Formula 1 has approved an e-vote to award a bonus point for the fastest lap of every race starting with this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in 2019, with the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) ratifying the new rule.
Previously, the Formula 1 Working Group and Strategy Group had already approved this change for the 2019 season.
The extra point will be awarded only if the driver who sets the fastest lap also finishes in the top 10 in the race.
No point will be awarded if the fastest lap is set by a driver who finishes outside the final top 10 point-scoring positions.
The point will count towards both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles, potentially leading to intriguing strategies by the teams in the latter part of the races.
Not only will the drivers running in the point-scoring positions duel against each other to grab the extra point on offer, but also it could be strategic for a team to deny a rival driver getting the extra point for the fastest lap.
Re-Introduction of the Fastest Lap Point Due to Fan-Driven Insights says Ross Brawn
The rule to award a point for the fastest lap of the race was in existence during the first ten years of the Formula 1 world championship from 1950 to ’59.
In 1958, Mike Hawthorn pipped Sterling Moss to the title by one point, in part thanks to the Ferrari driver scoring extra points from his five fastest laps to Moss’s three that season.
F1 managing director Ross Brawn said that the new rule to award the bonus point was not just about honouring the past.
“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 Brawn.
“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.”