In formula one racing, every fan has their favorite driver or drivers. It would be great to have your driver emerge as the top driver in each F1 season. The epitome of such a feat is winning the drivers’ championship. If you are new to F1, you might wonder; what is the F1 drivers’ championship?
Winning the championship is what every F1 driver aspires to do. It is the reason they invest in the sport and work so hard to succeed.
F1 drivers’ championship is the ultimate award a driver gets at the end of a season, by outscoring every other driver.
I will help you understand how this takes place and the point system that determines the actual driver who wins the championship.
When you look at the history of formula one, you will find drivers who have won the drivers’ championship. Some have won multiple world titles.
Like in every other sport, F1 drivers’ championship is a coveted prize. It brings tears of joy to those who win it.
On the other hand, it is heart-breaking to lose the championship, especially if the competition is close.
What is the F1 Drivers Championship?
In simple terms, the F1 drivers’ championship is the award presented by the FIA to the most successful driver over the course of an F1 season.
A driver achieves this by scoring the highest number of points, based on each Grand Prix results in that season.
It means that one can only be declared the F1 drivers champion if he has outscored all other drivers on points.
The winner of this title can be decided before the end of the season, or can at the season’s final race.
A case in point is the 2021 title which was decided on the last lap of the last race in Abu Dhabi.
While this turned out to be a controversial end to the season, it just shows how competitive the F1 drivers’ championship can be between drivers and teams.
How an F1 Driver Becomes a World Champion
So, how does an F1 driver become world champion?
That is a good question, and am very happy to explain this to you.
An F1 driver wins the World Championship when he scores the highest points in a season. He must be at a level that no other driver can outscore him.
For example, Max Verstappen won the championship in 2021 by finishing 8 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton with no race remaining.
It is also possible for a driver to win the championship before the end of a season.
This happens when it is no longer possible to mathematically lose to another driver on points, regardless of the outcome of the reaming races.
At the end of the F1 season, the FIA awards the drivers’ championship at an official prize giving ceremony.
In 2021, the FIA prize giving ceremony took place in Paris, but Mercedes boycotted the event due to the controversy of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
How Does the F1 World Championship Work?
To understand how F1 world championship works for the drivers, you should learn how the F1 drivers’ championship point system.
Basically, the driver who wins the championship is the driver with the most points.
When the number of points is the same, the winner becomes the driver who has had most race wins.
It is a situation that F1 found itself in during the 2021 battle for the drivers’ championship.
Both Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton arrived at the final race in Abu Dhabi tied on points. However, Max had more race wins than Hamilton.
It is good the title was later decided on the track, though in a controversial way.
Max won the last race at Yas Marina, and therefore won the championship with 395.5 points , eight more points than Hamilton who finished second on 387.5 points.
To win the drivers’ championship, a driver must get the most races from the individual grand prix races over the course of the formula one season.
F1 Drivers’ Point Allocation System
During each race, an F1 driver earns points by finishing a race in the top ten slots.
Points are awarded to drivers and teams based on where they finish in a race. The winner receives 25 points, the second-place finisher 18 points, with 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 points for positions 3 through 10, respectively.
The points won or earn are as follows;
- 1st – 25 points.
- 2nd – 18 points.
- 3rd – 15 points.
- 4th – 12 points.
- 5th – 10 points.
- 6th – 8 points.
- 7th – 6 points.
- 8th – 4 points.
- 9th – 2 points.
- 10th – 1 point.
Fastest Lap Point
One of the interesting things in this point system is the additional bonus point of the person who has the fastest lap.
It is a bonus point for the driver who records the fastest lap of the race.
However, for a driver to win this point, he must be within the top ten finishers. In 2021, the overall winner of the DHL Fastest Lap Award was Lewis Hamilton.
Those who finish outside top ten positions do not earn any point. It is the same for a driver who retires or does not finish a race.
In this regard, to win the drivers’ championship, you should win as many races and secure as many points as possible.
By the end of a season, if you have the highest number of points, you will be declared the world champion.
Benefits of Winning F1 World Championship
When an F1 driver wins the world championship, he accrues the following benefits.
- An Increase in Income.
- Prestige and Visibility.
- Sponsorship and Brand Deals
It is the dream of every driver on the grid to eventually win the championship. That inspires the driver to train, improve themselves and work hard each day.
3 Top Benefits of Winning Drivers’ Championship in F1
Winning is always great. It feels good and everyone like or admires winners.
In formula one, winning the drivers’ championship brings professional and commercial benefits.
If you have a dream of getting into formula one, and winning the world title, here are three benefits you should think about.
An Increase in Income.
It is common that F1 drivers earn money from racing. They earn huge salaries and bonuses from their teams.
An F1 driver can also generate income from sponsors. This is an important element of the money one can make as a formula one driver.
Winning the F1 drivers’ championship creates an opportunity for a driver to increase the income.
Besides the salary he earns from the team, he is also likely to earn more from bonuses as a result of the win.
Therefore, winning a championship title in formula one is going to earn a driver more. I am sure you would also like to earn more money.
Prestige and Visibility.
In formula one, visibility is very important to a team as well as a driver.
This is what an F1 driver gets from winning the world championship.
You might have seen it already, the buzz that follows the person who wins the championship in a season.
The title of ‘world champion’ has a nice ring to it, and one joins the group of very few drivers who have won the drivers’ championship.
Having the visibility is good for personal branding and marketing of the formula one driver.
It helps in positioning for future racing deals
Sponsorship and Brand Deals
Another benefit of winning the world championship for the formula one drivers is securing more sponsorship.
This could be for their own personal brands, or bringing more sponsors to their team.
All these increase or generate more money for the driver or their racing team. You should learn how formula one makes money to understand how this is important to the bottom line of the teams.
Related: Ways that Formula One Makes Money.
Sponsorship is one of the ways in which formula one generates money. Therefore, teams and drivers are always looking for more lucrative sponsorship deals.
Securing the drivers’ championship is a great way to increase a driver’s or team’s value in the eyes of the various brands.
Sponsors love associating with winning drivers or teams. This is evident from the brand deals and sponsorship that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes F1 team have been able to secure.
This can be attributed to the fact that Hamilton is a 7-time world champion, and Mercedes F1 team is now holding the record for winning 8 constructors’ championship.
Who Won F1 Drivers Championship 2020?
In 2020, the drivers’ championship was won by Lewis Hamilton, a driver for the Mercedes F1 team.
This season was challenging, to both drivers, and also the entire F1 fraternity.
As you might recall, a lot was going on in the world including travel restrictions. Fans were also not allowed to attend rallies.
Lewis Hamilton won the drivers’ championship in 2020 during the Turkish Grand Prix. He secured the championship in 20202 with three races to spare.
By that win, he became a seven-time world champion, equalling the record previously held by Michael Schumacher.
It is interesting to think that Hamilton might go ahead and win his eighth world championship.
Wouldn’t that be something?
In conclusion, the F1 drivers’ championship is the most prestigious title a driver can win in formula one.
A driver gets the bragging rights of having won the title, by defeating the other drivers on the grid.
It is a great moment of pride for an F1 driver, his family, the team and also his fans across the world.
When a driver secures the world championship, the team rewards him with extra bonus payments for that year.
Other team members and crew also get bonuses; given that formula one is a team sport. Each crew member has played a role in securing the title for the driver and the team.
While drivers’ championship has the prestige, the actual prize money in F1 is with the constructors’ championship.
In this particular season, I do hope that your favorite driver has a chance to win the drivers’ championship. I wish you all the best. Enjoy the sport.