Double-points finale axed

Published: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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The controversial double-points system introduced into Formula One for the past season has been abandoned after just one year.

On Wednesday the World Motor Sport Council ratified a decision taken following a meeting of the Formula One Commission in Geneva last week.

The scheme was introduced at the behest of supremo Bernie Ecclestone in an effort to prolong the life of a championship and attract high television audiences through to the final race.

Ecclestone’s original concept was for the final three races to carry double points, but it was decided at last year’s meeting of the WMSC the system would only be employed for the closing grand prix.

Upon its announcement the decision was greeted with overwhelming condemnation by fans, whilst drivers past and present also voiced their disapproval.

The recent campaign would still have gone to the wire with the final race in Abu Dhabi even if there had been no double points on offer.

Lewis Hamilton, however, could have lost the title on double points to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg if a certain set of circumstances had unfolded.

Mercifully for Hamilton he emerged victorious, claiming his 11th win of the year, and with it his second world championship.

Following the WMSC’s meeting in Qatari capital Doha, it has also been decided there will be no standing restarts behind the safety car.

The F1 Commission voted in the idea earlier this year, but following a thorough review of the potential difficulties that, too, has been axed.

The WMSC has agreed, however, to the introduction of the ‘virtual safety car’ (VSC) which was successfully piloted at the end of practice sessions at recent grands prix.

The system arose following Jules Bianchi’s accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in early October, with the Frenchman still in hospital in Nice as he recovers from severe head injuries.

The FIA quickly reviewed how best to control a driver’s speed during incidents where a safety car is not required, deciding the VSC, where a speed limit is imposed around the track, to be the ideal solution.

A statement from the WMSC read: “Following tests of the VSC system at the final events of 2014 the introduction of the system has been approved for 2015.

“The VSC procedure may be initiated to neutralise a race upon the order of the clerk of the course.

“It will normally be used when double-waved yellow flags are needed on any section of track and competitors or officials may be in danger, but the circumstances are not such as to warrant use of the safety car itself.”

The WMSC has also stiffened the rules regarding the awarding of a super licence, the document that allows a driver to compete in F1, which will come into force for 2016.

In past years all a driver primarily had to do to obtain a super licence was complete a total of 300kms on track in an F1 car.

Now any driver will be required to hold a valid driving licence, be at least 18 years of age, and understand the sporting regulations and international sporting code.

He or she must also have two years’ experience in minor formulas, whilst a points system requirement will be also be applied based on a driver’s results in those formulas.

It is clear the FIA are responding to the sudden influx of young and potentially under-qualified drivers into motorsport’s top tier.

If the new regulations had been in force now, Toro Rosso would not have been able to recruit Max Verstappen to their team for 2015 as he has not long passed his 17th birthday.

Published: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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