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F1 rules tweaked, 50 points stay

2014-01-24 07:51


SERIOUS BUSINESS, 'JOKERS' RULE: Worries about the reliability of the 1.6-litre turbo engines - this one is that being built by Renault - to be used in F1 from 2014 have spawned a 'jokers' rule for mechanics. Image: RENAULT

LONDON, England - Formula 1 plans to go ahead with its decision to award double points for the last race of the season. The governing body announced various rule changes on Jan 23 2014 - but not the one many fans had hoped for.

The International Automobile Federation said in its World Motor Sport Council had met in Geneva and approved several amendments to the 2014 sporting regulations. There was no mention of double points and an FIA spokesman could not say whether the subject was even discussed.

The BBC reported earlier that the proposal was raised at a meeting with team bosses and F1's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone the previous day but no attempt was made to overturn it.


Red Bull's quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel, who won his fourth successive title in 2013 with three races to spare has called double points "absurd"; a significant number of fans have on social media derided the idea as a gimmick.

Caterham team owner Tony Fernandes told reporters earlier in the week that the change, designed to keep the championship alive for as long as possible, was "a fake fix" for greater problems troubling the sport.

Those include the financial troubles afflicting many competitors, with a number of drivers having to race unpaid free or with their own sponsorship to secure a seat, and rising costs.

The FIA has pledged to introduce a cost cap from 2015 and said on January 23 it was determined to "assure a healthy, affordable and spectacular F1 championship for the long-term future".

An F1 strategy group meeting attended by Ecclestone and teams and chaired by federation president Jean Tod agreed unanimously "that cost reduction and cost control regulations will be presented to the WMSC in June 2014 for introduction in January 2015".


One cost-saving measure announced for 2015 absolved teams from the need to design their own suspension and brake ducts to be considered "a constructor". Others include increasing the minimum weight of the cars, without fuel, by one kilogram to take heavier Pirelli tyres into account.

In 2015 the minimum weights will increase by another 10kg to 701kg - a change that will at least bring some relief to the taller and heavier drivers who are at a disadvantage this year to smaller and lighter rivals.

Team personnel working in the pits lane will have to wear helmets during qualifying as well as the race and stewards can now impose a five-second time penalty that can be taken before work is carried out on the car during a pit stop.


In a sign of just how problematic teams expect the new turbocharged V6 engines and energy recovery systems to be, each team will through 2014 be allowed six 'jokers' to break a 'curfew' designed to prevent mechanics working all night.

"This is to allow more flexibility for working on the new engines and cars," the federation  explained.

In 2013, the last year of the highly reliable and far less complicated V8 engines, teams were allowed only two such exemptions.

Tyre-warmers could be outlawed from 2015. Previous attempts to ban them foundered due to safety concerns, with drivers worried about racing on cold tyres.
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