After 2008’s final corner all but decided who would be the 2008 Drivers Champion, the FIA decided to change the 2009 regulations in regards to how the drivers’ championship is awarded.
For 2009, the points system remains the same as it was for the 2008 season – but it is no longer the primary factor in determining a champion. Instead, the driver with the most race wins in a given season wins the championship. If a tie should occur, then a victor will be named based on the number of points accumulated over the season.
The change comes after last year’s interesting finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton passed Timo Glock to secure fifth place and the drivers’ championship on the very last corner of the race. Felipe Massa drove his entire cool-down lap believing he had won the championship. If the championship would have been decided by wins last year, Massa’s assumption would have been correct.
The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council accepted the proposal for the new system from Formula 1 management at a meeting in Paris on Tuesday. An alternative proposal to change the points system and still determine the championship based on cumulative points was rejected. Under the proposed points system, finishing first would count for 12 points, second place would be good for 9, and third place would yield 7.
Source: Official Formula 1 Website