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F1: Double points for '14 finale

2013-12-10 08:31

CAR NO.1: Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel could carry the No.1 title or a number of his own choosing in 2014. Image: AP

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England  - Formula 1 will award double points for the last race of the 2014 season in an attempt to keep championships undecided until the very end.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said the change, after a season of record domination by Red Bull and its champion Sebastian Vettel, was immediately applicable and would "maximise focus on the championship until the end of the campaign".

Vettel won the last nine races of 2013 and wrapped up his fourth title with three rounds to spare. The 2014 season-ender will be in Abu Dhabi on November 23 instead of the traditional wrap in Brazil..

F1 COST CAP

The FIA also announced, after a meeting in Paris of its F1 commission and the F1 strategy group, that the principle of a global cost cap had been unanimously approved, with the aim of introducing it from January 2015.

A group, comprised of the frederation, commercial rights holder and team representatives, would be established to work on having regulations approved by the end of June 2014.

A change to the system of drivers' numbers was agreed, with them in future carrying a personal number through their F1 career rather than taking a new one every year depending on where they finished in a previous season.

“No.1” will be reserved for the previous season's champion, should he decide to use it.

Should more than one driver choose the same number, preference will be given to the one who finished highest the previous season.

The principle of a five-second penalty for minor infringements was also accepted for 2014, with teams to discuss how it should be applied.

'UNDERMINE THE SPORT'

Daily Mail correspondent Jonathan McEvoy said F1's decision-makers have "undermined the sport with a gimmick that should have been filed away with sprinklers and reversed grids in the file of batty ideas".

France's L'Equipe points out that, if the system had already been in place, Felipe Massa (not Lewis Hamilton) would be the 2008 champion and Fernando Alonso would have beaten Vettel to the 2012 crown.

F1 correspondent Rafael Lopes said: "Why should a single race be worth more? It's a very artificial way to keep the championship alive until the last grand prix. Why should an average driver with an unreliable car have the same chance just because of the scoring system?

"Not to mention that Abu Dhabi, to date, has hosted almost no good races on a pretty boring track"
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