Street Fight
Monte Carlo 2018
Monaco Grand Prix
Some notes on the new F1 rule changes
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Dec 2013   |  12:34 am GMT  |  356 comments

The rule changes announced today by the FIA, following meetings of the new F1 Strategy Group and the F1 commission, range from the pragmatic to pure Hollywood.

At the pragmatic end of the scale, the cost cap is long overdue and vital to maintain the medium sized and smaller teams, which are close to the brink financially.

At the Hollywood end, the idea of awarding double points for the last race is breathtaking at first glance, so odd does it seem and so out of keeping with F1’s history. It will add another 100 points to the mix, meaning another $500,000 in entry fees to the FIA, but it is also intended to mean that it’s mathematically more difficult for the title to be decided several races before the end of the season.

But after the introduction of fast degrading tyres and DRS wings, we should not be too surprised. After all it’s eight years since the equally wacky idea of making one set of tyres last for qualifying and race. That was an idea which lasted a season – the 2005 season – which followed a dull year dominated by one driver Michael Schumacher.

This has all the hallmarks of a knee jerk idea which is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

Here are some background notes on the decisions taken today:

F1 Strategy Group decisions
This was the first set of decisions to come from the controversial new F1 Strategy Group, comprising just the top teams plus FIA and Bernie Ecclestone. They have made some bold statements here and want to demonstrate that they can get things done and not get bogged down in petty fighting and dysfunctionality as so many times in the past. They want to show forward thinking and boldness, but at the same time, the promise of a cost cap is a sop to the teams excluded from the Strategy Group forum. It also covers up for the unfair way the prize money is doled out under the new Concorde Agreement, with the top teams creaming off the lion’s share.

One wonders what form this cost cap will take as it has been vehemently opposed up to now by Red Bull and Ferrari.

But the real story is the process of rule making on the hoof, as waved though by the F1 Commission and given free passage by the World Motor Sport Council. A note in the FIA statement proudly says,

“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.” Now that is power! Where has that been for the last 20 years?

It will be interesting to see how long this “can do” mentality lasts.

Cost Cap for 2015
Former FIA president Max Mosley attempted to introduce a cost cap in 2009 and it led to civil war with Ferrari rejecting it outright, Mosley saying that F1 could “survive without Ferrari” and the FOTA teams threatening to quit F1 in summer 2009.

Now as some teams face financial meltdown, some pragmatism seems to have returned, with a newly elected President Todt at the helm and even the major roadblock to cost control – Red Bull – has signed on to this latest development. But Turkeys never vote for Christmas, so the devil will be in the detail, when the working group tries to draw up a plan and set the ceiling level for spending. Auditing what goes on in Stuttgart to help Mercedes F1 team’s effort and comparing that to what Red Bull does in Milton Keynes is nigh on impossible, as Red Bull has consistently pointed out.

There is also the question of whether some of the more vulnerable teams will even make it to 2015..

Driver’s individual numbers
A very sensible idea that will get little argument from anyone. It works in football, Moto GP and has been in NFL and NBA for decades. There will be a scramble for number 7, number 5 and especially number 27 (Senna and Gilles Villeneuve’s number) no doubt. But all the drivers still want Number 1..

Five second penalties
It’s a nightmare trying to evaluate penalties during a Grand Prix, drive through penalties for “minor infringements” sometimes seem too harsh, as in Massa’s penalty for cutting a while line in Brazil. So adding five seconds to a driver’s race time -an easy thing for a timing computer to do – will simplify life for everyone.

Changing the sporting regulations to allow an urgent tyre test
Pirelli have been insistent on getting a meaningful test done before Christmas on their 2014 tyres, as they are concerned about the effects of the massive torque. They have been calling for a mandatory two stops for races next year, which has met with resistance.

The idea of the December test in Bahrain was originally floated with 2011 cars, but Pirelli insisted on 2013 cars as they will be more representative (although nothing like the torque). With memories still fresh of the Mercedes test debacle in May, all sides wanted to get the governance right on this one, so the rules have been changed, the test has been opened to all teams and the freight will be on its way shortly.

Double points for the last race of the season
This is pure Hollywood. But is it really entertaining or does it cause more problems than it solves?

