THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

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MATTERS OF MOMENT
Continued from previous page

THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

The Drivers’ World Championship for F1 contenders is firmly established and it seems unlikely that it will go away, or that the conditions governing it are likely to be drastically changed. Yet, as A.H. pointed out in last month’s MOTOR SPORT, in his discourse about the reigning World Champion Nelson Piquet, it has not always been the most deserving driver who has won what is now Formula One’s highest accolade. So is it time to take another look at the rules?

Since this Championship was instituted in 1950, nineteen drivers have held the title — Fangio five times, Brabham and Stewart on three occasions, Ascari, Graham Hill, Clark, Fittipaldi and Lauda twice, and Farina, Hawthorn, Phil Hill, Surtees, Hulme, Rindt, Hunt, Andretti, Scheckter, Jones and Piquet once each, with Stirling Moss not in the list, which troubles his admirers. Perhaps this long list of Champions is undermining the objective? In boxing, a World Champion remains so as long as he is unbeaten. This may result in more than one Champion in a year, but conversely it may mean that an outstanding fighter can hold the highest accolade in his class for a long time. Should this be so in motor racing? It can be argued that some years the World Championship is a piece of cake, in others a hard, close-run achievement. If the Champion were to stand until surpassed, the points-system would need considerable revision, to compensate for years when there were fewer races than in others and so on, and perhaps practice laps should be discounted? The idea might be worth at least a discussion. And historians way be able to amuse themselves calculating for how long Farina’s original World Championship in the post-WW2 era would have lasted, if his position at the close of the 1950 season had had to be bettered before he lost his title, assuming a system of points-winning fair to such a ruling. As it is, Fangio stands out as having won the title on two more occasions than anyone else, with four World Championships gained in successive years. Would this great record have stood even longer, had the next to take the title been required to have bettered Fangio’s highest annual points-score? The answer seems to be, yes, from 1957 until 1960, when Brabham scored one more point — but this is only relevant if the then-existing points system is regarded as fair in such a respect. Food tor thought?

However, whether or not you set great store by the present annual World Drivers’ Championship, 1982 looks like seeing another great and intense season of Grand Prix racing, and we must say that if the lady spectators intend to go dressed like those shown on page 1763 of last month’s issue, it should be an especially exciting spectacle.

IDEA FOR 1982?

Are not developments like anti-lock braking and drive to all four wheels of a car, as contributions towards safer, accident-preventative motoring, worth more than safety-belts that protect only after the accident has happened?

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