Conrod, Straight: Issue 3
9/12/2005 18:44 (Michael Shaw) -
For this, the third issue of Conrod, Straight, I thought Iíd expand on a subject Iíd been discussing on the forums; Points.
There has been an argument going for years about the points systems used in V8 Supercars. The current system, and next yearís too, is under fire for numerous reasons, the most obvious being dropping your worst round. Iíve never been a fan of dropping your worst round, and Iím tempted to say that Mark Skaife probably isnít either after losing the championship to Jim Richards in 1991 (Skaife was ahead on total points).
Itís very difficult to come up with a points system for V8 Supercars. The most obvious problem is the variable number of races per round. As you all know, the V8 Supercar rounds can have 1, 2 or 3 races. Very few categories in the world have this type of setup. The general consensus is one race per round (e.g. CART) or two races per round, or alternatively 2 rounds per race meeting (e.g. BTCC).
This means that there are three choices. There can either be a set number of points per round (divided by the number of races), a set number of points per race (no matter how long the race or how many races per round) or a variable number of points per race depending on race length. This last option is extremely confusing and has already been tried back in 2000 and 2001.
AVESCO have simplified the points system in an attempt to make it easier to understand and also in the hope of making the championship closer. It has, seemingly, worked in 2005. Unfortunately, in reality it wasnít the points that delivered this yearís close result. What made the championship closer is the results of each race. The front-runners have all made mistakes, bringing them back to the field, in championship terms.
If one driver wins many races and rarely, if ever, has a bad round then they will win the championship and do it easily. Formula 1 has shown this by Fernando Alonso performing very well at virtually every race, while Kimi Raikkonen had the faster but unreliable car. The result was Fernando winning the World Championship. A similar situation occurred in V8 Supercars in 2001.
Mark Skaife dominated the 2001 season. 9 race wins, 4 round wins and a total of 20 podiums from 30 races. No points system can compete with those results, no matter how well designed.
For those that havenít already guessed, I have devised a new points system. I believe it will be able to keep the championship as close as possible, allow a small amount of leeway for poor results and is capable of coping with the multi-race formats.
The Conrod Points System (CPS, pun not intended) is as follows (divide by the number of races per round for each race):
As can be seen, there are larger gaps towards the front of the field and only points for the first 15 places. If a driver finishes 16th or lower in a race, they get no points.
To show how the CPS works, I have taken the 2001 season and applied it to the results (click here for results spreadsheet). I must admit that I have a reason for using 2001 as my example. It was the most recent championship for which I had a copy of race results.
I have not removed any point penalties applied over the course of the season as they may have been different under this system. I will also admit that 2001 is probably a poor choice as Skaife wins the championship by a greater margin, as expressed as a percentage.
Looking at the positions of each driver compared to the original points, there arenít many changes for most of the contenders. Most of the larger positional changes, of more than 3 or 4 places, happen toward the back.
I believe this system to be fairer and more likely to keep the field together over the course of a season. Thatís not to say the 2006 points system wonít be able to do this but it is adding a small amount of complexity to what was a simple set up.
Donít run away yet and hail this miraculous new points system as the best thing since sliced bread.
I applied the 2005 points system to the 2001 results. Hey presto, a closer championship. Double points helped Skaife enormously.
Finally, I shall apologise for the delay in getting this issue out to everyone. The reason was that I was compiling the results for 2005 into a format I could use (click here to see the results).
I would now like to congratulate Craig Lowndes on his magnificent championship victory. Thatís right, according to the CPS Lowndes would have won 2005. Ingall would have been a mere third with Ambrose taking second. Both Ellery and Murphy broke into the top 10.
The championship still would not have been over until the final round, especially with Lowndes receiving his drive-through penalty. On the other hand, Lowndes would also have had an 80-odd point gap over Ambrose coming into that final race and therefore would have already won the championship.
The moral of this story is that no points system can be, nor ever will be perfect. I enjoyed playing around with possible scenarios, so it wasnít all bad. It also shows that itís not as easy as it seems to improve the V8 Supercar points system.
Release Date: 9/12/2004