Formula 1

Double points, standing restarts dropped at WMSC meeting

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The despised Double Points ruling and the proposed Standing Restarts after a safety car period have both been dropped amid a number of rule changes in Formula 1 after the meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Doha.

The council has also voted in the introduction of the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) when double flags are waving on track, plus an alteration in the way Power Unit Penalties are applied.

A brief round-up of the important rule changes are listed here:

Double Points and standing restarts

The ill-received double points ruling, that allows the top ten of the final race of the season to score double the normal amount of points in a grand prix, has been dropped after just one season.

The ruling that was to see standing restarts after safety car periods have also been shelved after consultation with teams and fans saw an almost universal dislike for the idea.

Virtual Safety Car

The VSC was tested during the final few events of the 2014 Formula 1 season, and has been approved for use full-time in 2015, with the clerk of the course being responsible for the neutralisation of the race where double waved yellow flags are being shown where competitors and/or officials may be in a place of danger.

When the order is given for the VSC, a message will be displayed stating ‘VSC DEPLOYED’ on the official messaging system, with all FIA light panels displaying ‘VSC’. All competitors must reduce their speed and must exceed a minimum time by the FIA ECU at least once in each marshalling sector.

Drivers risk penalties for failing to adhere to the new rules, which will stay in place until the ‘VSC ENDING’ message is displayed and the ‘VSC’ on the light panels changes to green.

Power Unit Penalties

A change has been made to the way power unit penalties are applied, with the carry over rule dropped in favour of a time penalty during the race if a full grid drop cannot be undertaken during the event, such as what happened to Romain Grosjean in Abu Dhabi.

The type of time penalty will depend on the number of grid positions a driver cannot take, with five-second, ten-second and drive-through penalties being possible punishments.

Unsafe Release

A ten-second stop and go penalty will be applied to any driver who has been released in an unsafe manner during a pit stop. Additional penalties can be imposed if the stewards deem the driver continues to drive their car knowing that they have been unsafely released.

Red Flags and Safety Car Procedures

Should a race be red flagged for any reason, cars will now line-up in the pit lane as opposed to the start and finish straight. The first car to arrive in the pit lane should proceed to the pit exit line and stop, with the rest of the cars lining up behind.

When behind the safety car, the rules regarding lapped drivers have been altered so to quicken the restart of the race. Drivers were forced to wait for the lapped runners to rejoin the back of the pack before the restart, but now once the final car has un-lapped themselves, the race will be restarted at the end of the following lap.

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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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