Jenks on...

Wins vs titles, 1978

Recently there has been a lot of dissatisfaction expressed over the points-scoring system for the world championship. With five or six potential winners in each race, as well as a couple of outsiders, it is perfectly feasible for a driver to become world champion without ever winning a race. How you view this depends on what you think the object of the exercise is; either you view each event as a race to be won, with the championship as the end result, or you view the end result as the objective, which you achieve by doing just sufficiently well in each round.

Now the odd thing is that the majority who write to me on this subject think that the end result of the world championship is the object of the exercise, but wherever I go, be it paddock, spectator enclosure, bar, tea shop or clubroom, a discussion on this subject will almost universally agree that the name of the game is winning motor races, and being world champion is the bonus at the end. If anyone does verbally suggest that each grand prix is merely a round in which to collect points for the big prize at the end of the season, he's Immediately attacked on all sides. Very few of the people who think each race is an event to be won take the trouble to write to express their views, but they are all quick to join a discussion group. This is probably because they are active enthusiasts rather than academic ones.

All this foregoing is merely a lead into the suggestion that is often made, that a point should be given for fastest lap in the race, as used to be done some years ago. The recent Argentine GP is a good example of why this is not a good idea. The results gave the fastest lap to Gilles Villeneuve, which no one really believed. Then it was said Patrick Depailler made fastest lap. Finally it was agreed (unofficially) that James Hunt had made the fastest lap.

Yours DSJ

Denis Jenkinson was our famous Continental Correspondent for more than 40 years