If this rule had been in place in recent years, Lewis Hamilton would have lost the title to Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso would have won in 2012, so two of the most exciting races of recent times would have been killed as spectacles by the weight of numbers.

I’m not sure it would have made this year any more interesting.

F1 was right to explore things like DRS, as overtaking was nigh on impossible. It perhaps went too far, as the tyres certainly did, but there is a line which the sport shouldn’t cross otherwise it gets like WWF wrestling. And this final race points idea is dangerously close to crossing it. 50 points for a race win is absurd.

What it also does is open the door for some races to be “more equal than others”. There is a financial premium for the final race of the season already, but this adds to it, putting more attention on the showdown.

With diminishing returns from TV rights, the sport has been aggressively pursuing race hosting fees as a revenue growth area and playing around with points is another way to add some value to the promoter.

I think it will play badly with fans and – like that nutty tyre idea in 2005 – will be shortlived.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Personally, I’m no longer a fan of F1 after this year. I live in the Caribbean, the only reason I got my 4DTV sat setup was so I could watch F1. Engine changes,tyres and DRS has done me in.

I agree with most of you with the double points in the last race rubbish. The passion has gone from F1. It can be seen in the drivers faces after the race. What they have succeeded in doing to F1 is akin to giving all fielding positions in cricket baseball mitts and saying bowlers can only bowl underhand.

Let me tell you what I would love to see.

Extend the calender to 22 races. Make tyres that can be driven on. No DRS, no KERS, no push to pass. Enforceable salary cap is a must. Make the FIA hire the drivers, and pay the contracts, or some designated independent body. Bring back in-season testing in abig way. Then make every driver drive two races for every team during the season.

I will not be renewing my 4DTV subscription this year. I can get NASCAR on the cable I have. NASCAR, at least, panders to something exciting. Ain’t no push to pass there.


Obviously the people that make these decisions are on the take. An absolute joke. I agree with all negative comments here.


Actually I think that the problem with the new double points in last race idea, is too little to be really effective, if all what is at stake is to increase viewing number for it….Why not make it 5 times the points? For those who think that doubling the points was a brilliant idea (personally, I think is one of the most idiotic, ever) just make it 10 times better !! For one, with the current point system, it would be almost impossible for anyone to come to the last race with an advantage of 125 points….naahhh, would not have changed this year, so let’s say 8 times!!, and we can be sure that the last race will determine the championship, but why to stop there? Surely there are other gimmicks that can be used to cheapen the sport? Random speed bumps in the middle of the race will surely add spice and uncertainty to any race? How about night races with no lights, or at the very least, partial, sudden blackouts?

However, nothing would bring in more viewers than removing most of the security aspects of today’s cars, to ensure that a driver or two get killed or maimed on a routine basis? After all, the romans had tremendous success with gladiators getting killed, for the amusement of the masses? Should F1 not try a proven method?

I guess we have reached a point where artificial ways have to be found, in order to have a new champion, so why not to expel Vettel and RBR ? F1, instead of going forward, keeps on regressing with idiotic gimmicks


Gentlemen, no F1 season dominated by Michael The Greatest was ever dull.


The idea of double points just reveals the dire financial situation that F1 is in and how utterly silly ideas make it to the fore. It just points out how far astray the sport has gone from it’s basics. I would argue that ignoring the core audience has led to this situation. Take me for example, the last time I spent money on going to a race was in 2003. I would have spent more in the years between but I did I not because I disagreed with the directions the sport was taking with Mad Max at the helm playing out personal vendettas followed by other

silly ideas like DRS and a single tire supplier. How many more core fans like me did the same. If you build it they will come has an analogy in F1, if you make it real they will come. Ignore the hardcore F1 fan at your peril


Very good and critical article. Thanks for that.

The double points system for the final race is not good at all… yes it might bring more tension to the final race… but it is artificial. Why not make it 4 times the points, or maybe 200 for a win ? These kind of rules bring in the luck factor: Who is luckiest man in the final race. It is the same as artificial flooding a circuit, an idea from good old Bernie that luckily never got through.

Didnt Formula one start as a game were the combination of best driver in the best car wins the championship ?


Pardon the ignorance –

#5 and #7….what’s the attraction?


