In an effort to prolong the Championship race of a Formula One season, the F1 Strategy Group and the Formula One Commission have announced that double points will be awarded at the final race of the season, from 2014 onwards.
The decision, which is just one of a raft of changes decided unanimously in Paris today is aimed at forcing teams and drivers to maintain their progression and performance in to the final lap of the season.
This therefore means that 50 points will be available for victory at next year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and 86 for a on-two, which may have some bearing on both the drivers and constructors’ Championship.
It is also interesting to note that should this rule have been in place in recent years, Sebastian Vettel’s 2012 title would have seen Fernando Alonso crowned as a three-time World Champion and Felipe Massa claim the 2008 Championship ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Along with this there were four more items approved in Paris this afternoon. Drivers will now have a free choice of their car number, between 2 and 99, and this will remain throughout their career in Formula One. This will allow for the return of iconic number and driver pairings, such as we saw with Nigel Mansell and throughout motorcycle racing.
The number 1 will be reserved for the current World Champion, should they choose to use it.
The third ruling today was a change to the penalty system, which now includes a five-second penalty for minor infringements – although the decision as to what constitutes a five-second penalty over a drive-through or ten-second penalty will be made before the 2014 season begins.
The final test of 2013 was also confirmed after much expectation and will take place in Bahrain on 17-19 December for a Pirelli Tyre Test. And although every team has been invited, only Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso have taken up the offer so far.
The test comes at a difficult time for the teams, both in terms of halting preparations on next year’s machinery whilst also reducing the much needed holiday period for those involved.
Finally, and of most significance for Formula One’s future is the approval of a cost cap from January 2015. The technicalities of this will be completed in June 2014 following discussions between representatives of the Commercial Right Holder and Teams representatives.