This weekend is set to see Super Formula conclude its 2020 season at Fuji Speedway with both the Drivers’ and Teams’ titles to be decided.
It is important to remember that for this season Super Formula have introduced drop scores with the five best results from the seven race calendar counting towards a driver’s and team’s final championship points.
Ryo Hirakawa and Naoki Yamamoto enter the season finale level on points at the top of the championship. Both are not at risk of losing any points due to the dropped scores system having each finished a race outside of the points and having retired from another race.
The first driver impacted by the new for 2020 system is Tomoki Nojiri who enters the weekend third in the championship, eight points behind Hirakawa and Yamamoto. Nojiri has finished inside the points in all six races contested so far this season which has meant he has dropped the points he earned for claiming tenth at Okayama.
Nojiri is one point ahead of Nick Cassidy in fourth who has also had to drop points, specifically the three he secured for pole position in the second Suzuka race. Although the New Zealander ultimately failed to finish the second race, due to an engine failure whilst leading, his pole position does mean he has scored points in every round in the season so far and therefore must drop one.
Super Formula is normally competitive enough that the final race of the season sees some form of title showdown. The dropped scores system introduced this season will have added an extra layer of complexity to this weekend’s finale. It is also not outside the realms of possibility that other factors such as the weather or, as proven by Cassidy, reliability play a part in ultimately deciding who becomes the 2020 champion.
Elsewhere in the Drivers’ Championship Toshiki Oyu jumped up the standings after claiming victory in the second Suzuka race, where he also claimed points by qualifying in second. It means he lies tenth in the championship heading into the final race of the season and is eight points behind Kenta Yamashita in fifth. Behind Oyu are a further four drivers who are within ten points of him.
In the Team’s Championship Team TOM’s have a two point advantage over Team Dandelion Racing. with Team Impul a further eight points adrift in third. There is then a further nine points separating Team Impul from fourth placed INGING with both teams having managed to get both of their cars into the points in the second Suzuka race. INGING have a 10 point advantage over Kondo Racing who have only a one point advantage of their own over nearest challengers Nakajima Racing. The only team yet to score points this season is Drago Corse with ThreeBond whose highest finish has been twelfth which the team have achieved on three occasions, most recently last time out at Suzuka.
In general the season has seen 27 drivers participate with 20 of them having managed to score points either through qualifying in the top three or/and securing a top ten finish in a race. With one final race to go and everything so close in both championships there is plenty yet to be decided in Super Formula’s 2020 season finale.