A1GP: Can Carroll take the title for Ireland? Good question…

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarFriday, May 1st, 2009

 
 

Right, get your thinking hats on if you want to have any hope of understanding what’s happening with the A1GP season-ender at Brands Hatch this weekend.

The title’s going down to the final race and the points ramifications are mind-bogglingly complex – you’d likely need a degree in statistics plus another in probablility to work this lot out from scratch.

In lay terms it seems to go roughly like this: Switzerland probably, Ireland possibly, Portugal unlikely, Netherlands – no chance, mate.

But, if you want that expressed with a little more elegance and a lot of numbers, ifs and buts, here’s what the series calculates could happen.

Making sense of the points situation

Three teams are covered by just six points in the standings, which means that the A1GP championship will be decided in the final race of the season for the first time in its four-year history.

Switzerland leads the title race with 88 points, while Ireland has 86 and Portugal 82. If nations are tied on points at the end of the season, the number of victories will determine the champion. If that is the same, it is number of second places, then third places.

Because of the problems with chassis supply at the beginning of the season, each team is obliged to drop its worst result, thus allowing those who could not compete in the first race because they had no car to level the playing field.

This is what the ‘drop’ stats given below refer to. Switzerland is the only team that will drop actual points as opposed to a zero score.

The possible outcomes in detail

Switzerland – 88 points, four points to drop
Switzerland will win the title if all of the following happen: Ireland scores less than 3 points or Switzerland outscores Ireland by at least 2 points; Portugal scores less than 7 points or Portugal doesn’t outscore Switzerland by more than 2 points. If scores are tied Switzerland need to maintain its better tie-break results (presently Switzerland has four wins to Ireland’s three and Portugal’s one). Well, you did ask!
The series tries to summarise it more simply, saying: “If [Switzerland] were to win the title for the second year running, it would more than likely have to outscore Ireland by two points or more over the weekend and finish ahead of Portugal each time. if Switzerland had a bad weekend, scoring three points or less, it could still win the title by not actually outscoring Ireland. If that happened, Brands Hatch would become Switzerland’s worst event and those few points it did score would be dropped and it would still end the season on 88 points. Ireland would then have to have scored at least three points to overhaul it, or Portugal seven points to become champion. If they failed on this, Switzerland would still take the title.” Still following this? We are – just about!
Ireland – 86 points, zero to drop
Ireland will win the title if all of the following happen: they at least 3 points; they don’t concede more than 1 point to Switzerland; they don’t concede more than 4 points to Portugal. If scores are tied, Ireland needs to have better tie-break results (presently Switzerland has four wins to Ireland’s three, and Portugal’s one).
Summarised, this means Ireland could win the title if it simply finished ahead of Switzerland and Portugal in both races, assuming it scores reasonably highly. If Ireland scores three more points than Switzerland, and Portugal doesn’t come within four more points than Ireland, Ireland will become champion. However it will need to score a minimum of three points from the weekend to have a chance of becoming champion — despite having points to drop, Switzerland still has 88 points already on the board.
Portugal – 82 points, zero to drop
Portugal will win the title if all of the following happen: they score at least 7 points; they outscore Switzerland by at least 3 points; they outscore Ireland by at least 5 points.
The series says Portugal knows that it has the most to do, and must score at least seven points to win the title. It gets more than seven points on the board, it will then just need to outscore Ireland by five points, and Switzerland by three over the weekend to take the title. With only one victory this season, it cannot overhaul Switzerland (four wins) on any tie break and would need to win twice to have a chance against Ireland on a potential tie break (it would then go to amount of second places).
Netherlands – 66 points, six to drop
With only one event to go, A1 Team Netherlands is unable to win the title. Even if it was to score the maximum 27 points available at Brands Hatch, it could only end the season on 87 points, having dropped six as its worst event. Switzerland has already scored 88.

If you’ve got to this point and you’re still with us, go and make yourself a cup of tea – you’ve really earned it.

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