Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Penalty System Gets Green Light and More
With preparations for the 2014 season already gathering pace, today’s points of interest include the FIA’s finalisation of the new points penalty system and talk of new teams on the grid from 2015 onwards.
Even with Christmas fast approaching, the sound of F1 cars will once again be heard at a test session in Bahrain early next week.
Penalty System and Driver Numbers Get Green Light
A new penalty points system and personal numbers for drivers to stick to throughout their F1 careers have been incorporated into the 2014 regulations.
The penalty points system will see repeat offenders punished for their on-track misdemeanours, with a 12-point accumulation resulting in a one-race ban, according to article 4.2 of the new regulations as published on Autosport:
In accordance with Article 16.3 [which covers driving standards], the stewards may impose penalty points on a driver's Superlicence.
If a driver accrues 12 penalty points his licence will be suspended for the following event, following which 12 points will be removed from the licence.
Penalty points will remain on a driver's Superlicence for a period of 12 months after which they will be respectively removed on the 12-month anniversary of their imposition.
Unsafe pit releases, of which there were several in 2013, will also be punished by a 10-place grid penalty for the next race, with possible drive-through penalties or 10-second penalties enforceable in the immediate aftermath.
There will also be penalties for engine changes, with 10-place grid penalties enforced for module part changes and a complete powertrain overhaul, meaning the driver will have to start from the pits.
The process for drivers choosing their own individual race numbers has also begun, with the FIA having already asked drivers to nominate their preferred number and a second choice.
Driver numbers range from 2-99, with No. 1 being reserved for the world champion should he choose.
Should drivers choose the same number, preference will be given to the driver who finished higher up in the 2013 standings.
Mallya: Di Resta Did Nothing Wrong
Force India team boss Vijay Mallya said there was nothing wrong with Paul di Resta’s performances in 2013 despite replacing him with Sergio Perez.
Perez was confirmed to partner Nico Hulkenberg in a new-look line-up for 2013, ending Scot di Resta’s three-year stint with the team.
Di Resta scored 48 points in 2013, one shy of his new replacement, and enjoyed a strong finish to the season. However, Mallya told Autosport that a new challenge was required to freshen things up:
Nothing went wrong with Paul. I like him, he is a great friend and hopefully he will remain that but every team needs to move on.
We gave Paul a good stint with us, it wasn't just one year. We gave him the opportunity, he did a lot for us.
If the British fans are disappointed I apologise, but such considerations don't really merit or drive the final choice.
We felt, and all my team members felt, that new car, new challenges, perhaps a new driver line-up would also be appropriate.
Mallya also told Autosport that money was not a contributing factor in the decision to hire Perez, although the Mexican brings substantial backing with him.
I will not compromise the quality of my drivers for money; that is not my philosophy.
I could have retained either of my existing drivers, but at the end of the day we've had them, and had long relationships with both.
I consulted my other team members and they all said new car, new regulations, lets get a new set of drivers who have fire in their belly, who are really hungry.
Sergio fits that bill. He is a gutsy guy, very hungry, and that is what we need.
There might be opportunities going forward in Mexico and Latin America through Sergio, and that part of the world was totally closed to us.
But I don't believe in the paid driver concept. I've had many opportunities in the past to take paid drivers and that is not the philosophy of Force India.
Di Resta still has a chance of remaining in F1, with a possible drive at Sauber his best option, although fellow outgoing teammate Adrian Sutil is also chasing a seat.
Vergne and Kvyat to Test at Bahrain
Toro Rosso has confirmed via Autosport that 2014 drivers Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne will take part in the upcoming tyre test taking place in Bahrain next week, from December 17-19.
Pirelli has been given special dispensation for the three-day test as it begins the process of readying its tyre formulas for the 2014 season.
The Toro Rosso drivers will also be joined by Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari for the test.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are expected to be in action for Mercedes, with Pedro de la Rosa and Jules Bianchi testing for Ferrari. Sebastien Buemi is the sole runner for Red Bull.
FIA Seeks Interest from New Teams
There could be even more teams on the grid from 2015 after the FIA invited potential interested parties to make their interests known.
Currently, there are 11 teams making up the F1 grid after HRT folded at the end of 2012.
Interested parties have been asked to register a formal interest by 17:00 CET (16:00 GMT) on January 3, along with an initial administration fee of $5,000 (£3,000) and details of the identity of all shareholders involved.
The total cost of entering a Formula One team is $130,000 (£80,000). Full applications will need to be submitted by February 10, 2014.
"The overall long term interests of the championship will determine which candidates are selected," read the FIA statement.
"In the event that no applicant is considered suitable by both the FIA and the commercial rights holder, no additional team will be selected."
Along with HRT, Marussia and Caterham were the last F1 teams to be granted places amongst the F1 elite, but neither have scored a point in F1 after four seasons in the sport.
The FIA is expected to make its decision on February 28.