Friday, December 31, 2010

Glory for teams: The Constructors’ World Championship

Although all drivers aim to win their own World Championship, they also have to keep an eye out for the title that their teams aim for – the Constructors’ World Championship.
The points are awarded on the same system as those awarded for the drivers’ championship (explained in the preceding section). The difference is that teams take home the points that their two drivers earn. If a team’s drivers finish first and second, for example, then the team scores 18 points. Some team bosses believe that winning this title is more prestigious than having a Formula One star win the drivers’ World Championship because the constructors’ title generally goes to the team that’s produced the best car. The constructors’ championship has more importance than just its prestige, however, for the following reasons:
_ The amount a team earns from the sport’s television rights is dependent on just where a team finishes in the title chase. The difference between positions, especially in the top five teams, can be several million dollars. _ Finishing higher up in the constructors’ championship means that teams are entitled to the best garages in the pit lane, which usually means more space and improved facilities.
_ A winning team is also allowed to take more freight free of charge to the race, which cuts down on costs.
It’s no wonder that the battle for positions in the constructors’ championship gets so intense at the end of the season.

Understanding the points system

The Formula One World Championship is not decided by a panel who award the title to the driver that they think has driven in the most beautiful manner. Formula One isn’t ice skating after all. Instead, the title goes to the driver who, at the end of the season, has earned the most points. Sometimes, as happened in 2002, drivers are able to clinch the World Championship well before the end of the season because they have such a lead in the title chase that no other driver can mathematically catch them up, even if they finished last in those races or even did not start them at all. A lot of times, however, the championship can go down to the final race of the season. It can be very exciting when a whole year’s efforts in going for the title are decided in one race – especially if a few drivers are able to win the title.
The current points system was put in place at the start of the 2003 season in a bid to make it more difficult for a driver to run away with the title chase if he had a dominant car. This new system also helps teams further down the field to score points, making it easier for them to attract sponsorship and stay in business.
Here is a breakdown of how points are awarded for each place. There are no points awarded for ninth place or lower.

Winning the F1 Championship

Although every driver wants to win races, the aim for all of them is to go for World Championship glory. That is why, at various points of the season, drivers are willing to take it steady to guarantee the points for second place rather than go all out for victory and risk coming away with a dented car and no points at all.
In the past, some drivers would be helped by their team mates to make sure that they built up as big a lead as possible in the World Championship. Sometimes, for example, a team mate in the lead would pull over to make sure that the other team mate won. Or a team mate with the faster car would hold back and defend second place from a rival to ensure that his team mate with the slower car took the victory. These pre-arranged agreements to let one fellow win were called team orders.
From the start of the 2003 season, however, team orders were banned in the sport. This ban was the result of a series of controversies in the 2002 World Championship when the Ferrari team used team orders even though it was absolutely dominant and not really threatened by any other team. Such a use of team orders took away much of the drama of the sport, and the sport’s rulers felt that it contributed to a falling interest in Formula One – even though the Ferrari team was clearly within its rights to do what it wanted on the track.