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Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Mercedes boss Ross Brawn backs new F1 points system

We still have issues with the car - Brawn

By Sarah Holt

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn says he believes the new points system will encourage better racing in Formula 1.

A new spread of points for 2010 increases the difference between first and second place, which is now seven points rather than two last year.

"There is a much stronger incentive for the person in second place to try to beat the guy in front," Brawn said.

"The argument is if there's only two points, it's not such an incentive. If it's seven it's much more attractive."

Last year, the points went down to eighth place, with 10 points for a win, eight for second and six for third.

Following a meeting of rules think-tank the F1 Commission on Monday, that has now been changed to extend the points down to 10th place with places rewarded in a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 sequence.


It is the second change to the points system in as many months, after it was realised that a change to 25 points to a win and 20 for second place did not alter the percentage difference between first and second place.

Brawn, who is on the F1 Commission, said increasing the motivation of drivers to race for the lead was "the only reason behind" the latest shift.

He also backed the decision to force the drivers who make it into the top 10 qualifying shoot-out to start the race on the tyres they use in qualifying.

The ruling introduces an awkward strategy dilemma for teams - do they use soft tyres in qualifying to get a good grid position but potentially compromise their race pace when those tyres go off early; or do they use harder, more durable tyres that will make them qualify lower down the grid but in better shape in the race?

However, there remains a concern that there will be fewer pit stops, and therefore more predictable races, than in 2009 because the ideal strategy following the banning of in-race refuelling is most often likely to be to make only one stop for tyres.

Brawn admitted that he was "a little bit concerned about how the race strategies will work out" but said the teams had ultimately decided not to go through with a proposal to force drivers to make two tyre stops.

"There was mixed opinion on that," he said.

"The teams feel we should see how the racing goes and if we find we're not putting on the show we want, we'll have to reconsider.

Testing frustrating but useful - Button

"But we don't know enough yet to anticipate how the racing will be.

"We'll have to wait for a few more races before we look at changing things like that."

There has been huge excitement about the forthcoming season, with Michael Schumacher returning with Mercedes after three years in retirement, world champion Jenson Button joining Lewis Hamilton at McLaren and Fernando Alonso moving to Ferrari.

And Brawn agreed that it could be one of the best seasons for years.

"It has some fascinating elements - our two new drivers [Schumacher and Nico Rosberg], Fernando at Ferrari, Jenson at McLaren.

"There are some wonderful, fascinating elements; I think it's going to be a great season."

There has been speculation that another row over the legality of cars could erupt this season, following the 'double diffuser' controversy that surrounded his team in its former guise as Brawn last year and clouded the start of the 2009 season.

Brawn said: "I don't think it will be us this year. I'm not aware of that, to be honest. I haven't heard of that yet - let's wait and see."

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see also
Heidfeld named Mercedes reserve
04 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso sets pace on Ferrari debut
03 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
F1 changes points system for 2010
02 Feb 10 |  Formula 1

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