Formula 1 has confirmed that, starting with this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, the driver who posts the fastest lap of the race will be awarded a point.
The controversial move to award the fastest lap a race point has been rumoured for several weeks as a last minute change ahead of this season. Presented before the F1 Commission & Strategy Group on Monday, there was a unanimous vote to proceed with the move.
From now on, the driver who sets the fastest lap of the race will be awarded a point for doing so. This point will count towards both the Drivers’ & Constructor’s Championships. However, only the drivers who finish in the top ten of the race are eligible to score this point. This is to prevent drivers well outside the points from trying late race glory runs on the softest tyre and low fuel.
As an example, if Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won the Australian GP this weekend and scored fastest lap en route, he will score 26 points in total. However, if he set the same fastest laptime but finished P11, he will not score any points.
It’s not the first time fastest lap has been rewarded, but it is the first time in modern F1. From the championship’s formal inauguration in 1950, fastest lap of the race was given a point throughout the entirety of the first decade. The rule was changed for 1960 and, up until now, fastest lap has been just a statistic.
“Together with the FIA we have been committed to evaluating ideas and solutions that can improve the show whilst maintaining the integrity of our sport,” said Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Formula 1.
“We felt that the reintroduction, after sixty years, of a point for the driver of the fastest lap in the race goes in this direction. We have been considering this solution – which represents a response to detailed research carried out with thousands of our fans around the world – for a number of months.”
“How many times have we heard the drivers on the radio ask the team about who holds the fastest lap? Now it will no longer be only a matter of record and prestige, but there will be a concrete motivation that will make the final part of the race even more interesting. Sometimes it is useful to remind ourselves of the heritage of our sport to move forward.”
What are your thoughts on the introduction of this rule change?