Extreme Sport Makeover: F1 Edition

 It’s the start of a new era for Formula One™

F1™, like everyone at this time of year, is making some major changes going into the new year – some more esteemed than others. We are going to take you through the pros and cons of F1™’s major changes for 2014 – including Points, Pit Stops, Poles and Penalties – starting with the most controversial. 

They Have a Point

FIA recently announced the F1 Strategy Group and Formula One Commission’s unanimous decision to double the points for the final race of the season. In other words, the 2014 F1 Championship race at Abu Dhabi will be worth twice as much as the race before it, giving the winner 50 points instead of the current 25.

Many believe that this point change is just a way to stop four-time Formula One™ Championship winner, Sebastian Vettel, from continuing his streak (MailOnline). While the governing body of motorsports believes that it will “maximize focus on the championship until the end.” (SportingNews)

With the new point system, the 2012 and 2008 champions would have been Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, rather than Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. While these facts may put a bad taste in the mouths of some F1 fans, it gives drivers a fighting chance the ENTIRE season. This past Championship series and the current point system allowed Vettel to clinch the title with three races still left in the series!

 Many drivers are choosing to not speak on up this topic, while others are making it very clear how they feel. Vettel believes that the point change “…is absurd and punishes those who have worked hard for a whole season.” (GP Update)

F1 driver Sergio Perez feels the opposite. “I think it will create a much better final race where things can completely change for everyone,” says Perez. “I see it as a positive… I’m OK with the rule.” (Reuters)

Super Licence Gets Super Strict

As of last week, a penalty points system has been set in place and incorporated into the 2014 sporting regulations. This system was made to keep the sport as consistent and fair as possible, but will allow drivers to be banned from races for the first time ever.

The system is based on a 12-point allowance, so drivers don’t get banned right away or for a simple mistake. Only repeat offenders will be affected by this change, but it could result in those drivers being banned from one or several major races. Some of these penalties include unsafe pit stops and practice sessions, incidents during the races, and engine insufficiencies.

Another Chance to Win

On a lighter note, another change added to the F1™ World Championship’s sporting regulations is a ‘pole trophy’ for the season’s top qualifier starting in 2014. The trophy will go to the driver with the most poles each year, which would have been Vettel four of the last five years had it existed. 

A countback will be used in the event of two drivers being tied for the pole trophy. Those with the highest number of second places will take the trophy. If the countback does not successfully determine the tie, FIA will take into their own hands by nominating the winner “…according to such criteria it thinks fit.” (AustoSport.com)

Make a Pit Stop… Or Two

A major (and controversial) proposed change to F1 is the 2014 mandatory pit stop plan, which will be discussed at next month’s F1 Strategy Group meeting.

This plan not only requires two mandatory pit stops, but poses strict limits on how long they can stay out for and tire specifications. This will be a drastic change for the drivers and their overall strategy, since there will no longer be a need for long lasting tires.

All of these changes – and more to come – are shifting tradition for F1™ drivers, fans and the sport as a whole. Whether these changes bring newfound challenges or advantages to each team and driver, the 2014 season will be one to remember because EVERYTHING is going to change.

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