Formula 1: Why a recent trend proves the need for a fundamental change

Formula 1 fans have been voting for the Driver of the Day after each race since 2016, yet it seems to be causing a stir this season.
Lando Norris, Formula 1
Lando Norris, Formula 1 / Jayce Illman/GettyImages

The Driver of the Day Award is typically given to the race winner or another driver who performs spectacularly in their own right, specifically one who makes up many places throughout a Formula 1 race. While it is a fan vote, inaccuracies are expected from time to time and sometimes a driver may undeservingly win it.

However, this season's Driver of the Day votes have taken a rather interesting turn. With McLaren's Lando Norris having taken his driving to another level this season, in combination with the much-improved McLaren, the British driver has put together a string of impressive performances.

But his popularity has resulted in him winning the award six times in the eight most recent races, when in reality, he did not deserve to win all of them.

The most notable instance of Norris winning the award when he simply should not have was in the recent Austrian Grand Prix.

Norris started from P2 on the grid and finished last due to a collision with Max Verstappen late in the race, as he was forced to retire his car. Despite making several divebomb attempts at overtaking the Dutchman, the 24-year-old was simply unable to get the overtake done.

Oddly enough, Norris received nearly one-quarter of the votes, 24.6% to be precise, whereas George Russell received a measly 6.7%, despite taking his first win of the season and the second of his Formula 1 career after driving a brilliant race.

This outcome added fuel to the belief that winning Driver of the Day has become more of a popularity contest than anything else.

What could be done to make the award more legitimate?

The first change could be to make this award not entirely determined by the fans. Perhaps the fan vote could contribute to about 50% of the award, and the other 50% could come from a pre-determined panel of Formula 1 experts who remain anonymous.

Another potential idea could be to devise a formula to see which driver truly had the best overall performance. This would take into account a driver’s starting grid position, finishing position, number of overtakes, overall positions gained, and points scored.

Next. Formula 1: Lando Norris reaction rooted deeper than Max Verstappen. Formula 1: Lando Norris reaction rooted deeper than Max Verstappen. dark

Making this award more mathematical and logically driven would certainly result in the correct driver receiving it more often than not, especially in comparison to the current opinionated method of voting.