Paris, Tuesday: After reading the results of an Internet poll, the FIA have decided to take the unprecedented step of awarding Kimi Raikkonen the 2009 Formula One world championship.

Hanging: Possible reasons for Raikkonen's poll victory
Hanging: Possible reasons for Raikkonen's poll victory

The poll, on a popular Formula One fansite, asked fans to name their “Driver of the Year” for 2009. Raikkonen won an easy victory, gathering nearly three times as many votes as his closest rival. Despite claims that the poll had been “bombarded” by members of a vociferous Raikkonen fan club, the FIA have decided that the poll better reflects the state of this year’s F1 world championship than the actual races.

“Given the overwhelming turnout in favour of Kimi Raikkonen this year, despite his alarming mediocrity on track,” an FIA spokesman said today, “We have decided to dispense with the archaic and restrictive tradition of awarding the world championship to the driver who scores the most points in a season, and instead allow this end-of-season poll to decide who is world champion for 2009.”

Raikkonen fans welcomed the change to the world championship, though none were coherent enough to translate their glee into a quote.

The move has already angered many fans of F1, claiming that allowing the championship to degenerate into a popularity contest is a bad move for a sport already rocked by scandal and subterfuge over the last few years.

“I didn’t think it was possible for the FIA to get any sillier,” one fan said, “but they have. This is ridiculous – bring back Max!”

The Runoff Area advises this fan to be careful what they wish for.

Raikkonen, however, who is expected to leave F1 for a career in the World Rally Championship next year, was unavailable for comment, though we can guess what it probably would have been. FIA President Jean Todt reacted to criticism of the move with an irritable croak.