Formula 1 looks set to go ahead with a controversial decision to award double points for the last race of the season after the governing body announced various rule changes on Thursday but not the one many fans had hoped for.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that its World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) 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 on Wednesday but no attempt was made to overturn it.
Red Bull’s quadruple Champion Sebastian Vettel, who won his fourth successive title last year with three races to spare, has called double points “absurd” while a significant number of fans have derided the idea on social media, as a gimmick.
Caterham team owner Tony Fernandes told reporters this 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 for free or bring sponsorship to secure a seat, amid rising costs.
The FIA has pledged to introduce a cost cap from 2015 and said on Thursday it was determined to “assure a healthy, affordable and spectacular FIA Formula 1 World Championship for the long-term future”.
It said that Wednesday’s F1 Strategy Group meeting, attended by Ecclestone and teams and chaired by FIA President Jean Todt, had 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.
Other tweaks for 2014 included 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 pit 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 this year 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 FIA explained.
In 2013, the last year of the highly reliable and far less complicated V8 engines, teams were allowed only two such exemptions.
The FIA also moved to outlaw tyre warmers from 2015. Previous attempts to ban them foundered due to safety concerns, with drivers worried about racing on cold tyres.
FIA Statement: World Motor Sport Council 2014 – Geneva:
An extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) took place today (23 January) in Geneva, Switzerland. The following decisions were taken:
FIA Formula One World Championship
- The FIA President reaffirmed to members of the WMSC the FIA’s intention to assure a healthy, affordable and spectacular FIA Formula One World Championship for the long-term future. At a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group yesterday, chaired by the FIA President, and attended by Bernie Ecclestone and the teams, it was unanimously agreed that cost reduction and cost control regulations will be presented to the WMSC in June 2014 for introduction in January 2015.
- Amendments to the 2014 Sporting Regulations were also approved, but are subject to ratification by the F1 Commission and teams. These include:
- The Stewards may now impose a five second time penalty which can be taken before work is carried out on the car in a pit stop
- Team personnel must also wear helmets during qualifying, as well as the race
- Drivers may not stop on the slowing down lap to save fuel for sampling and subsequent analysis; this will not be considered justifiable reason for stopping
- For 2014 only, each team will be allowed six curfew ‘jokers’, previously there were two permitted. This is to allow more flexibility for working on the new engines and cars
- Amendments to the 2014 Technical Regulations, subject to agreement of the F1 Commission and teams:
- The weight of the car, without fuel, must not be less than 691kg at all times during the Event. The weight limit has increased by 1kg to take into account the difference in weight between the tyres in 2013 and 2014
- Amendments to the 2015 Sporting Regulations, subject to agreement of the F1 Commission:
- To be considered as a constructor, teams will now not need to design and manufacture suspension and brake ducts
- Amendments to the 2015 Technical Regulations, subject to agreement of the F1 Commission:
- The car minimum weight has been increased by 10kg, to 701kg, for 2015
- All tyre heating devices will be prohibited in 2015
- For safety reasons, the front part of the chassis will not be able to climb too steeply rearward of the front of the chassis. (Reuters-FIA)