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FIA sticks to points ahead of first race

FORMULA One's governing body has confirmed that the 2009 drivers' championship will be decided by the same points system as last year rather than awarding it to the winner of most races.

The International Automobile Federation published the updated sporting regulations on its Website ( on Tuesday.

"The Formula One world championship driver's title will be awarded to the driver who has scored the highest number of points," they said.

The winner gets 10 points with the rest allocated in a sequence of 8-6-5-4-3-2-1.

The FIA had triggered a controversy last week when it announced that the title would go to the winner of most races, even if someone else scored more points. It then backtracked on Friday, agreeing to postpone any change to 2010 if teams did not agree with the new rule. The teams had accused the FIA of ignoring the rules by imposing a change without the unanimous agreement of all competitors entered in the championship.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa is pleased that the title will be decided by points, even though he would have been champion last year under the 'winner takes all' system.

"I'd say that the rule to assign the title to the driver who wins the most races is not correct," Brazilian Massa told Ferrari's website ( on Tuesday.

"A driver might win more races, but might be very inconsistent in his performance, not gaining many points. In this case I think he wouldn't deserve the title."

Massa lost last season's title by one point to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton but won six races to the Briton's five.

"I'm really not interested in the fact that with such a system I would have won the title last year. I'm interested in what's right for our sport," Massa added. "I think the best idea was the one presented by the teams, where the GP winner would have taken a lot more points than the second. If the FIA didn't like this idea I think it's better to remain with last year's system."

Hamilton is also ready to race his heart out in Sunday's Australian season-opener, even if his McLaren proves no match for Brawn GP.

The Briton made a winning start in Australia last year while Jenson Button, who scored points in only one of his 18 races for now-departed Honda in 2008, was not even remotely in the reckoning.

F1 has undergone a revolution since then, with new regulations leveling the playing field and testing times suggesting that Melbourne could see a sensational shake-up on the starting grid.

Button's Mercedes-powered Brawn GP team has been a revelation since it emerged from the remains of Honda. Rival team boss Frank Williams has already described the Brawn as "absurdly superior", while others such as Renault's Flavio Briatore have questioned its legality and threatened a protest.


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