Huge Max Verstappen F1 title confusion explained

Max Verstappen clinched his second F1 world championship amid huge confusion after his dominant victory at the Japanese Grand Prix. 
(L to R): Charles Leclerc (MON)
(L to R): Charles Leclerc (MON)

Verstappen won a chaotic, rain-shortened race by nearly 30 seconds thanks to a commanding performance, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finishing second on the road ahead of Sergio Perez

But Leclerc was handed a five-second time penalty after the chequered flag which demoted him to third, behind Perez. 

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Confusion followed as it was not immediately clear whether full points would be awarded given that only 29 of the scheduled 53 laps were completed. 

Sky Sports F1’s Johnny Herbert announced Verstappen as the 2022 world champion following the news of Leclerc’s penalty, but it was initially unclear as to how many points would be awarded. 

Even Verstappen was unsure upon being informed of his successful title defence, asking: "are you sure?"

The FIA made changes to the points structure in the event of races not being completed following last year’s farcical Belgian Grand Prix. 

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB18 takes the chequered flag at the end of the race. Formula 1 World
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB18 takes the chequered…

Under the new system, races that reach 25% distance but less than 50% would see the winner receive 13 points. 

If 50% or more of the race is completed but less than 75% - as was the case at the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix - than the winner would be awarded 19 points. 

Because of this, the initial assumption was that Verstappen would get 19 points for finishing first and not holding the fastest lap, with Perez collecting 14 for second and Leclerc 12 for third. 

In this circumstance, Verstappen would not have been crowned world champion and the 2022 title race would have moved on to the next race at the United States Grand Prix. 

However, F1’s governing body the FIA explained that reduced points are only applied in the event a suspended race cannot not be resumed. 

With full points awarded, Verstappen was officially crowned world champion for the second time with an unassailable 113-point advantage over Red Bull teammate Perez. 

“The rules regarding the reduced points allocation (article 6.5) only apply in the event of race suspension that cannot be resumed, and therefore full points are awarded and Max Verstappen is World Champion,” the FIA confirmed. 

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates with the team in parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates with the team…

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