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No extension of double points plan

NEWS STORY
28/02/2014

A meeting of Formula One's Strategy Group has seen Bernie Ecclestone's plans to extend the double points idea to the last three races of the season dismissed.

In a move to 'spice up' the final stages of the season, and with an eye on Sebastian Vettel's domination of the sport in the latter stages of 2013 and the resultant drop in viewers, Ecclestone came up with the idea of double points for the season finale. However, he subsequently revealed to Pitpass business editor Chris Sylt that in reality he wanted the idea expanded to cover the final three races.

The initial proposal caused uproar among fans, team bosses and many drivers, though Mercedes Motorsport boss Toto Wolff was to later reveal that the teams were surprised and overwhelmed by the reaction - even though his own team subsequently mocked the idea in a promotional video.

A meeting of the Strategy Group - which consists of Ecclestone, FIA president Jean Todt and six of the teams, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus, agreed not to extend the idea to the final three races, a move that will be popular with fans on a day it was also revealed that FOTA has been disbanded.

That said, in light of the continuing problems being encountered by the Renault powered teams it is becoming increasingly possible that, ironically, those double points might be just what they need to make up ground lost at the start of the season.

At the same time, and with an eye on Renault's position, and thereby the teams using its power units, it was decided not to extend the deadline for homologation of the 2014 'engines'.

In light of its ongoing problems it had been claimed that Renault was seeking an extension to today's deadline - by weich time the manufacturers have to supply a power unit, complete with plans and software, in a sealed box to the FIA - though the French manufacturer denies this.

Changes can still be made to the power units but only in terms of reliability, safety and cost-saving, not in terms of performance. These units will be homologated again for 2015 at which time some performance changes are allowed.

Other than allowing the top ten cars an extra set of tyres for Q3 - in a bid to prevent drivers not going out in Q3 and thereby saving a set of tyres for the race - it was agreed that Q1 is reduced to 18 minutes (from 20) while Q3 is extended to 12 minutes (from 10).

Meanwhile, it was revealed that the FIA has "delayed" a decision on two potential teams looking to enter the sport in 2015.

Other than the proposed bid from Gene Haas it is understood that a second serious application has been made by a consortium from Romania headed by Colin Kolles, former team principal with Jordan, Midland, Spyker, Force India and Hispania.

Chris Balfe

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