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F1: FIA unveils rule changes to try to win back fans - including a double-point final race

The FIA hopes the changes will increase the competition faced by the champion Sebastian Vettel  

Formula One will award double points for the last race of the season in an attempt to keep championships undecided until the very end, the sport’s governing body announced on Monday.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said the change, after a season of record domination by Red Bull and quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel, was immediately applicable and would “ maximise focus on the championship until the end of the campaign”.

Vettel, 26, won the last nine races of 2013 and wrapped up his fourth title with three rounds to spare. The FIA hopes that will not be the case come next year’s season-ender in Abu Dhabi on 23 November.

The FIA also announced, after a meeting in Paris of its Formula One commission and the sport’s strategy group, that the principle of a global cost cap had been unanimously approved, with the aim of introducing it from January 2015. The Paris-based body said a working group, made up of the FIA, the commercial rights holder and team representatives, would be established to work on having regulations approved by the end of June next year.

A change to the system of driver numbers was agreed, with drivers carrying their number through their career rather than taking a new one every year depending on where they finished.

The number one will be reserved for the world champion, should he decide to use it. Should more than one driver choose the same number, preference will be given to the man who finished highest in the previous year’s championship.

The principle of a five-second penalty for minor infringements was also accepted for 2014, with teams to discuss how it should be applied.


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