Toyota Racing Series 2020 recap

It was a close one. Igor Fraga vs Liam Lawson, points after each race:

Fraga wins 362 : 356

They were always within 20 points of each other:

The impact of 3rd race at Hampton Downs looms over the rest

That one Hampton Downs race, where Lawson briefly lost power and got hit from behind, had disproportionate impact on the championship, more than any race victory by either driver.

Fraga and Lawson are headed to FIA F3 next. I recalculated the TRS results using FIA F3 scoring, which also awards reduced points for reversed grid races. Result: Lawson wins 226:216.

F3 scoring: Lawson wins 226:216

By F3 scoring, Lawson led almost throughout the championship, only trailing once, by 1 point, after his Hampton Downs retirement.

This graph is not as much dominated by a single race.

Neither competitor ever finished below 8th place. Comparing the scoring systems, one can conclude that TRS essentially gives about 10 points just for finishing, or equivalently imposes a 10 point penalty for a non-finish.

PlaceTRSF3TRS revF3 rev
“rev” = reversed grid races

Final remark: in the points-free comparison of sorted results, from best to worst, Lawson beats or matches Fraga in all except the last line.

Last line trumped the rest of them

(By the way, I am glad that Fraga won, I was rooting for him. But that is besides the point.)

Toyota Racing Series scoring: 2018 vs 2020

Back to 2018

Recall how Richard Verschoor and Robert Shwartzman did in 2018 season of Toyota Racing Series:

Finished ahead of the other114
Who had a better season? Looks pretty clear to me.

Yet, Shwartzman became the champion with 916 points versus 911 for Verschoor. Because for the TRS scoring system it did not matter much who won a race, or in what order the drivers finished it, as long as they finished at all. The second place was worth 67/75 = 89.3% of the first place; for example, 9 second places were valued more than 8 wins. Even finishing last, in the 13th place (there were never more than 13 cars on the grid) was worth 26 points, a third of a race win. Verschoor had one retirement, and that was it.

Forward to 2020

The scoring system is different now. It no longer attempts to distribute points among (non-existent) 30 cars on the grid. Just among the 20. And finishing 2nd is no longer worth 89.3% of winning a race. It’s just 88.9%. And 9 second places are now worth exactly the same as 8 wins.

So, not much changed in essence, except for the value of finishing last (now 1 point compared to 26 in 2018). But finishing last was not the issue in 2018: neither Verschoor nor Shwartzman were ever classified below 6th.

The amounts being different between three races held each weekend, I use averages: the first place gets (35+20+35)/3 = 30 points on average, while the second place gets (31+18+31)/3 = 26.7 points and the third (21+16+21)/3 = 23.3.

After the first round in 2020, Liam Lawson has 82 points while his expected rival Ciao Collet has 18 (car damage + a cruel and unusual penalty). Which in the TRS reality means that Collet might as well pack and go on vacation. Even if he wins all of remaining 12 races, and Lawson gets an equal mix of 2nd and 3rd places, the championship will be decided by:

  • Collet: 18 + 12*30 = 378
  • Lawson: 82 + 6*26.7 + 6*23.3 = 382

Sure, Lawson might retire too. But what fun is a championship that hinges on retirements rather than victories?

What if

If 2020 scoring (for “normal” races) was applied to 2018 results, Verschoor would have won by 1 point: 418 : 417. I do not take it to mean that the problem was fixed, though. The table at the beginning of this post is telling me the championship was not that close. With the current F1/F2/F3 scoring, Verschoor would have won 261 : 233, clinching the title with a race to spare.


This is not meant to be an anti-Shwartzman post. He did not invent the scoring system. Handed an early advantage due to Verschoor’s retirement in Round 1, he did what he had to do to maintain the championship lead and minimize the risk of losing it.