F1 changes scoring system

The new points system, scoring 25 for a win, is to encourage overtaking while there are new limits to tyre use.

LONDON // Formula One teams and decision makers have agreed changes to the points system and tyre rules for this season as well as a ban on the controversial "double diffusers" from 2011. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that the new points system will see the top 10 rewarded in a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 sequence to encourage what it called "the race to win". The FIA had said in December that the points would be allocated 25-20-15-10-8-6-5-3-2-1 to reward race winners and encourage overtaking.

The Formula One Commission, which groups the teams and major stakeholders, agreed the amendments to the sporting and technical regulations at a meeting yesterday. The measures will be submitted to the World Motor Sport Council for final approval within 48 hours, although that can usually be taken for granted. The tyre rules will be modified so that those drivers reaching the third and final phase of qualifying will have to start the race on the same set of tyres with which their grid time was set.

That will introduce another strategic element to races. "The number of dry weather tyres sets allocated per team has been reduced from 14 to 11," the FIA added. "In addition, to encourage teams to run during the Friday practice sessions, one set has to be returned before the start of the second practice session, and two sets before the start of the third practice session." For 2011, the "double diffusers" that pitched last season into controversy from the opening race when some teams such as eventual champions Brawn GP turned up with a radical interpretation, will be banned.

The permitted height of the main diffuser was also reduced from 175mm to 125mm. The so-called "split level" or "double-decker" diffuser used by Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams was a radical re-working of a device that improves downforce by channelling the flow of air smoothly under the car. The other teams then had to rush to copy it after losing appeals against it. Teams unveiling their 2010 cars have been coy about their rear diffusers, sparking fears that a fresh row could erupt when the season starts on March 14 in Bahrain.

* Reuters