The new Formula One points system due to be introduced next year will be adopted by the World Rally Championship (WRC) and the German Touring Car Championship (DTM). Formerly ten points for a win, six for second, four for third and three, two, one for fourth, fifth and sixth, the points allocation will now benefit the top eight finishers. Victory will still gain ten points but second will now earn eight, six points for third and five down to one for the rest of the top eight.
The Rallies Commission has agreed to the new system and just needs the formal approval of the FIA. The DTM changed its points system once already, at the beginning of 2002, to fall into line with Formula One and has now also switched to the new allocation. Points for the qualification race remain the same. (3,2,1.)
While DTM has been a close fought championship, the WRC recently came under criticism for heading in the same direction of F1; having too big a gap between competitors at the top of the standings. Marcus Gronholm won the WRC title with two races still to go, which does not seem much compared to Michael Schumacher winning the F1 title halfway through the season. Abt Sportsline's Laurent Aiello was 21 points clear by round six of the DTM championship this year but it still took him another three races to take the title.
While the new points system won't make any difference to the performance of those at the front, it should make the championships a closer run fight. Ferrari won the 2002 F1 Constructors' championship with more points than the rest of the teams put together -- a situation that many found unacceptable. Ferrari is still tipped for another title next year but hopefully it won't be such a walkover.
Schumacher finished the F1 season 67 points clear; Gronholm had a forty point advantage at the end of the WRC season. That kind of result is unlikely to be repeated in future. Aiello taking the DTM title at the penultimate round saw him finish the season a mere six points ahead. Compared to the other two series' that's a very close fought battle -- with the new system it looks set to get even closer.