The International Automobile Association (FIA) have announced some major changes to Formula One, including the decision to award double points for the final race of each season.
That rule change, which will come into effect for the 2014 campaign, is designed to ensure the driver’s championship remains undecided until the final race—”in order to maximise focus on the championship until the end of the campaign”, the organisation said in a statement.
Elsewhere, a spending cap will be introduced ahead of the 2015 season, although the exact amount each team will be able to spend has yet to be decided. The FIA said a “working group” will be set up in order to discuss and decide the specifics of the cap, with the aim for it to be approved by the summer of 2014 ahead of its 2015 implementation, but the "principle of a global cap has been adopted."
Furthermore, the FIA has decided to make a change to the race numbers drivers will have on their respective cars. Each driver in the field will now choose a number between 2 and 99, which they will then keep for the entirety of their Formula One career.
If two drivers opt for the same vacant number, than the person who finished higher in the previous season’s championship will be awarded the number.
The No. 1 will be reserved, as was the case previously, for the reigning world champion—although they will not be obliged to use the number if they prefer not to.
The FIA also announced that a new five-second penalty for minor infringements will be employed for next season, although how it will be employed is still to be officially decided. There is also an attempt to avoid the tyre test controversy that dogged some of the 2013 season, with Pirelli undertaking an officially-sanctioned tyre test in Bahrain between December 17-19 this year.
All teams have been invited to the test, with six teams so far having accepted.
The headline change, however, is the decision to award double points in the final race of the season. The decision seems ostensibly in order to try as much as possible to avoid a repeat of the 2013 campaign, which saw Sebastian Vettel win the final nine races of the season, wrapping up the drivers’ title with three races to spare.
Next year’s final race takes place in Abu Dhabi on November 23.