Best Season in F1 History – Scoring System

The scoring system we have adopted is inevitably somewhat subjective.  In general the following principals have been adopted.

  • Roughly 40%-50% of all seasons earn some level of points for a given factor, although this will vary based on factor specifics
  • Points are awarded to ranked groups of seasons according to the table below. Only the number of levels required to accomodate 40%-50% of seasons are used on any given factor
  • Since Factor 5 (Smallest average delta in top 10 qualifying times) is the only factor without full season data we have treated it a little differently.  Seasons aren’t grouped to give points to the top 40%-50% as in other factors.  Instead the seasons are simply ranked and the top seasons get points according to the points table below.
  • All factors are weighted equally, except Factor 8 (Highest number of drivers who could have won the Championship in the last race).  Any season that managed to stay alive until the end to create a nail-biting finale deserves extra credit in our books.  The powers that be seem to agree with us judging by Bernie’s (admittedly ill-conceived) decision to award double points for the final race in 2014.  Although we think in this case Bernie was bonkers (the move was quickly reversed for the 2015 season after uproar from fans), we’re going to go ahead and award double points to Factor 8…    ’cause we like it.
Group Rank Factor Points
1 10
2 8
3 6
4 4
5 2
6 1

Adjusting for number of races per season
The number of races per season increased fairly sharply from 7 in 1950 to 17 in 1977 before stabilising for the next quarter of a century. The last decade or so has seen a further increase in the number of races as F1 management attempts to maximise revenues from the sport. There is ultimately a ceiling on the number of races given the need to physically transport the teams and equipment around the world to compete, although there are 52 weeks in a year and it is not clear exactly where the end point will be.

Initially we decided it was only fair to adjust our stats for the number of races in a season in order to standardise the results. For example it’s hard for 1950 to compete with 1982’s 11 unique race winners when there were only 7 races held in the season. In the end we decided that the raw stats were preferable for a number of reasons. Firstly, they’re just plain simpler – and in general simple is good. As Einstein said, an explanation should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Secondly, if we decided to normalise the results we would probably have needed to introduce another factor based on the number of races in the season on the assumption that for most fans, more races is better than less. So rather than adding complication by normalising and then reducing the impact of the normalisation by adding another factor that worked in the opposite direction, we decided to keep it clean and let the raw numbers tell the story.