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The way points are scored in Formula 1 seems complicated but it’s really not. Basically, drivers and race teams get rewarded for a) finishing closer to the front, and b) driving the fastest lap in a race. After that, it’s just a matter of sorting out exactly how those points are allocated. The little guide below will help!
How Do You Score Points in Formula 1?
There are three ways to score points in Formula 1 racing: By finishing in the top 10 of a Grand Prix, by recording the fastest lap in a Grand Prix, or by finishing in the top 8 of a Sprint race, which are only scheduled a few times a year on the Formula 1 calendar.
Only 20 cars start each F1 race as of the 2023 season, and only 10 may score points in a race, so that’s how many finishing positions we’ll account for. Since the top 10 drivers all get points, winning each race isn’t essential to win a season championship.
Simply recording the most wins throughout the season does not guarantee victory over the course of a season as other drivers or teams may score more consistently. Here’s how the points are awarded:
- First: 25 points
- Second: 18 points
- Third: 15 points
- Fourth: 12 points
- Fifth: 10 points
- Sixth: 8 points
- Seventh: 6 points
- Eighth: 4 points
- Ninth: 2 points
- Tenth: 2 points
In each race, points are awarded to individual drivers and accrue to the team. For example, let’s say Charles Leclerc from Ferrari were to finish first in a race; he’d get 25 points for that towards the World Drivers Championship.
If his teammate, Carlos Sainz, were to finish sixth in the same race, he’d get eight points. Add the driver points together and you get 33 points — that’s how many Ferrari would earn towards the World Constructors Championship.
How Do You Score F1 Points For Fastest Lap Time?
For each Grand Prix, one point is also awarded to the driver with the fastest lap time. Again, these points accrue to the team. So, if Lewis Hamilton were to record the fastest lap in a race, he would get a point in the Drivers Championship, and Mercedes would get a point in the Constructors Championship. Here are the fastest laps recorded at each stop on the 2022 F1 calendar:
|Saudi Arabia||Charles Leclerc||FERRARI||1:31.634|
|Emilia Romagna||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING RBPT||1:18.446|
|Miami||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING RBPT||1:31.361|
|Spain||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING RBPT||1:24.108|
|Monaco||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES||1:14.693|
|Azerbaijan||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING RBPT||1:46.046|
|Great Britain||Lewis Hamilton||MERCEDES||1:30.510|
|Austria||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING RBPT||1:07.275|
|Belgium||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING RBPT||1:49.354|
|Netherlands||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING RBPT||1:13.652|
|Italy||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING RBPT||1:24.030|
|Japan||Zhou Guanyu||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||1:44.411|
|United States||George Russell||MERCEDES||1:38.788|
|Abu Dhabi||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES||1:28.391|
What Are F1 Sprint Races And How Do You Score Points?
F1 Sprint races are mini-races that happen the day before the full Grand Prix. Sprint races were introduced by FIA, the governing body of F1 motorsport, in 2019. The idea of sprint races is to get some variation into typical race weekend schedules, while also allowing both drivers and teams to earn extra points towards the championship.
The top eight drivers earn eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one point, respectively towards the Drivers Championship, while the team will earn extra points towards the Constructors Championship. Here’s how points were awarded at the Sprint race on the weekend of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku in 2023:
|1||11||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT||17||33:17.667||8|
|3||1||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT||17||+5.065s||6|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||17||+11.613s||3|
|8||18||Lance Stroll||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||17||+18.417s||1|
So in this case, Perez, Leclerc, Verstappen, Russell, Sainz, Alonso, Hamilton, and Stroll all earned individual points toward the Drivers Championship, while Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin all earned points toward the Constructors Championship.
F1 Drivers Championship vs. Constructors Championship
Each F1 season, the Drivers Championship is won by the individual driver who scores the most points over the course of an entire season. Here’s how the season played out in 2022 when Dutchman Max Verstappen won the Drivers Championship for the first time:
|1||Max Verstappen||NED||RED BULL RACING RBPT||454|
|3||Sergio Perez||MEX||RED BULL RACING RBPT||305|
|7||Lando Norris||GBR||MCLAREN MERCEDES||122|
|8||Esteban Ocon||FRA||ALPINE RENAULT||92|
|9||Fernando Alonso||ESP||ALPINE RENAULT||81|
|10||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||49|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||MCLAREN MERCEDES||37|
|12||Sebastian Vettel||GER||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||37|
|13||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||HAAS FERRARI||25|
|14||Pierre Gasly||FRA||ALPHATAURI RBPT||23|
|15||Lance Stroll||CAN||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||18|
|16||Mick Schumacher||GER||HAAS FERRARI||12|
|17||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||ALPHATAURI RBPT||12|
|18||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||6|
|19||Alexander Albon||THA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||4|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||2|
|21||Nyck De Vries||NED||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||2|
|22||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||0|
The Constructors Championship is won by the team whose drivers score the most collective points over the course of a season. Here’s how the points added up in 2021 when Mercedes won the championship for the eighth year in a row (2014-2021):
|2||RED BULL RACING HONDA||585.5|
|7||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||77|
|9||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||13|
What Was the Closest F1 Championship?
