Top three finishers in next year's 19 Formula One races are set to be rewarded with a bigger points haul than ever before under plans put forward by the sport's governing body.
The FIA has confirmed that it will discuss a proposal today (Friday) to give points to the top ten finishers, but dramatically increase those awarded to the drivers appearing on the podium. The will be then put to in front of the World Motor Sport Council for final approval, along with, among other things, the 2010 F1 schedule.
A statement issued by the Paris-based governing body revealed that proposal was being considered to reflect the expected increase in gird sizes following the addition of three further two-car teams for 2010. The top three drivers would receive 25, 20 and 15 points respectively, with the remaining seven finishers being awarded 10-8-6-5-3-2-1 respectively. The only anomaly there would appear to be the one-point gap between sixth and seventh positions and the ensuing two-point margin between seventh and eighth.
"A strong mandate has been given to the Sporting Working Group, a sub-committee of the F1 Commission made up of the FIA and F1 teams, to develop detailed proposals to improve the show," the FIA statement confirmed, "These will take effect from the 2010 championship."
Had the new scoring system been implemented for 2009, and ignoring the obvious incentives for drivers to have possibly adjusted their race-time decisions to take account of the greater podium rewards, the top four in the championship would have remained unchanged - but Jenson Button would have clinched the title at the third-last round in Japan, having left Suzuka with a 52-point advantage over Sebastian Vettel with only 50 on the table for Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Incidentally, the Briton would have left Singapore with a 74-point margin with 75 remaining to be claimed.
Button's final margin of victory over his German opponent would have been 40 points, rather than eleven, with Brawn team-mate taking third overall, nine points ahead of Vettel's Red Bull Racing colleague Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton would have tallied 123 points after his late season charge, rather than the 49 he accrued under the current system.
Thursday's meeting of the revamped F1 Commission was the first since the signing of the 2009 Concorde Agreement, and the first with former Ferrari boss Jean Todt in attendance as FIA president. The gathering was chaired by Commission president Bernie Ecclestone and featured a mix of 'key championship stakeholders' including teams, promoters, suppliers and sponsors.
In addition to proposing the new points regime - which appears to sound the death knell for Ecclestone's controversial medals scheme - the Commission also agreed, in a 'one-off' move - to allow the Brawn team to change its chassis name from Brawn to Mercedes based on the German manufacturer's 'long-term involvement and commitment to F1'. The team will continue to receive prise money and other payments based on its historical performance.
Finally, both the FIA and Ecclestone's FOM have confirmed that they will 'further collaborate to enhance the communication and promotion of the championship to the media and its worldwide fanbase'.
The next meeting of the F1 Commission is scheduled for 10 March, when the new grand prix season kicks off in Bahrain.