FIA 2014 new #F1 regulations unpacked

Updated 23:03 GMT

Today saw 2 monumental meetings in Paris. One was of the F1 strategy group and the other the F1 commission. The resulting announcements have set the F1 social media world on fire with reactive comment.

Firstly, it should be noted that the big decisions are at present most vague. However, we’ll come to them shortly. It has to be noted that there is something new going on here. Rule making on the hoof. Today’s agreements have been waved though by the F1 Commission and as a note in the FIA statement states, “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.”

Wow. Are we to see a new decisive Jean Todt wielding this new kind of power?

Anyway, first up, the Pirelli 2014 tyre test in Bahrain next week. “The F1 Commission agreed to a change to the 2013 Sporting Regulations, on safety grounds, allowing the Formula One tyre supplier to carry out a three-day test in Bahrain from 17-19 December, 2013. All Formula One teams have been invited to take part in the test and six have accepted: Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso”.

The other teams are allowed to send observers and all information gathered by Pirelli will be available to all the teams.

It has to be said, despite Crashtor’s reputed $ millions, Lotus are notable absentees as are Sauber which confirms the stories that both teams have serious financial problems. Further, despite a severance deal from PDVSA, it appears Williams are still tight on cash and are choosing to stay away.

As reported in the news today, drivers will be allowed to choose a number for life.

“Drivers will be asked to choose their race number, between 2 and 99, for the duration of their career in the FIA Formula One World Championship. Number 1 will be reserved for the current World Champion, should he choose to use it.

If more than one driver choses the same number, priority will be given to the driver who finished highest in the previous year’s championship”.

This is designed to give drivers the opportunity to market themselves in association with their number. Though why a world champion would elect to take the #1 is unclear. The point is for the media, race footage and photograph’s taken to promote the driver via their number, so doesn’t switching to No. #1 for a year defeat the point of having a unique number.

Then there’s the question of whether numbers will be retired. Twitter is rampant suggesting which driver may elect for the number 27, associated with the late Giles Villeneuve. Then again, the superstitious may choose to avoid the number believing they may differ a similar fate.

What number will Kimi choose? – is a raging topic. If true to his image, the Finn will probably refuse to pick a number and force the FIA to decide for him. Then again in James Hunt style he may choose the number 69.

The debate over which driver will select which number may entertain us all during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, but in essence that is all this is – froth and none sense.

To this end the next decision taken today will be considered equally facile by many F1 fans.

“Double drivers’ and constructors’ points will be awarded at the final race of the Formula One season in order to maximise focus on the Championship until the end of the campaign.”

This is an inevitable decision which may be just the first step F1 takes to ensure the title deciders are as late as possible in the season. There are many sports that contrive their end of season rules of play to keep the competition alive as long as possible, which in turn keeps TV audiences interest high for longer. After all, F1 these days is all about the buck.

Out of interest, double points last race would’ve meant in 2003, Raikkonen would’ve been the champion not Schumacher; in ’08, Massa not Hamilton; in ’12, Alonso not Vettel.

Other changes would have been:

1956 – Moss 35, Fangio 33

1958 – Moss 50, Hawthorn 49

1970 – Ickx 49, Rindt 45

1979 – G. Villeneuve 56, Scheckter 51

1981 – Jones 55, Piquet 52

1984 – Prost 80.5, Lauda 78

The twittersphere is outraged by this idea at least by 9 to 1 as epitomized by Jonathan McEvoy of the Mail. “Formula One is meant to be the pinnacle of motor racing not a circus of gimmicks. That is why the more outlandish ideas of that great showman Flavio Briatore – reversing the grids, applying the sprinklers – were resisted by saner and more traditional thinkers”.

TJ13 predicts that this will be just the thin edge of the wedge. F1 will end up with some system like – the top 5 drivers with 4 races to go – all reset their points and have a 4 race shootout for the title.

F1 fans are up in arms over this proposal almost to a man/woman – yet just as the teams have done nothing we have too ignored the impending doom upon us to our peril. It is time to petition our teams and drivers for a cost controlled F1, where neither the TV companies nor anyone else is not calling the shots over how the sport is run – because the necessity of their dollars means they get their say and their way.

However, there are 2 more decisions taken today which are best described as vague which may be far more reaching than double points for the last race.

