Double points for final race would have changed three World Champions in 20 years
Hamilton, Vettel & Schumacher would have all lost titles
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 10/12/13 11:59am
Felipe Massa would have been the 2008 World Champion under double points
Only three times in the last 20 years would the identity of Formula 1's World Champion have changed had the new double points allocation for the final grand prix of the season been in place.
As the sport continues to reverberate to the shock news delivered on Monday night that for the first time in history in 2014 the season finale will carry a greater points weighting than the season's other races, thoughts have inevitably turned to how history could have been different had the regulation been in place in previous years.
However, despite the change representing an unprecedented step for F1, since 1991 - the first year when all a driver's results in a season counted towards the Drivers' Championship - only the 2012, 2008 and 2003 championship fights would have had different outcomes had the points for the concluding round been doubled.
How F1 history would have been different
2012: Alonso World Champion.
Alonso 296 points, Vettel 289.
2008: Massa World Champion.
Massa 107 points, Hamilton 102.
2003: Raikkonen World Champion.
Raikkonen 99 points, Schumacher 94.
The most recent of those revisions would have resulted in Fernando Alonso and not reigning quadruple World Champion Sebastian Vettel clinching the crown in 2012. The Spaniard, who went into the Brazil finale 13 points down on his Red Bull rival, would have won the title by 296 points to 289 owing to the fact his second place finish in the race would have been worth 36 points as opposed to the normal 18, while Vettel would have only collected 16 points for sixth.
F1's other dramatic title decider of recent time, when Lewis Hamilton effectively clinched the crown on the final corner of the 2008 Brazilian GP, would also have had a different outcome with Felipe Massa, the day's race winner, picking up a bumper 20 points to beat his rival by five points.
Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, would now theoretically be a two-times World Champion and Michael Schumacher only a six-times champion as their 2003 Japan decider would have gone the Finn's way by five points instead of the German's by two.
Indeed that Suzuka race would have actually been a three-way showdown as Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya wouldn't have been knocked out of the running at the previous round in Indianapolis.
Double points in final GP?
Furthermore, what was already a record four-driver title decider at the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP would have been a five-way scrap as Jenson Button would also have remained in mathematical contention.
Although only three championships would have had a different outcome in the last two decades, the availability of double points at the final race would still have seen three further seasons at least go down to the wire as opposed to the penultimate round - 2009, 2005 and 2000. Had that been the case then only six Drivers' Championships since 1993 would have been settled with at least one race to spare.
Double points at the final race itself would also undoubtedly have the potential to shuffle the final order further down the drivers' standings. For example, Button, the winner of the 2012 Interlagos finale, would have vaulted from sixth to third thanks to a bumper 50-point haul.
In other revisionist changes of note, Alonso would have outscored the rookie Hamilton in their tumultuous single season at McLaren in 2007, while Ferrari and not Mercedes would have finished runner-up to Red Bull in this year's Constructors' Championship.