The International Automobile Federation (FIA), which annually confers world drivers' and world constructors' championships in Formula One, issued a terse statement Friday to say the points system adopted Tuesday for the 2009 season might change again. The season starts March 29 in Australia.
The rules-making body of the FIA, the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) rejected a points proposal made by Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), the body composed of team principals. The Council approved a plan that modified a proposal by Bernie Ecclestone, whose Formula One Management runs the commercial side of the sport. Ecclestone wanted to award gold, silver and bronze medals to race finishers as a means to encourage competition. Lewis Hamilton won last year's driving title, 98 points to 97, over Felipe Massa, who amassed more race victories, six to five. The Council approved a scheme to award the driving title to winner of the most races. At the moment, the next world champion could be a driver who wins the most races but does not earn the most points. Critics of the scheme say it fails to reward consistency.
FOTA issued a statement Friday questioning the validity of the FIA decision because teams had not agreed. The FOTA proposal, the statement said, was based on a Web-based global fan survey. Since its creation last year, the teams association has expressed strong wishes to consider fan interests in the sport.
Per the FIA: "On March 17, the FIA World Motor Sport Council unanimously rejected FOTA's proposed amendment to the points system for the Formula One Drivers' Championship. The "winner-takes-all" proposal made by the commercial rights holder (who had been told that the teams were in favor) was then approved. If, for any reason, the Formula One teams do not now agree with the new system, its implementation will be deferred until 2010."
The FOTA plan would have awarded 12 points to race winners with a three-point gap to runners-up instead of the current 10 to race winners and eight to runners-up.
Per the teams association: "FOTA had made a proposal that was carefully based on the results of a global audience survey, which allowed listening to preferences of the public, and all the teams firmly believe that these indications should be properly taken into account.
"The amendment to the sporting regulations proposed by the World Motorsport Council was not performed in accordance with the procedure provided for by Appendix 5 of the Sporting Regulations and, as per the provisions of the article 199 of the FIA International Sporting Code, it is too late for FIA to impose a change for the 2009 season that has not obtained the unanimous agreement of all the competitors properly entered into the 2009 Formula One Championship.
"Since the change to the scoring system unanimously agreed by the teams and proposed to FIA did not receive approval of the WMSC, no change can occur in 2009, and the teams wish to reaffirm their willingness to collaborate with the FIA in order to jointly define a new point system for the 2010 season within a comprehensive set of measures aimed at further stimulating the attractiveness of the F1 sport."
Drivers including Hamilton have spoken out against the adopted points plan.
The constructors' points scheme did not change.