Formula 1 Racing

Could F1 have NASCAR-style play-offs one day? ‘We’re not quite at that point’ · RaceFans

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Losail International Circuit, 2023

The Formula 1 championship fight has only been decided at the final race once in the past seven seasons.

With first Mercedes holding the upper hand among the teams, then Red Bull, the chances of the championship going down to the wire have been slim to begin with in recent years. On top of that, with the calendar growing to an unprecedented 24 races this year, plus more points being given out for the six sprint races, the likelihood of the title fight ending before the final race in any year has risen.

So could Liberty Media, in its quest to enhance the spectacle of the series, introduce a format which would see the championship decided at the final race every year? ‘Play-offs’ such as these are common in other sports.

The most well-known of these in motor racing are the NASCAR play-offs. These were originally known as the Chase for the Cup when it was introduced 10 years ago, but the essential idea remains the same: Once a certain point is reached, a leading group of drivers enter a tournament where each is progressively eliminated until the final race where the champion is crowned.

Last year’s F1 title fight ended with six grands prix left

From a sporting point of view the system has an obvious downside: It increases the likelihood the champion will not be the driver who has the best results over a season. But the idea of ensuring the drivers’ championship goes down to the final race every year – eradicating ‘dead rubber’ races – may be seen by Liberty as a more entertaining format.

Similar play-off systems are already used in other sports, such as baseball. Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei was asked this week whether they could be adopted for F1 as well, and his response indicated that while it isn’t on the table at the moment, it may be only a matter of time.

“I don’t think we’re quite to that point,” Maffei told the official F1 website. “I think one of the great things about this sport – which you actually have in baseball as well and not in every sport, I think – is the fact we spend the season, we crown a world champion at the end. That is a huge win, I think, in a lot of peoples’ minds.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

But Maffei pointed out that even a long-established sport such as baseball had altered its rules with a view to improving the spectacle.

Greg Maffei
Maffei says Liberty are paying attention to what fans want

“Major League Baseball is a place with a ton of tradition, proud…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at RaceFans…