The Formula One Commission and F1 Strategy Group concluded their meetings in Paris yesterday and instituted a series of new regulations. The most controversial among them revolves around the final grand prix of the season, for which the series will now award double points. The idea is to incentivize drivers and teams to continue pushing until the end of the season rather than calculate their position in the year-end standings and call it a season.
The move is not unprecedented among top-tier racing series. The FIA World Endurance Championship, for example, awards double points for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But rather than award extra points for the highest-profile races – say, at the Monaco Grand Prix, for example – F1 has opted to pile them on the last race of the season, which typically takes place in either Brazil or Abu Dhabi.
While the double-points decision will undoubtedly prove the most controversial, it's not the only change that F1 has instituted. For another, the system of assigning race numbers according to how a driver or team finished in the previous year's standings is being eliminated, replaced by numbers which the drivers will choose for the duration of their career. The reigning World Champion, however, will still have the option of racing under number 1, leaving the rest to choose from between 2 and 99.
There will also be a new, as-yet undetermined cost cap to be applied starting in 2015, a group tire test to be held a week from now in Abu Dhabi and a clause in the regulations for a new type of five-second penalty. The new measures will not need to be ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, which has mandated its newly re-elected president Jean Todt has the power to approve these changes on his own. Read the full announcement from the FIA below.
FIA Formula One World Championship
Paris – 9 December 2013
Following a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group and the Formula One Commission in Paris today, the following items have been unanimously approved:
• Cost cap
The principle of a global cost cap has been adopted. The limit will be applied from January 2015.
A working group will be established within the coming days comprising the FIA, representatives of the Commercial Rights Holder and Team representatives.
The objective of the working group will be to have regulations approved by the end of June 2014.
• Pirelli Tyre test – Bahrain, 17-19 December, 2013
The F1 Commission agreed to a change to the 2013 Sporting Regulations, on safety grounds, allowing the Formula One tyre supplier to carry out a three-day test in Bahrain from 17-19 December, 2013. All Formula One teams have been invited to take part in the test and six have accepted: Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso.
• Driver numbers
Drivers will be asked to choose their race number, between 2 and 99, for the duration of their career in the FIA Formula One World Championship. Number 1 will be reserved for the current World Champion, should he choose to use it.
If more than one driver choses the same number, priority will be given to the driver who finished highest in the previous year's championship.
• New penalties
The principle of a five-second penalty for minor infringements was agreed. In what form such a penalty will be applied will be discussed with Formula One's teams in order that a new regulation be introduced for 2014 season.
• Points for the last race
Double drivers' and constructors' points will be awarded at the final race of the Formula One season in order to maximise focus on the Championship until the end of the campaign.
These changes are immediately applicable, given the mandate assigned to the FIA President at the last World Motor Sport Council meeting, held on 4 December in Paris.