The 2007 season was the closest finish in F1 Drivers Championship history with three drivers, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, all vying for the title going into the last race of the season in Brazil. Hamilton had car problems and finished seventh. Alonso was third, while Raikkonen took P1 to finish with 110 points – one more than both Alonso and Hamilton – and win the season’s Driver’s championship in great style.
The most dominant season in Constructors Championship history came in 2016 when the Mercedes driver duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton led the team to a superb 765 points on the year, clinching the championship by the 17th race. Other dominant seasons in the Constructors Championship include McLaren in 1988 with the first 100+ point margin of victory, and Red Bull’s 200+ point margin of victory in 2022 when the championship was clinched in race 19 of 22.
Are Points Ever Not Awarded For An F1 Race?
For every official race, points are awarded. As of 2022 though, a new points system has been introduced for races halted during the Grand Prix due to an incident, bad weather, or a situation where a race can’t go ahead.
This was a reaction to the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix, where the race was canceled after two laps because of torrential rain. In that case, half of the normal points were awarded. The new scoring system for races that are shortened is as follows:
- No points will be awarded unless two fulls laps have been completed under the green flag
- Points will be awarded on a 6–4–3–2–1 basis to the top five if less than 25% of the race is completed
- Points will be awarded on a 13–10–8–6–5–4–3–2–1 basis to the top nine if between 25% and 50% of the race is completed
- Points will be awarded on a 19–14–12–9–8–6–5–3–2–1 basis to the top 10 if 50% to 75% percent of the race is completed.
- If more than 75% of the scheduled race distance is completed, then full points will be awarded to the top 10.
Which F1 Drivers and Teams Score the Most Points?
Here is a list of the most successful F1 drivers of all time, by the number of Drivers Championships they have won, and when:
|Michael Schumacher||7||1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004|
|Lewis Hamilton||2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020|
|Juan Manuel Fangio||5||1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957|
|Alain Prost||4||1985, 1986, 1989, 1993|
|Sebastian Vettel||2010, 2011, 2012, 2013|
|Jack Brabham||3||1959, 1960, 1966|
|Jackie Stewart||1969, 1971, 1973|
|Niki Lauda||1975, 1977, 1984|
|Nelson Piquet||1981, 1983, 1987|
|Ayrton Senna||1988, 1990, 1991|
|Alberto Ascari||2||1952, 1953|
|Graham Hill||1962, 1968|
|Jim Clark||1963, 1965|
|Emerson Fittipaldi||1972, 1974|
|Mika Häkkinen||1998, 1999|
|Fernando Alonso||2005, 2006|
|Max Verstappen||2021, 2022|
As you can see, a total of 34 individual drivers have won the World Drivers Championship since the F1’s inception in 1950. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton have each won seven championships, to tie for the most ever. Three Drivers champions are still racing as of 2023: Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, and 2022 champion, Max Verstappen.
Here is a list of the most successful F1 teams of all time, by the number of Constructors Championships they have won, and when:
|Ferrari||16||1961, 1964, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008|
|Williams||9||1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997|
|McLaren||8||1974, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998|
|Mercedes||2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021|
|Lotus||7||1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1978|
|Red Bull||5||2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2022|
As you can see, a total of 15 teams have won the World Constructors Championship since F1’s inception. Ferrari has the most titles with 16, but much of the last decade has been dominated by Mercedes and Red Bull. Several previous Constructors Champions, including Lotus and 2009 winner, Brawn, no longer participate in F1.
Who Are the Formula 1 Teams and Drivers In 2023?
There are 10 teams and 20 drivers contesting points in the 2023 Formula 1 season.
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen / Sergio Perez|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc / Carlos Sainz|
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton / George Russell|
|Alpine||Esteban Ocon / Pierre Gasly|
|McLaren||Lando Norris / Oscar Piastri|
|Aston Martin||Fernando Alonso / Lance Stroll|
|Alfa Romeo||Valtteri Bottas / Guanyu Zhou|
|Alpha Tauri||Yuki Tsunoda / Nyck de Vries|
|Haas||Kevin Magnussen / Nico Hülkenberg|
|Williams||Alex Albon / Logan Sargeant|
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