also, I don’t think I need to remind you what teams will do to earn a place in NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. In fact, the notorious “SpinGate” scandal epitomizes just how badly these teams want to make the Chase and the lengths they will go to do just that further proving my point.
Drivers won’t just try to win these races but will battle tooth and nail to take home the checkered flag by any means necessary. Implementing such a policy would be advantageous for the sport because it will create a lot of great publicity for NASCAR and obviously add some more excitement which is never a bad thing. It also gives new-found hope to teams back around 20th in the standings and the more people you have vying for Chase spots, the more captivating it’s going to be.
Is it a gimmick? Yes it is, but you shouldn’t care. Just because something can be considered a gimmick doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing. The integrity of the race and how it plays out is left intact. NASCAR would just be adding an extra incentive to win, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Nick DeGroot is a staff writer for Rant Sports NASCAR. Follow him on Twitter @ndegroot89