Have the FIA gone too far with their new rules?

It’s no secret that the FIA have made some ‘irrational’ decisions this year, but today’s announcement hasn’t gone down well. For those of you who didn’t already know, the FIA have put the following in place:

  • A cost cap
  • A Pirelli tyre test – Bahrain, 17-19 December 2013
  • Permanent driver numbers
  • New penalties
  • Double points for the last race

For the full press release click here

There are two new rules that have been put in place that I find somewhat unnecessary. The first is the permanent numbers. I understand in other sports athletes are known for their numbers, and previous drivers like Nigel Mansell are known specifically for having the red five; but in this era, I don’t think it really matters.

Isn’t having a higher number on your car something of pride? Knowing that you’ve worked so hard to get a single digit for instance – it’s quite an important thing, and it highlights just how good your team has been. It also creates a bit of confusion, no disrespect but won’t it seem a bit wrong when a driver such as Max Chilton has the number two on his car, whereas Fernando Alonso has the number 21? But aside from that, I quite like the idea. I think that it’ll be fun to see what number which driver picks, and it almost gives the driver a ‘trademark’ – being known for driving the number 18 Lotus for example. 

The decision to make the final race in Abu Dhabi a double points scoring event, is nonsense. It wouldn’t have even made a difference as to who was the champion this year. The reasoning is what makes me laugh ‘to maximise focus on the championship until the end’ as if some drivers just give up because its the last race. Maybe it will bring a bit more excitement, especially if it was applied in seasons like 2007, 08 and 09, and when you think about it, if it’s a close season it will be very thrilling, but isn’t it also a bit unfair? One race shouldn’t make a champion. It’s about their season as a whole, and how they’ve compared to their competitors.

Drivers consistently try to score good points from the first race in Melbourne to the final race, and a no finish in Abu Dhabi could prove very costly. What if it’s a mechanical problem, such as an engine failure (which is very likely with the new engine regulations) or a collision that wasn’t the drivers fault? A stop and go penalty to the offending driver won’t say sorry enough for the other losing the championship. And lets not make this all about the champion, because as we know your place in the constructors defines how much prize money you receive at the end of the competition. A team shouldn’t lose out that easily, especially if it’s a team that have been struggling financially; who possibly deserve to have more money in their banks.

It’s not like there was ever anything wrong with the ‘old’ scoring system either. What even happened to earning points for pole position, or giving points to every driver who finished, or receiving a trophy for attaining the most poles? They’re more rewarding, are they not?

Maybe it’s so more spectators travel to Abu Dhabi to see the final race. But in my opinion, the final race should never have been taken from Brazil in the first place. Maybe it will make sure that teams constantly upgrade their cars up until the final round, but I just think that – without being disrespectful – the ‘Strategy Group and F1 commission’ (who actually consist of the teams, FOM and the FIA) have altered rules that didn’t need changing.

I do like that they are putting a cost cap in place. It gives every team a limit to how much they spend in the whole season. It puts them all at a level playing field, if you will. Where no one has a huge advantage over another. It also could boost ‘the show’ between the midfield, as they are constantly rotating through the lower points, but will it stop Sebastian Vettel’s domination? I’m not sure, but we can only wait and see…

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