“The principle of a five-second penalty for minor infringements was agreed. In what form such a penalty will be applied will be discussed with Formula One’s teams in order that a new regulation be introduced for 2014 season”.

Mmm. The possibilities are endless. Unless this is strictly defined, we’ll see a plethora of subjective decisions made because the perceived penalty is ‘slight’.

What is certain is that a 5 second penalty applied to the time of a driver during the race can in no way reflect by their position on track. This may require the retirement of a host of old school race commentators, who struggled this year to cope with the ‘confusion’ of 3 stop+ races where cars were out of position, but on fresher rubber.

however, the biggest decision by far is defined as yet only as a ‘global’ concept.

“The principle of a global cost cap has been adopted. The limit will be applied from January 2015.
A working group will be established within the coming days comprising the FIA, representatives of the Commercial Rights Holder and Team representatives.

The objective of the working group will be to have regulations approved by the end of June 2014″.

The fascinating part of this proposition is the idea of a ‘global’ cap comes straight out of left field. So the initial focus will not be initially upon individual teams, but the global spend of the teams combined. However, the subterfuge behind this idea could be to drive up the value of an individual unit of sponsorship spend and could have the effect of reducing the impact of the pay driver.

The current pot of cash distributed from the commercial rights holder among the teams is around $750m. So if the global cap was set at say $1.25bn, the opportunity for sponsorship and by definition the sponsors of pay drivers becomes restricted. This could result in a bidding war between sponsors to be allowed to be part of the nominal additional $500m.

Of course this is a nebulous suggestion at present, and the 6 month deadline on fleshing the idea out is utterly unreasonable. The debates will surround how much each team will be allocated of the additional funding to be raised above the prize fund and how this is policed.

Yet by highlighting the total cost of F1, this will deliver an intrinsic number for agreement which may force the teams to justify the spend of the sport as a collective, as against its income. At present it is unclear just who is behind this suggestion – Ecclestone, the FIA or the teams. The complete lack of previous debate over a ‘global’ cap would appear to suggest this is a very recent addition to the debate.

If this is an Ecclestone suggestion, were the cap to be set below he current additional voluntary sponsorship which funds F1 teams over and above the prize fund, it could have the effect of driving up the value of the sponsorship arrangements with FOM.

However, the teams vehemently opposed to any kind of cap are Ferrari and Red Bull and Ecclestone is particularly close to the latter. This would suggest this move originates with the FIA and after years of burying his head in the sand and demanding the teams agree unilaterally on cost cutting,  Todt has awakened from his slumber.

But what of the Ferrari veto? It appears this is enshrined until 2020 for any technical or sporting regulations, except if they are made on the grounds of safety OR as TJ13 has been briefed today, if if they are “prejudicial to the traditional values of the championship or the image of the FIA”. I guess it could be argued just 6 or 7 teams entered for an F1 season or the majority of teams being unable to compete would be “prejudicial to the traditional values of the championship”. BINGO!

Then again the whole thing could merely end in deadlock unless the FIA and Todt act with decisiveness – as many attempts to control F1 spend in the past has done.

UPDATE: The FIA are inviting on twitter @FIA any complaints about the 2014 changes.

TJ13 recommends if you want to make a difference, don’t just bitch about double points – press the point hard over cost control and the subsequent competitiveness of the field of competitors.

39 responses to “FIA 2014 new #F1 regulations unpacked

  1. I can’t understand the double points for the last race decision? How does that seem like a serious decision? Why place so much of an onus on 1 race? Makes it a bit of a mockery if someone wins by 24 pts from 2nd after a DNF from the 2nd place driver, I’d rather the title was won fair and square.

    • …feel free to support you TJ13er’s… though this is merely a symptom of what is coming i’m afraid.

      Spend spend spend…. requires TV masters who pay a fortune for the privilege of airing the sport to have a greater and greater say in how the sport is run to generate ratings….

      …plenty of other sports have been forced to change their end of season rules to create ‘the show’ for their paymasters…..

      The BBC and SKY UK alone between them cough up $100m a year to F1….

      Santander pay $40m to Ferrari

  2. Last race = 50pts is a Joke!

    Are we re-naming the series ‘Mickey Mouse Formula 1’ as that will be how much credibility will be left with this rule change……

    This can’t be welcomed by the drivers as it will skew the championship results, look when Mark Webber got pole in Japan because Vettle’s Kers failed, he said it was hollow. If you win the title by 1pt after winning the final race for 50pts, that’s gonna feel a little gifted to a competitive driver.

