By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One is set to tweak the scoring system this season by awarding an extra point to the driver setting the fastest race lap.
An informed source told Reuters the outcome of an e-vote of the Formula One commission was expected on Monday and the change written into the regulations in time for next week’s opening race in Melbourne.
The move has been approved already by the governing FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, although not mentioned in a statement of decisions taken on Thursday.
Final approval is expected to be a formality.
The extra point would be available only if the driver setting the fastest lap also finished in the top 10 scoring positions.
Formula One awarded a point for the fastest lap over the first decade of its existence as a world championship from 1950-59.
That made all the difference in 1958, when Mike Hawthorn won the title for Ferrari to become the first British world champion.
Hawthorn won only one race to compatriot Stirling Moss’s four but had five fastest laps to his rival’s three.
Only the six best results of the season counted towards a driver’s points tally and only the top five drivers scored.
Without the fastest laps being taken into account the pair would have been tied on 38 points but four of Hawthorn’s were in races that counted.
Moss also famously asked stewards to reinstate his disqualified rival to second place at the Portuguese Grand Prix, a sporting gesture that cost him the championship but that he never regretted.
In modern times, Brazilian Felipe Massa would have been 2008 champion for Ferrari instead of Lewis Hamilton for McLaren on fastest laps.
They finished just a point apart after a nail-biting final race in Brazil but Massa had three fastest laps to Hamilton’s one, although strategy would doubtless have changed had an extra point also been available then.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)