The championship would be in Jamie Whincup's hands already if V8 Supercars switched to the F1 points system
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RAIN MAN: Jamie Whincup is a hair's breadth away from another title, but if F1 scoring was in place the title would already be his
Jamie Whincup is a big chance of wrapping up his fourth V8 Supercars title at Winton this weekend, becoming the first driver to secure the title before the final round since Mark Skaife in 2002.
But things could be worse - if V8 Supercars used the same point-scoring system as Formula One (25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1), Whincup would already have won the title in Abu Dhabi, which would have been a major disappointment for everyone.
Here's how the top 10 in the championship currently looks:
1. Jamie Whincup 3360
2. Mark Winterbottom 3064
3. Craig Lowndes 2971
4. Will Davison 2779
5. Shane van Gisbergen 2434
6. Tim Slade 2319
7. Garth Tander 2232
8. Lee Holdsworth 1913
9. David Reynolds 1875
10. Fabian Coulthard 1843
Whincup only needs to outscore Winterbottom by four points this weekend and the title is his.
We all know the F1 points system would never be adopted by V8 Supercar administrators, as they have a duty to reward drivers further down the field so they can continue to attract sponsors. Plus the weighting would give far too much credence to three-race meetings while underplaying the value of endurance events.
If, however, we plug in the F1 system, the table looks very different, and not just because there are considerably fewer points awarded.
1. Jamie Whincup 480
2. Mark Winterbottom 369
3. Will Davison 363
4. Craig Lowndes 323
5. Shane van Gisbergen 166
6. Garth Tander 162
7. Tim Slade 134
8. Lee Holdsworth 99
9. Fabian Coulthard 95
10. David Reynolds 94
The big winner from the change is Davison, who is almost destined to finish fourth this year thanks to a horrendous run in the endurance events. He moves into third place ahead of Lowndes and remains in contention to finish the year in second place behind Whincup. Lowndes is the big loser in the top four, nearly two whole race meetings away from second place.
Tander is another big winner with his four podium finishes being more highly rewarded under the F1 system, lifting him into sixth position and within easy striking distance of Van Gisbergen in fifth (rather than the 202 points he currently has to make up). Slade, who has been more of a steady accumulator of points (with only two podium finishes) loses out and drops to seventh.
Of course, when you look outside the top 10, drivers that fail to finish consistently in the top 10 are penalised much more harshly. This boosts Triple Eight and FPR co-drivers, who are subsequently rated more highly than many championship mainstays.
Rick Kelly is currently 14th in the championship, but if we used the F1 system to award points he would be 19th behind Triple Eight co-drivers Sebastian Bourdais, Warren Luff and Paul Dumbrell.
Those most affected by the switch to an F1 system are the drivers who have hardly cracked it for a spot in the top 10.
Steven Johnson and Todd Kelly are 17th and 18th in the championship, but with just a handful of top 10 finishes between them they would have only scored three and eight points respectively. Todd Kelly would be 38th and Johnson would be 45th, ahead of only Christian Klein, Nicolas Minassian and Alex Davison of the drivers who have scored points.
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