5 was Mansell’s number for years while he was at Williams (Jenson was quite happy when he got it this year). Not sure about 7 though.


Number 7 was Sir Stirling Moss’ racing number. Just like Nigel Mansell’s Red 5.


In South Africa they also changed the rules repeatedly in the most popular categories…what happened, manufacturers pulled out (BMW auctioned off thier kit to the highest bidders!), the public stopped supporting, and the local racing scene is a shadow of it’s former self…the best years were late 80’s and early 90’s…just google Stannic Group N, or BMW325iS (Sa homologation) or Opel Superboss (another SA “special”)

The F1 anoraks on here would cry if they saw how the legendary Kyalami looks these days…in fact it’s future is in doubt and we may lose it to developers…


This rule is ridiculous!

Heck, why not give them all bumpers and have them banging wheels and and flinging it up the inside into turns, scraping of mirrors and paint…perferct for Maldonado and Perez!

we could even let them have personalities and argue about who was right or wrong after the race on camera, with a few fists for good measure…

and donuts…lots of donuts…

wait…they’ve already done that…its called Nascar


It is safe to assume then that no driver will want to carry the “No.2” on the car then…

This might well make Mark Webber the last man to ever race (and stand on the podium with) the “No.2” on his car. Somewhat appropriate!


In terms of double points, it’s a sad day for F1.


I think this double points thing is a good idea, but it doesn’t go far enough. I think the track is probably under utilised on a Sunday, so I think the FIA should set up a fair ground arcade on the main straight and we can put on games for the fans in the main straight stands to watch. We could have:

1. All the drivers play a game of musical chairs, and the eventual loser has to wear a pair of steel cap boots for the race.

2. The guest driving standards official (Mansell, Prost etc) throws a dart a board with balloons. In each of the balloons is the name of a driver, and the name that comes out of the burst ballon is the pole sitter for the day.

3. Each driver puts a ball into one of those laughing clowns. At the end of the chutes that the ball lands in are numbers that represent the number of crew that are allowed to work on the car during pit stops.

I think these sort of games will provide the entertainment for the masses, that the racing itself is clearly unable to provide.


So Ferrari would have won 2 more recent WDCs with the double points rule… Jeab Todt is impartial and I bet the thought never crossed his mind 😉


Hi James,

Nice to see you come off the fence with regard to the double points…good job…. I think a straw pole on the double points plan would be good ldea.

Even 24 hours later, I still can’t believe that anyone who knows anything about F1 could have come up with this one……… shame on you all!!!!! and to hear that the decision was supported unanimously by the teams in attendances, well my respect for them has totally evaporated.

If you look back on F1 over the past 3 or 4 years, you’d be hard pushed to do a better job of destroying a sport than the FIA, FOM and now it seems the teams have achieved. ….. well done guys…. good job.

I bet Frank Williams wouldn’t have supported it if he’d been allowed to participate.



Regarding your comment:

“With diminishing returns from TV rights, the sport has been aggressively pursuing race hosting fees as a revenue growth area”

Do you have any insight into why returns from TV are diminishing?

Is it because TV audiences are shrinking? If so, then it is probably safe to assume that some fans are losing interest because of perceived lack of real competition and real racing, and a perceived increase in artificial elements like short-lived tires.

It therefore seems odd that the F1 would respond by adding MORE gimmicks like Double Points for the season finale.

It feels to me as though this is becoming a downward spiral:

1. Too many gimmicks and not enough real racing -> alienated fans

2. Alienated fans -> fewer fans

3. Fewer fans -> less TV revenue

4. Less TV revenue -> more gimmicks and higher race fees

5. Higher race fees -> higher ticket prices -> more alienated fans

6. More gimmicks -> more alienated fans

Goto 1.

As always, MANY THANKS for your excellent commentary.


The only way that this is going to be spiced up with any hint of credibility is to reduce the reliance on aero generated downforce by as much as 70%, bring in more tyre manufacturers for a good old fashioned tyre war and set a maximum size as far as members of personel at a given team (100 is a nice easy figure). As far as budget goes, that should always be as much as the team can generate, they should be restricted on what they are actually allowed to spend it on, ie wind tunnels and CFD. The body work and aero should be submitted for testing in January before the season starts to be tested by an independent body, and there should be a specific limit of overall downforce and downforce generated at each wing. If there are 2 things that kill F1, they are aero dependence and the tyre situation (as well as greedy fatcats).


