FIA considering pole trophy and permanent numbers
The FIA is considering a couple of changes to the sporting regulations in Formula One for next season, notably a trophy for pole position and drivers having permanent numbers.
According to Autosport, both ideas were raised during the sport’s strategy group meeting that is made up of Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams, Lotus, McLaren and Mercedes, with the decision for a ‘pole trophy’ being borne out of a proposal to give the pole-sitter a point as found in many other racing categories.
The idea of a point for pole has been banded about in Formula One for many years as a way of placing extra importance on qualifying and encouraging drivers to push for first place on the grid. Although the changes made to the points system in 2010 addressed this issue in the races, it has been felt that potentially having championships decided on a Saturday before a race could be damaging for the sport’s reputation. Under this system, Lewis Hamilton would have won the 2007 world championship whilst Mika Hakkinen would have enjoyed a more comfortable gap to Eddie Irvine in 1999.
Instead, it has been proposed that the driver who attains the most pole positions across the course of a season is awarded a trophy at the end of year FIA prize giving. This will spark extra interest among the fans as the battle to win this trophy could outlast that of the main championships.
However, don’t go thinking this will stop Sebastian Vettel from winning everything. He would have won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013, with Lewis Hamilton claiming the most poles last year.
Further to that, the FIA is considering the introduction of permanent numbers in Formula One next season. Currently, the world champion receives the number one car with his teammate number two. Following that, teams are allocated numbers depending on their position in the constructors’ championship. In 2014, Vettel will be number one, new teammate Daniel Ricciardo is number two, Mercedes follow suit with three and four, then Ferrari and so on.
This system was introduced in 1996, but the FIA is now considering a completely new system whereby drivers have a number for their career and keep that number, regardless of the team that they drive for or their position in the championship. The only time that they would change number is if they won the drivers’ championship when they would receive the number one car.
Such a system is used in many other top level motorsports including Moto GP, where drivers such as Valentino Rossi (46) and Marc Marquez (93) use their numbers are part of their marketing efforts. It is thought that a similar system would work in Formula One, and this number would be carried by the driver throughout their racing career. However, teams have said that the regulations would need to be changed in the event of no times being set in qualifying, where currently the results are decided on car number order.
The World Motor Sport Council is set to meet in two weeks’ time where it is thought these ideas will be debated as well as the release of the final draft of the 2014 F1 calendar.