    • …unless as a gentleman like Ickx.. you deliberately forfeit the title for a fallen comrade….

      F1 has been many things to many people over the years – and it wasn’t always about winning at all costs……….

      • There is no one a gentleman like ickx. Not currently at least.
        By the way. I hope ickx gets a top 3 place in the top 20 drivers articles here. Wich i enjoy very much.

  3. This is stupidity in its purest form. In twenty years of watching Formula 1 I’ve seen things I like and others I don’t but always thought that behind each decision was some intelligent thinking. Not today. This is what happens when a weak character can’t cope with the leadership he is supposed to represent and rather becomes a puppet of others… and those others are not even people after power but only idiots after money.
    We are living in an age when as never before money is accumulated by very few and masses have been giving the freedom to express as never in the past, thus stupidity –the basic characteristic of humankind, not good or evil as some naïve philosophers have argued- is widespread. Others’ stupidity makes money for the little that can control them. I don’t believe real fans of Formula 1 are part of the masses. FIA, obviously, doesn’t care, if they can produce more money for those who really are behind this we don’t matter.
    I won’t even say anything more about permanent numbers anymore, I don’t like it, period. But the other changes…
    By giving double points in the final race FIA and Formula 1 are losing all credibility as a sport. It’s now a show, something they can sell to people who like to watch something “exciting” on TV while getting drunk. Real fans of Formula 1 watch all races or at least most of them, the first one and the last one, those at noon and those at 3:00 am, sometimes live sometimes delayed but they watch them.
    Five seconds penalties will be used to increase current levels of corruption and favor a few. This move is intended for applying rules at total discretion, and not allowing external people to demand fairness. Red Bulls, Ferraris, will be given five second penalties when the next place is more than five seconds behind, Saubers, Marussias, will get the same sanction when the next car is within five seconds, they will also get drive thru penalties, something most likely Red Bulls and Ferraris won’t, and C.W. will stand in front of us and say that he has been fair by penalizing everybody, and we will have no other option but to believe him, after all for FIA we are all idiots, aren’t we?.
    But the cost cap, if I understand it right, will have the worst effect. Money will be allocated mainly to a few teams, the others will receive the remaining of the amount before the cap. They will tell us they are doing it to save the sport, to save the small teams, for us. What in reality will happen is that they will ensure nobody but who they decide can succeed in Formula 1, with the global cap almost fulfilled small teams won’t have the option to raise more money and they will never have the option to grow, without this options they won’t be motivated to spend more, so they will have to accept that buying cars from the big teams will be more convenient than producing their own, with the cars they will receive the new that they can’t end races in front of those selling the cars, or plainly, they will receive a product of lower quality that won’t allow them to compete. We won’t be watching a sport, not even a cheap show at that point, we will be watching an endless advertisement telling us that that we must drink Red Bull, that we must work hard to buy Mercedes-Benz, etc. and that we must be idiots like everybody else so Todt’s masters can became richer at our expenses.

    • ” In twenty years of watching Formula 1 I’ve seen things I like and others I don’t but always thought that behind each decision was some intelligent thinking. ”

      You must have been watching a different F1 from me Juan

      Coz I’ve never seen any sign of intelligent thinking.

      Only self interest in the decision making !

      • You are right, self interest has always ruled, but self interest requires intelligence. An evil man makes things that are detrimental to others in order to get a benefit for himself. Idiots make things that are detrimental to others without getting a benefit for themselves of getting the minimum benefit available. If the idiot is also a wimp he will do things to benefit third parties in order to get temporary approval from them, often destroying the enviroment that would have otherwise supported his ambitions in the long term -if he weren’t idiot or a wimp-.
        I saw self interest in the past but not weakness or stupidity. Mosley wasn’t controlled by manufacturers to the point of changing in a detrimental way the sport or damaging his own reputation. Todt in the other hand just finished his first term as FIA president refusing to take any decision, hiding to avoid standing up in front of others. Now he starts his second term the only way he can, because he didn’t have the courage to do his work, he had to sell himself and Formula 1 to manufacturers and TV in order to stay in the office, as a result the only decisions he ever made -if he made them, I doubt it- are these we now see.

