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F1 winners and losers under new system
LONDON (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton would still be chasing his first Formula One crown instead of starting the season as youngest champion if the new system of deciding the title on race wins had been in force before this year.

The sport's governing body said on Tuesday this season's title would go to the driver who won most races, even if another scored more points over the 17-race championship starting in Australia next week.

In the case of a draw, total points rather than second places will decide the outcome.

Had that been the case last year, Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa would be lining up in Melbourne as champion on March 29.

Massa, who took six wins to Hamilton's five last year, is the most glaring recent example of a driver who lost out on points.

Had the system being in place since the first championship race in 1950, then applying it to the existing tallies and with the benefit of hindsight there would have been some other startling changes.

However that does make the unlikely assumption that drivers, knowing they could retire from a stack of races and still be champion if they won a handful, would not have altered their race strategy to go for victory at all costs rather than playing safe and banking points.

The late Brazilian Ayrton Senna would have been a quadruple champion instead of triple, with the extra championship coming at the expense of France's Alain Prost in 1989.

The professorial Prost, who retired in 1993 with four titles, would still have ended up with the same tally but two of them from different years.

In 1983 he won more races than Brazilian triple champion Nelson Piquet but lost out on points and then the same thing occurred the next year in his duel with Austrian Niki Lauda.

The Frenchman's 1986 title would have gone to Britain's Nigel Mansell however.


While Mansell was happy enough to be champion in 1992, that would have been his third title under the new system because Piquet pipped him on points in 1987 despite having only three wins to his Williams team mate's six.

Piquet, father of the current Renault driver of the same name, would have ended up with just one title -- the same as fellow triple champion Lauda.

However the Brazilian would have ended up completely empty-handed had the same results been subjected to a scheme proposed by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone to decide the championship on an Olympic-style medals system.

That would have seen the title go to the man with the most second places if there was a tie on gold medals, rather than reverting to the points tally. In that case Piquet would have also lost to Prost in 1981 when they both had three wins.

Under this year's arrangement, Britain's first world champion would have been Stirling Moss -- nowadays hailed as the greatest driver never to have won the title -- instead of the late Mike Hawthorn in 1958.

One other driver who retired without a title would have made the grade on race wins -- France's Didier Pironi instead of Finland's Keke Rosberg in 1982.

However Pironi would only have taken the title on a countback to third place finishes since he and Britain's John Watson both ended up with two wins and two second places apiece as well as finishing the season level on 39 points.

Rosberg took the title with just one win and 44 points.

Britain's Jim Clark would have been a four times champion, as well as the first Briton to successfully defend the title.

Compatriot John Surtees would not have become the only man to win titles on four wheels and two, with Clark beating him on wins in 1964. New Zealand's Denny Hulme would have missed out to Clark in 1967.

American Mario Andretti and Australian Alan Jones would each have won two titles instead of one, with the latter depriving South African Jody Scheckter of his success for Ferrari in 1979 and Andretti beating Lauda in 1977.

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