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Wins to decide world champion in 2009

Formula 1's world champion in 2009 will be the driver with the most wins during the season, the FIA said on Tuesday.

The governing body also announced that it had rejected a proposal by the Formula One Teams' Association to change the current system. The proposal had been sent by FOTA to the FIA earlier this year.

The FIA announced the current 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system will stay in place, but confirmed the world champion will be the driver who wins the most races in a season.

The points system will be used for the remaining championship positions and in case two or more drivers win the same amount of races during a year.

The Constructors' Championship remains unaffected by the changes.

"The WMSC accepted the proposal from Formula One Management to award the drivers' championship to the driver who has won the most races during the season," said the FIA in a statement.

"If two or more drivers finish the season with the same number of wins, the title will be awarded to the driver with the most points, the allocation of points being based on the current 10, 8, 6 etc. system.

"The rest of the standings, from second to last place, will be decided by the current points system. There is no provision to award medals for first, second or third place. The Constructors' Championship is unaffected.

"The WMSC rejected the alternative proposal from the Formula One Teams' Association to change the points awarded to drivers finishing in first, second and third place to 12, 9 and 7 points respectively. "

FOTA had called for a points system overhaul after it conducted a survey in which fans asked for a greater gap between the points for first and second places to encourage drivers to go for victory.

"FOTA set out and conducted what has been a unique survey," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh earlier this month. "That audience survey told us that they wanted greater differentiation for winning and FOTA then considered a broad range of alternatives.

"Inevitably there is a balance to be struck on everything that you do. If you have a very large differentiation between first, second and third it is easy to envisage and to model that seasons may end sooner because championships will be determined sooner.

"And if we reflect on the last two championships they have been quite exciting climaxes and one would say on the face of it why would we want to change? What we felt within FOTA was having conducted a very thorough survey of audience views and advice we shouldn't ignore it.

"There were people who felt status quo was the best thing but I think what swung it was the opinion of the audience. We, as FOTA, have unanimously agreed that is what we want to see introduced this year. We now have to work with the commercial rights holder and with the FIA and seek their endorsement of that proposal."

When the idea for Ecclestone's medals system was aired earlier this year, the FIA produced a document detailing research it had conducted about the impact the concept would have on F1.

It suggested that there would have been 13 occasions when the world title would have been won by a different driver - although the most recent two occasions would have been last year, when Felipe Massa would have won, and in 1989 – when Ayrton Senna, not Alain Prost would have been champion.

Details of the document can be found here.

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