James – I certainly don’t expect you personally to be on call 24/7, but this site is (hopefully) a global phenomenon, and it is discouraging when one’s comment is “awaiting moderation” for an hour. (At least. I’m going to bed before I can see it posted.) .


How about abandoning “points” altogether and crown the person with the best aggregate finishing position as the champion; tot up finishing position according to FIA results for all 19 (20, 21, 22…) races and divide by number of races; whoever comes out with lowest number has performed best over year and wins?


Hi james,

Vettle has commented on the new double points system as and labelled it as ‘absurd’.

I say points system has changed a few times the last two decades and everyone has got on with it. The current points system very clearly is favorable for a front running team.

The 7 more points for first place gives a team a strong advantage specially if they win a few races and as I understand the current points system was suppose to make teams push to win rather than drive conservatively to gain points.

With a strong team dominating like RB it is clear the points system needs to be tweaked how I do not know.

The shame is our old buddy Vettel has to complain rather than get on with it like Kimi, Shuey and Alonso have done in the past.

Never a World Champ in my eyes.


Give ’em Hell James!

As I indicated on the previous thread, the double points for the last race of the year has got to be THE most brain dead and contrived piece of stupidity dreamt up by the FIA.

If I really wanted such contrived nonsense, I’d watch the various forms of NASCAR inundating us here in North America 10 months of the year.

I’v watched and followed F1 for 45 years and if this double points system for the last race remains, the 2013 season will have been my last. Will I miss it- absolutely, but the proposed nonsense is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

WAKE UP F1, I’ll put up with a lot of contrived nonsense such as your condom thin tires, but such blatant favouritism for one race regardless where it is, is not on and too manipulative.


I think the idea has some merit… needs to be something like points +10% for wet races. Lets face it, we all love wet races.



My friends, it is simple. If you want to see “pure” racing — fastest vehicle/driver combo prevails — stick with karting. (As Senna liked to remind us.)

F1 hasn’t been about pure racing since, well, I don’t know when. (Thought experiment: Imagine Gilles Villeneuve was dropped into F1 2013. My bet: He would walk away in disgust and return to snowmobile racing in Canada if need be.)

There is far too much money involved in F1 for us to expect the “powers that be” to exhibit any common sense. (And I don’t mean the budgets, but rather the marketing dynamic, whether for the organizers (who must be masochists) or the teams and/or their sponsors.) These are the people, after all, who created the rules for the 2014 nose/wing configuration and then realized (or admitted) only a few weeks ago that it will make the cars look like a proboscis monkey. (

The only advantage of the 2014 regs is that they guarantee mechanical failures and in that aspect return us to the alleged good old days of F1. (“Clark was leading by 56 seconds when his gearbox failed.”)

For that, I’m looking forward to the new season. But I suspect that the novelty will wear off quickly, and, like so many others in this thread, 2014 will mark the year that I end my decades-long love affair with F1.


Really not liking the double points idea, why should you get more points for a race just because of when its on the calendar!!

Really really hope they change their minds on it!

I do like the driver numbers though 🙂 & the 5 second penalties is probably not a bad idea either


I believe one of the unattended consequences of the double points scenario will be an increase in team order controversies . It will be a bad year for ” number 2 ” drivers who will be asked to let their more favoured teammates through in races throughout the year . Teams won’t risk their number ones losing points in fear of being caught in that last lottery round .

Can you imagine Red Bull letting Ricciardo take points from Vettel . It will be interesting at Ferrari and probably shows how stupid their decision to take Kimi who will split points with Alonso too much !


Double points is the most stupid idea. This will lead to teams having clear number one and number two. Team orders will dominate. Now that Webber has left, Red Bull will be able to handle this situation. But it will be very explosive at Ferrari and Mercedes. McLaren won’t have this problem because Button will be beaten from race 1 by the rookie Magnussen.

Glad the mandatory pit stops was rejected. That is another stupid idea.

Top Tags