You may well have seen the Brit Pack Rankings on here and wondered what they are all about. To put it simply, they are a rankings system designed to assess British drivers over the period of a calendar year. They are not a measure of ability insofar as it is difficult to really see how one driver compares to another unless you put them in the same cars. Yet the rankings do provide a way of monitoring and assessing how capable drivers are.
This is done by the points weighting system. Looking at the chart below, you can see that racing categories are split into tiers. Those in the higher tiers – to put things simply – will score more points than those in the lower tiers. As such, whereas Lewis Hamilton can score 100 points for being the highest-placed Brit in Formula 1, Joe Bloggs can score just 12 points for being the highest-place Brit in British Formula 4. There are 17 different points-scoring levels (called TIERS), as can be seen below.
To ascertain the points a driver records is relatively straightforward with a spreadsheet. However it is easy to follow and the fairest system we have found, having experimented with dozens of them. To work out how many points a driver gets for a race is as thus:
1. We record the position they finish amongst the British drivers in the race.
2. We note the level of the series they are competing in to see what Brit Pack points they get. Points are awarded for Brits rankings in the race only (POINTS).
3. We note the overall position they finish in the race (OVERALL).
4. We divide the points they earn by the position they finish overall (POINTS divided by OVERALL).
As an example, take a made-up Formula 1 race where:
1. Lando Norris finishes 1st and George Russell 5th.
2. Lando, as highest-placed Brit, would score 100 points. George, as second-highest Brit, would receive 80.
3. We then divide those points by their overall position in the race. Lando would get (100/1=) 100 points, while George would get (80/5=) 16 points.
From this, their respective ranking points are added to their total for the season, which is then divided by the number of races they have taken part in over the year.
Got that? Trust me, it is the fairest, most accurate method I have come up with. However I will strive to improve it over time – although this is it for 2019 and I have made substantial changes compared to 2019, which you can read about below. If you have any suggestions, do hit me up via the contact form or via Twitter.
So what is the point? In short it is an opportunity to gauge how British born and registered drivers compare to each other. By awarding more points based on where they finish in a race, a driver can find themselves climbing up the standings relatively comfortably and will then get an idea of how they stand and compare to other British drivers.
It may well be that Lewis Hamilton wins easily – this is most likely, seeing as he is the only British racer in Formula 1. But there is nothing stopping another competitor – Sam Bird for example – competing in two different categories and racking up a healthy points total. If he is good enough to participate in two series such as Formula E and WEC, he is good enough to be ranked highly.
This is part of the fun of such a ranking system: to see how each Brit compares to the other. In terms of points, racers can score the following in each category (click to enlarge):
Improvements for 2019
The first year of the Brit Pack Driver Rankings came and went relatively quickly – or so it seemed. As the last 12 months progressed, a number of issues came up as I recorded all of the information that necessitated the need to give the ranking system a makeover. In this article, I will explain what these changes are and why they have come about.
Points awarded for entries in categories
Occasionally in 2018, there would be a driver who would take part in an unexpected series. Think Jamie Green and Oliver Jarvis in Brazilian Stockcars, or Gary Paffett in the IGTC/Spa 24 as examples of this. There was certainly some merit in their selection for such series but results may not have been as one would hope. As such, we are going to experiment this year with awarding points for entries in all series.
If a British driver is entered into a Formula 1 Grand Prix, they will get a flat, guaranteed 25 points. If they are entered for a Formula E race, they will receive 22 points to start the race weekend with. This goes all the way down through the various tiers and categories of the ranking system.
The bottom line is if a driver is good enough to be entered for an F1 Grand Prix, they are good enough to receive the points. It may be that this skewers the rankings massively, in which case we may exercise the right to scrap it. The first few weeks of the season will enable the impact of this to be assessed.
The race weighting system remains
As for 2018, the points a driver scores for their Brit Pack finishing position are then weighted, based on the tier of the series and their finishing position in the entire classification. More details of how this works can be found above.
More points available
If a British driver is the top performer in a Formula 1 race this season, he will now score 100 points, as opposed to 75 last season. This has been implemented primarily so that more tiers – and therefore more series – could be included in the ranking system. Points also go down further through the finishing positions of each race too, with most series now seeing the top ten + finishing British drivers now eligible for points. This should solve the issue from 2018 where a drivers in Brit-heavy races could well see no ranking points being scored, despite finishing a race.
Even if a driver does not finish in ‘the points’, they will still have the race entry points to take away from their weekend.
Some series have been moved up or down the tiers
Some series have proven to be worth more points than last year – and some less points. This is due to the calibre of the series and/or the quality of the entire driver line-up. DTM, for example, is now a Category 3 series to reflect the strength in depth of this manufacturer-supported competition. Another big moved is the Porsche Supercup, whose F1 support billing ensured a strong field throughout 2018 and looks to do the same again this year.
Formula 2 has been moved slightly lower than Formula E and Indycar as this reflects the strength of the latter two compared to F2, which tends to see more up-and-coming and – more importantly – more pay drivers that dilute the quality of the field. The myriad Formula 3 and Formula 4 series have also been spread far and wide across the tiers to reflect their perceived depth and status in 2019.
Should a series begin the season with a stronger/weaker field than 2018 (looking at Japanese Formula 3 here), it may well be moved a tier or two to reflect this once the final entry list for the season has been announced.
Showpiece races worth more points than the rest of their series
Macau Formula 3 is the pinnacle of junior single-seater racing. As such, it has its own status in the fourth tier of series. Other series that attract a higher status include the Nurburgring and Spa 24 hour races, while the likes of the Le Mans 24h, Daytona 24h and Indianapolis 500 will see points offered in the tier above their usual series tier.
More racing series included
Many more series have been included so many more British drivers can be ranked. Added for 2019 are: W-Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Super5000, Supercar Challenge, IMSA Prototype Challenge, Ginetta GT4 Challenge, Porsche Carrera Cup GB and the Ginetta Juniors.
Karting is included
In an effort to capture the rising talent from the grassroots of British motorsport, we have also decided to include CIK-FIA World and European karting championships from 2019 onwards.
Testing included – but only some testing
Official testing in Formula 1, Formula E, WEC LMP1 and DTM is included, albeit with points offered being significantly lower than those for actual racing in each category.
Following analysis of the official tests in these four series over the past five years, it was noted that drivers of ability tend to perform to a good standard in these tests. It is an honour for young (and old!) drivers to be selected for official tests too. Ask the likes of Paffett and Jake Dennis about this. The ‘pay-tester’ is less of a factor in top flight motor racing in recent series, especially when it comes to official testing sessions, which certainly hold more integrity than, say, ten years ago.
Of course, testing sessions do tend to see teams work on set-up, tyres or other factors and these may give results something of a skewered look. Again, analysis of overall testing results shows that those drivers of quality tend to rise towards the top.
Should an official test in any of these series be deemed not of sufficient quality throughout the field, they will not count towards the rankings. An example of this would be to compare the Formula E test in Saudi Arabia (2018) with the expected line-up for their Marrakech test in January 2019.
Pro categories score more points than Am categories
Another key change has been the separation of the various professional and amateur categories in each series. A prime example of this is in Blancpain GT, where the Pro categories are at a higher tier than their Pro-Am, Silver and Am categories. This will lend more weight towards professional drivers but it is our belief that this should always be the case anyway.