Well, that escalated quickly.
Just as the world of F1 settles into brief, yet deep, slumber, an alarm clock goes off in the form of a raft of proposals from the FIA for 2014. Admittedly some are more ludicrous than others, but nonetheless, here’s a quick at the five proposals…
Double points at the season finale (No, seriously)
Who saw that curveball coming?
In a rather bizarre, unexpected, and spit-your-coffee-out-over-the-monitor fashion, DOUBLE POINTS are to be awarded in the 2014 season finale in Abu Dhabi. What this essentially means is that the race around the largely unchallenging, underwhelming twists and turns in the Middle East is worth double that of the blue-ribbon events such as Suzuka, Monaco, and Spa.
It does have the stench of a PR stunt, rather than for the good of the Championship itself, particularly with the season finale being switched back to Abu Dhabi for 2014. Consider this: under the new scheme, Fernando Alonso would have been champion in 2012, and Felipe Massa would have beaten Lewis Hamilton to the 2008 title…
A December Tyre Test (Urgh. Tyres)
It’s been the word of 2013, and 2012 and, well, ever since Pirelli jumped back into the sport really. So it’s no surprise that the word ‘tyre’ was included in the the latest raft of regulation changes.
Effectively, a three-day open tyre test in Bahrain has been opened up for all the teams, should they wish to attend. Six of the ten teams have accepted – Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and Toro Rosso.
They’ll have to pack up and get moving quick though; the test begins on December 17th!
Cost Cap in 2015 (Again, urgh. These things never happen)
The same thing was proposed way back in 2009, with a cap of £40 million slammed down on the negotiating table and agreed between teams and Max Mosley’s FIA. However, as USF1 found out the hard and slightly embarrassing way, it never really materialised.
The problem with costs in the sport, from development to logistics, has only worsened since then, with the gap between ‘Mr.Wagging-Finger’ and ‘Make-up-the-numbers-Max’ at the back ever expanding. It’s only a proposal as yet, with a June 2014 target set for a finalised figure to be agreed, but it’s almost certainly the most vital of the five new rules for the sport as a whole.
Permanent Driver Numbers (Oooh. Like this.)
It’s been mooted for a while now, so it’s no surprise really, but here we have it: permanent driver numbers!
It’s trivial more than anything, but with the iconic presence of helmet colours diminishing over the years (not to point any German WAGGING fingers at anyone, of course) the introduction of numbers should at least bring a sense of identity to those on the grid.
Let’s be honest, we all know Valentino Rossi as #46 in MotoGP, and Jeff Gordon is #24 in NASCAR, so why isn’t F1 following such a simple suit? No. 1 is reserved for the reigning champion of course, but we suspect Sebastian may opt for a cheekier approach…perhaps a number between 68 and 70?
New Penalties (Yawn)
Like tyres, the case of penalties and how and when they are applied is a bit…well, it’s a bit dull. And inconsistent.
Nonetheless it’s a relevant theme in modern day F1, as we all know (and groan) about, and the FIA has decided to tinker with the system for 2014.
Five-second penalties for “minor infringements” will be introduced, although just what determines such a fault has yet to be decided. All we can say is that it may well stand Lotus and Pastor Maldonado in good stead if the Venezuelan can be 5 seconds ahead more often than not…