I have just read Paul T Hezzell-Moody’s letter in your January issue, expressing the view that the World Championship should be based on number of wins rather than points. He is not the first person to express this view, but he and all the previous exponents have not explained why a wins system is superior to a points system, other than putting forward simplicity, fairness and ease of understanding. These are all desirable but not fundamental reasons for changing the system.
The reason for change is that a points system is intellectually untenable. It purports to establish quantative relationships between placings, when such relationships do not exist. Why is second place worth two-thirds of first place? Why is third place worth two-thirds of second place? And so on. Go for a walk down the pit lane, and ask the drivers whether they would prefer to accumulate eighteen points by two wins, or three second places (those drivers who would be happy with eighteen points by any means at all will be disqualified as informal voters).
The win system is tenable, since it does not set up these quantative relationships, but is based on the primacy of a win. As Paul H-M says, when two (or three or more) drivers have the same number of wins, the number of second places breaks a tie. If they have the same number of second places, count the number of third places. You can count down as far as may be needed to break the tie. Merit does not necessarily vanish after sixth place.
But I suppose this discussion is likely to get us into trouble. If M.Balestre says that second place is worth two-thirds of a win, then we shall all have to apologise to him for daring to disagree.