The FIA announced late on Monday that beginning with the 2014 season teams and drivers will be subject to a number of rule changes.
Drivers will be able to choose ‘numbers for life’ – rather than being allocated their number for the year based on their team’s finishing position in the previous year’s constructor’s championship. The move aligns Formula One with MotoGP, where riders become synonymous with their chosen number.
They will also race for double points at the final Grand Prix of the season which, in 2014, will be in Abu Dhabi on 23rd November. Had the change been implemented sooner, recent history would look quite different with Kimi Raikkonen as a double World Champion (2003 & 2007), Fernando Alonso as a triple title holder (2005, 2006 & 2012) and Felipe Massa depriving Lewis Hamilton of his 2008 crown.
Teams will also be forced to cap costs yet again as rising prices endanger the existence of smaller independent outfits such as Marussia and Lotus, with the exact terms of the cap to be determined by June next year.
Five-second penalties will now become de-rigeur for offences committed on-track, removing ambiguity and accusations of ‘inconsistency’ from stewards. There will, however, be no mandatory pit-stop number in place for 2014; suggestions had led to the idea of two compulsory stops per race being thrown around.