The FIA has issued an updated version of its Sporting Regulations rulebook for the 2014 season, which confirms the plans for double points at the final Grand Prix, as well as the permanent numbering system previous reported.
A host of other regulations have also been rewritten.
The updated regulations have been ratified by the FIA, with a summary as follows:
Points for the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship titles will be awarded at each Grand Prix on the same 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 sliding scale for the first ten classified drivers.
The points awarded for the season-ending Grand Prix will be doubled for both titles, an idea that has received near-universal criticism from the sport’s fans and media, as well as current World Champion, Sebastian Vettel.
Permanent Driver Numbers
Drivers will be able to choose their own racing numbers instead of it being assigned to them based on whether they are the reigning Drivers’ Championship winner or their team’s finishing position in the previous year’s Constructors’ Championship.
Prior to the start of each season, every driver will be assigned a permanent racing number by ballot, which they will continue to race with until they leave the sport.
In the event that two or more drivers nominate the same number, preference will be given to the driver who finished higher in the previous season’s Drivers’ Championship standings.
The reigning World Champion will have the option to use the #1 allocation in the year following their claiming the Drivers’ Championship title, and the number previously allocated to him will be reserved for subsequent seasons where he is not the reigning World Champion.
Substitute, reserve or ‘Friday practice’ drivers will be assigned their own numbers, instead of driving with the number of the driver they have replaced.
The permanent numbering rule also forced a change to another section of the Sporting Regulations, which dictated that drivers’ qualifying positions would be assigned on their racing number if they failed to post a lap time in the respective session.
The updated rule now states that they will start the race “in the order they were classified in the previous period of qualifying or, in the case of [not setting a time in] Q1, the order they were classified in P3.”
Pole Position Trophy
A new trophy will be awarded to the driver who starts the most races over the season from pole position.
“A trophy will be awarded to the driver who sets the most pole positions during the championship season (see Article 36.2),” the Sporting Regulations read.
“In the event of a tie the holder of the greatest number of second places will be taken into account and, if there is still the tie, the holder of the greatest number of third places and so on until a winner emerges.
“If this procedure fails to produce a result, the FIA will nominate the winner according to such criteria as it thinks fit.”
Changes to FP1
The first practice session of a Grand Prix weekend will hopefully produce more on-track activity, with the FIA allowing more drivers and tyres to be run in the weekend’s opening 90-minute session.
Teams may now nominate up to four drivers in the first session, opening up the option of running a junior driver at the beginning of the session before the regular drivers step in. The take-up of that option is perhaps questionable, given that each driver has their own custom-made race seat and preferred pedal layout – neither of which has a quick turnaround time if they have to be changed.
An extra set of the harder ‘prime’ dry-weather tyres will also be allocated for FP1, although these are limited to being run in the first thirty minutes of the session (usually the quietest period of running) before being surrendered.
The FIA has also indicated that a minimum period of 24 hours must elapse between the start of FP1 and the start of FP3.
The FIA has further tightened the guidelines on in-race overtaking, an area that has triggered various points of controversy over the course of the 2013 season.
Article 20.2 of the Sporting Regulations has had additional text included to state that a driver must not gain a “lasting advantage” by leaving the track entirely to complete a passing move.
It has also granted the Race Director, Charlie Whiting, the authority to instruct drivers to surrender positions gained.
The updated Article reads as follows (additional text highlighted in bold):
“Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of doubt the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not.
“A driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track.
“Should a car leave the track the driver may re-join, however, this may only be done when it is safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage. At the absolute discretion of the race director a driver may be given the opportunity to give back the whole of any advantage he gained by leaving the track.
“A driver may not deliberately leave the track without justifiable reason.”
The rules change has come about in the wake of some controversial passing moves in 2013, such as Romain Grosjean’s pass on Felipe Massa at the Hungarian Grand Prix, which earned the Frenchman a drive-through penalty.
Missing the Weighbridge
Drivers who fail to stop at the weighbridge – an offence which previously earned instant disqualification, but which has warranted a reprimand in more recent years – will be issued with a reprimand “provided the car is then brought back to the FIA garage without delay and that the FIA technical delegate is satisfied the car has been brought back in exactly the same condition it was in when it was driven into the pits”.
Should there be a delay in returning the car to the FIA weighbridge, however, the offending driver will be forced to start the race from from the pit lane.
Unsafe pit releases
After a number of incidents where drivers were unsafely released from their pit boxes, the FIA has also revised the rules and penalties accordingly.
As opposed to an in-race drive-through penalty for an unsafe release during a Grand Prix, drivers will now be hit with a grid penalty for the following Grand Prix.
Should an unsafe pit release occur in practice or qualifying, the grid drop will be applied for the Grand Prix in question.
Penalty Points and Grid Penalties
Drivers found to have broken the rules next season can be issued with penalty points on their Super License, and will be banned from competing at the following Grand Prix once they accrue 12 penalty points in any rolling twelve-month period.
“Penalty points will remain on a driver’s Super License for a period of 12 months after which they will be respectively removed on the 12 month anniversary of their imposition,” Article 16.3 of the Sporting Regulations reads.
Post-race time penalties will be applied if the driver commits an infraction in the final three laps of the race, as opposed to the final five as written in the 2013 regulations.
Infractions committed outside the final three laps of the race will continue to earn the driver a drive-through or stop-go penalty, which must be served within three laps of the notification of the penalty.
If grid penalties are imposed at any Grand Prix and the driver’s qualifying grid position is such that a full penalty cannot be applied, the balance of the grid penalty will be applied at the subsequent Grand Prix.
For example: a driver qualified 15th of the 22 entrants and has a ten-place grid penalty. Assuming no penalties are awarded to any other driver such that it affects their own grid penalty, they will have seven grid spots docked for the Grand Prix in question, and the remaining three grid places dropped at the next Grand Prix thereafter.
No such remaining penalties can be carried forward for more than one Grand Prix.
Drivers will have to run the same gearbox for six Grands Prix next year, an increase from the five consecutive races stipulated in 2013. Changes to gears and dog rings will not attract a grid penalty.
“For 2014 only, on five occasions per driver, a competitor need not provide evidence of physical damage in order to carry out these changes. Furthermore, the use of parts of identical specification will not be necessary when the changes are being made in accordance with Article 9.6.2 of the F1 Technical Regulations,” the updated regulations read.
Engines will also be required to run over more Grands Prix (up from four to five as well), although the rules governing force majeure component changes and their associated penalties are even more complex
Engines will also be required to run over more Grands Prix (up from four to five as well), although the rules governing force majeure component changes and their associated penalties are even more complex.
The same engines does not have to be used over consecutive Grands Prix, and teams will also be allowed to swap the “six separate elements” of their power units (being the engine, unit-kinetic, unit-heat, energy store, turbocharger and ECU) from race-to-race.
However, the following cumulative penalties will apply under Article 28.4 for doing so:
If the entire power unit is replaced, the driver will start from the pit lane at the first Grand Prix in which the new power unit is used.
If a sixth element (any one of them) is used, a ten-place grid penalty will apply. The same penalty applies for the seventh use of any element, and so on.
If a sixth of any of the remaining elements is used, a five-place grid penalty will apply. The same penalty applies for the seventh use of any of the remaining elements, and so on.
A power unit of any of its six elements will be deemed to have been used once the car’s timing transponder shows that the car has left the pit lane.
Drivers will not be permitted to run any more than 100kg of fuel from the start to the finish of a Grand Prix race, according to an update of Article 29.5 of the Sporting Regulations.
Other than in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), any driver exceeding this limit will be excluded from the race results.