Being Number 1

In Formula 1 (no wait this is a crossover story come back) there are two different competitions going on the Drivers championship and the Constructors championship. And both are supposed to be equal. But everyone knows that really it is the driver’s championship that is most important.

The way that you can see that codified is that the number 1 is given to the driver who wins the drivers championship above whether he’s driving for the team that won the constructor’s championship. So if Alonso who currently races for Renault but is moving to McLaren wins the drivers championship and Renault win the constructors championship then he will have the number 1 on his McLaren next year. And to keep things neat his team-mate will have the number 2 even though there’s a good chance he’ll have never driven in a grand prix before. In this case the two Renault drivers would be number 3 and 4 (because other than the world champion it always goes in constructors championship order).

But what happens if as could still happen Michael Schumacher wins the Drivers championship. He won’t be racing next year. Well in this case they do something rather bizarre. To preserve the importance of the Number 1 they don’t give it to anyone, but to keep the evenness they use a 0. So if Michael wins the world championship and retires then whichever team wins the constructors championship will have a 0 and a 2.

It seems such an odd thing, but it’s exactly the kind of random crazy rules that make following formula 1 such a joy. You can think of the most impossibly bizarre situation and somebody will have already thought of it and made a rule about it. For example what happens if Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso get the same number of points? Well in that case the person who won the most races wins. But what if they have won the same number of races? Well then it is the person who came second the most number of times. It’s all kind of logical but at the same time kind of crazy. And that’s why I love it.

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