With the F1 set to come back in less than a month, the bosses of F1 are constantly looking into different options to make sure the 2020 season can not only begin as it should, but also that it counts and it’s outcome is not determined by the pandemic itself.
Thats why F1 was taking into consideration the revival of the so-called “dropped scores” points system, to reduce the chance that the championship outcome will be dictated by a driver having to miss one or more races due to the pandemic.
The “dropped scores” points system, in its final form between 1984 and 1990 restricted how many race results per driver would be counted towards their total amount of points in the championship. During those years, it was drivers best 11 out of 16 races that were counted, which meant “dropping” the worst 5 results out of the equation. This type of point system has been introduced already with the start of the F1 championship in various forms, but it was withheld by the end of the 1990 season.
This rule has not been used ever since, and from the beginning of season of 1991 drivers kept all the points they scored during every race of the season. But despite considering a revival of this system in the upcoming season, in an interview with racefans.net the managing director Ross Brawn feared the teams would take advantage of it, going as far as “stopping the car” in certain circumstances.
As Brawn said: “They would never keep that in their pocket in case the driver was ill, they would use it when they had a bad result. If they had a reliability problem or they had a crash, they would say ‘well, that’s one of our results gone’. So I don’t know how you avoid that.” He added: “They would say, ‘we’re not going to score points this race, we might as well drop out and save the engine’. Or ‘we’re at the stage where the points we’re going to score in this race aren’t enough’. They’ll game it.”
Brawn admitted considering using this system in case of “specific exception”, meaning only a driver that would test positive for COVID-19 could make use of it, but for now the idea has been dropped. These types of possibilities being considered have to do with the fact that not so long ago, the chairman and chief executive of F1 Chase Carey openly admitted that a driver testing positive for the virus would not lead to cancelation of an event, and the racing would go as planned. As a response, McLaren and Mercedes F1 have an agreement that in case one of McLaren’s drivers would need to be replaced due to testing positive, a Mercedes F1 reserve driver could jump either in their place or in place at Mercedes.
Despite the seasons start with the race on the 5th of July 2020, there are still many unknowns in terms of how exactly F1 will operate considering the ongoing pandemic.