    • Wonderfully expressed… Spare a thought for those who always claim ‘one cannot go back’… their brave new world is here… Next stop: ‘1984’…!

  4. I LOVE IT 🙂

    Why stop at double points for the last race though ?

    We should have – coz it’ll really liven up the entertainment value of F1 …..

    extra points awarded for pole position and fastest lap

    at least 2 if not 3 mandatory pit stops and pit stop windows

    only 2 pit crew allowed to change wheels & tyres at any one time – jack operators excepted

    a ” penalty box ” where drivers have to stop for their 5 second penalty on the circuit so they don’t suffer having the disadvantage of driving through the pits

    drivers numbers should be in BIG LED’s – so we can see them easily

    safety car deployed whenever the leader has a 30 second lead

    team mascots ( someone in a costume ) like they have in American sports

    flying monkeys – coz it ain’t a show without flying monkeys ….

  5. adding to the idea of ‘playing God’ with the sprinklers….why not have an earthquake effect that can be activated?

  6. or even better, the races could be turned into the tv show ‘Gladiators’. On there the pantomime villain is the Wolf Man – i.e. Pastor Maldonado. He could be released at any moment to spice things up.

    • Everyone should vote for more KERS for Maldonado… that would spice things up a bit! Go get ’em Pastor!

  7. I agree with 5 sec penalties for off track excursions but ONLY if it’s not subjective and assessed electronically with pressure sensors embedded in the asphalt at key places. think strips like those on public buses to signal a stop request. that electronic signal would go simultaneously to race control, all teams, and live timing so it’s all out in the open.

    • But we all know it’s going to end up being subjective and lots more of “you cut a white line, thus 5 seconds to be added post-race” until we need a comprehensive review of who wins the race 😀

  8. Pingback: F1: números para siempre y final con puntaje doble « deportes1venezuela·

  9. Why not split the last race in two, on consecutive days, with normal points for both races…? And have each race duration at about 80-90 mins.
    Indeed, why not do this a couple of times during the season…?

  10. I can see all sorts of problems with the 5 second penalty. A driver holding another up to put them more than 5 seconds back from their team-mate who has a penalty. Last lap crashes trying to make up time behind back markers who are dawdling.

    To me, a safer route may be some sort of disablement of the car for a short time – can’t they, for example, disable ERS for a lap or two? You’d need to put a warning light on the back of the car so drivers behind know they will be slower but it gives a real-time penalty which potentially adds to the excitement.

    As for double points, no…. If a team has dominated then they should win. The solution is to find a way to stop a team dominating, not manipulate the results. Even then, if a team does a great job what is wrong with them winning by a large margin? If Red Bull were hobbled for doing well then I can well see them just walking away from the sport.

    • …the FIA have said they will discuss with the teams how to implement this…. so its not clear what they propose…

      … Race control – controlling the cars sounds like fun as well as a sensible idea… but will the teams play ball?

      the other problem is the stewards need to stop having a good old jolly day out and do their jobs properly…

      With all the onboard and FOM footage the stewards had seen no safety issue when Alonso picked up Webber – in fact. they were switching off the lights and on their way to the bar when a bloke wandered in with a security camera’s cine 8 film and – HEY PRESTO – its penalty time.

  11. w/r/t PERMANENT F1 DRIVER #s…

    I don’t see any problem with this, except of course if two drivers want the same # but even then one has the right to it based on previous year’s WDC finishing order. As for retiring #s, surely that must be something done through a formal mechanism, not-yet-proposed, or through informal agreement b/w the current drivers. Would our current heroes even think it appropriate to take the # of Senna or Villeneuve? Idk.

    But as for why #1 is offered, I mean, that’s hardly controversial or stupid. It’s very practical and #1 should always be reserved for the winner of the previous year’s WDC, just like how at the Tour de France, the previous year’s winner is allocated #1 and his teammates receive 2-9 alphabetically. That #1 is optional in F1 is perfect – no driver will have to switch to it if he doesn’t want to, though wouldn’t it be funny now to think of Vettel starting 2014 w/ a # OTHER than 1, given how he’s basically made it his after last four years? lol…

    Cheers guys.

  12. “It is time to petition our teams and drivers for a cost controlled F1,”

    Great idea Judge

    how about posting a standard letter and a list of Team email addresses on the Judge website?

    I for one would use this to write to several teams straight away..

    🙂

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