Formula 1 is set to introduce a point for the fastest lap of every race starting with the Australian GP in 2019. The Formula 1 Working Group and Strategy Group have already approved this change for the 2019 season.
The FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) has approved this step also. The change will come into existence when by e-vote the Formula 1 Commission approves the rule change. Normally the Formula 1 Commission will approve first and the final approval will be given by the WMSC. As the e-vote could not be completed in time, the last step in the process has been reversed.
The extra point will be awarded only if the driver who sets the fastest lap also finishes in the top 10 in the race. Formula E has a similar rule already in place. The rule to award a point for the fastest lap of the race was in existence during the first ten years of the F1 world championship (1950-1959).
Felipe Massa Would Have Benefited In 2008 From This Rule Change
If such a rule had been in existence this decade, Felipe Massa would have won the world drivers’ championship in 2008. Massa was beaten by one point by Lewis Hamilton to the drivers’ title that season. Massa had three fastest laps to Hamilton’s one fastest lap. The two extra points the Brazilian would have secured because of this rule would have clinched him the championship that year.
In 1958, Mike Hawthorn pipped Sterling Moss to the tile by one point. The Ferrari driver scored two extra points as he had five fastest laps to Moss’s three fastest laps that season.
Formula 1 fans are usually reluctant to embrace such rule changes. In 2014, at the final race at Abu Dhabi all point-scoring finishers were awarded double-points. It did not make any difference to the ultimate result with Hamilton being crowned drivers’ champion. But the rule change was universally scorned and revoked for the next season.
Will this new rule change and extra point make a difference to the eventual outcome of the championship this year?