News and views on motorsports

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Indy Awards - Introduction

Looking at how some of the independent teams like Williams and Super Aguri have performed relative to their respective factory teams Toyota and Honda, I have decided to create a couple of purely hypothetical and hopefully fun awards for independent teams. Its sort of a fantasy grand prix challenge. Some of the reasons for doing this include:

1. I pay too much attention to the front runners and therefore creating this award focuses some of my attention to the midfield battle and the relative performances of the teams.
2. Its fun watching the independents beat their respective factory teams.
3. Its for my own amusement.
4. All the other blogs have all sorts of charts and statistics so I want a gimmick too ;)

So with that I shall go on to define an independent team. First, no we will not be following the FIA definitions of independent teams as stated in the Sporting Regulations. If this were the criteria, Ferrari would be an independent team rather than a manufacturer. So that's rubbish.

Second, an independent is a team that I deem to be independent. Yes, yes, shades of Max Mosley there but I have my reasons. The following teams are eligible for the awards:

1. Red Bull - Yes, they are well financed by Herr Mateschitz. But in spirit they are an independent team. And certainly they act like a free spirited racing team than corporate stiffs like Honda and Toyota. I fully expect Renault to give them engines equal to the works cars and its then an interesting battle of ingenuity between their respective chassis design teams.

2. Williams - A sad choice this one. Once upon a time, I would have classified this as the BMW factory team. With all the championships it has won in the past, it really ought to be compared to the frontrunners but Formula 1 like natural evolution favours the strong and Williams are anything but that these days. Still, they must be considered the favourites to take the awards.

3. Super Aguri - As far as I'm concerned these guys are heroes this season, in the mould of Minardi in seasons long gone. They are taken care by Honda but of course you wouldn't expect Honda to be too pleased about the customers beating the works machines. No reason to wonder why Aguri Suzuki is racing in Formula 1, he is simply a racer. As far as I'm concerned they are the closest thing these days to "Minardi Cool"-ness.

4. Toro Rosso - Their cars are designed by Adrian Newey just like the Red Bulls. However, one wonders if the budget is anywhere close to that of the Bulls. On top of that, they are using a Ferrari engine. And of all the engine suppliers, I'd imagine Ferrari are the worse. Nevertheless, this is the former Minardi team and I wish them all the best.

5. Spyker - Now by right the Squadron is a car manufacturer albeit a maker of very small volume, expensive cars. The fact of the matter is, these guys are not going to do a Super Aguri anytime soon, despite Mubadala money. And with their performances to date I'd say that in spirit they are an independent team. So they're eligible.

Some may argue that McLaren, whose shares are majority owned by private organisations should really be classified as an independent. But in actual fact, in spirit they are the Mercedes factory team. Also, Mercedes doesn't have any customers. Even if they did, McLaren would still be the works team and therefore doesn't qualify.

So what awards are on offer? These are:

1. The Colin Chapman Award for best independent team.
2. The Wag the Dog Award for the independent team that most often beats its respective factory team over the course of the season.

And now on to the rules.

Colin Chapman Award

Points will be given to eligible teams based on their finishing order. I've always preferred the old 9-6-4-3-2-1 points system. Therefore, the top independent finisher for each grand prix will be awarded 9 points. The second independent finisher will be awarded 6 points and so on. Points are awarded to drivers and the score of each driver is added to the team total.

A bonus point will be awarded for qualifying performance. Now, I'm no fan of the current Formula 1 qualifying formats, so I'll adopt the old one. The independent driver who gets the fastest time in all of qualifying (first, second or third session) will be awarded an additional bonus point. His/her point will be added to the team total as well.

A bonus point will be awarded for fastest lap during a race. The independent driver who drives the fastest lap of all independent teams will be awarded a bonus point. And his/her point will be added to the team total.

Simple right?

Wag The Dog Award

Here's where its a little more complicated. One point will be awarded to the independent driver for each respective factory team car that he or she beats during the course of the grand prix. Points will be awarded for performances during qualifying, the race finishing order and for race fastest laps.


In this case, the official FIA F1 qualifying result will be used. A point is awarded to a driver and his/her team for each respective factory team car that he/she beats in qualifying.


Qualifying order Mark Webber (RBR), Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), David Coulthard (RBR), Heikki Kovalainen (Renault).

Mark Webber - 2 points for beating 2 works Renaults.
David Coulthard - 1 point for beating 1 works Renault.
RBR Team Total - 3 points

Qualifying order Mark Webber (RBR), David Coulthard (RBR), Fisichella, Kovalainen.

Mark Webber - 2 points for beating 2 works Renaults.
David Coulthard - 2 points for beating 2 works Renaults.
RBR Team total - 4 points

Qualifying order Mark Webber (RBR), Fisichella, Kovalainen, Coulthard(RBR)

Mark Webber - 2 points for beating 2 works Renaults.
David Coulthard - 0 points for qualifying behind both works Renaults.
RBR Team toal - 2 points.


The FIA F1 official results will be used for classification purposes. Similar to qualifying, except that it now applies to the race. A point is awarded to the independent driver and his team for each respective factory car that he/she beats during the race. See the qualifying points above for examples. However, for race points the driver must have finished the race and be classified according to the official FIA results.

Fastest Lap

As in qualifying and race results above, a point is awarded to the independent driver and his / her team for achieving a fastest lap during the race that is quicker than each respective factory car's fastest race lap.

The Wag The Dog points for each grand prix will be the sum of qualifying, race and fastest lap points.

I'm not sure if this is all clear but if you follow the points after each race, it should all become clearer.

I'm not a lawyer obviously and I can't define this is perfect legal terms so hopefully it'll be clearer to you (if you're still following this) after you see the points after each race. Points are awarded for all races in the FIA F1 calendar.

First results coming up in the next post.


Keith said...

Cool idea - in fact I saw a similar thing on a forum last year you might be interested in:

Regarding the 'Colin Chapman Award' did you also name that for the actual Colin Chapman Cup that was won by Tyrrell in 1987?

Qwerty said...

Yes, you're right there. I was reminded of the 1987 season when the normally aspirated runners were given trophies for winning their class. However, I did not exactly recall the name of the trophies they were given.

Also, maybe because I miss the old Lotus team. But certainly Chapman and his team were once the most innovative of all the grand prix squads. And certainly independents like Williams and Red Bull will need that sort of ingenuity if they are ever to challenge for top honours.