Double points add pressure

TO maximise the focus on the drivers' and constructors' formula one championships for 2014, the FIA has announced that the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi will carry double points.

While the championship points table has undergone significant changes over the years, this will be the first time that double points have been applied and it will mean there is a far greater chance that the title chase will go down to the final race.

In another change, drivers will be asked to choose a permanent race number between 2 and 99 for the duration of their career in formula one and if more than one driver chooses the same number priority will be given to the driver who finished highest in the previous years championship.

No.1 will be reserved for the current world champion should he choose to use it.

The cost of competing in Formula one has spiralled out of control in recent years and the FIA has adopted the principle of a global cost cap to be applied from January 2015.

A working group is to be established consisting of the FIA representatives of the commercial rights holder and team representatives with the intention that the working group will have a set of regulations approved by the end of June 2014.

The subject of penalties was discussed and it was agreed that five-second penalties will be applied for minor infringements, however the form of those penalties will be discussed with the teams for implementation in 2014.

During the year there were a number of issues with the Pirelli control tyres so the F1 Commission have agreed to a further change to the 2013 sporting regulations, on safety grounds, to allow a three- day tyre test in Bahrain next week.

All teams have been invited to participate, in contrast to the situation early in the year when the Mercedes Benz team were involved in secret tyre testing, which was technically outside the F1 regulations.

So far Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso have taken up the option.

Richards moves

IN a shock move, three-time Bathurst 1000 winner Steven Richards has been announced as co-driver with Craig Lowndes at Red Bull Racing for the 2014 three race endurance championship at Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast.

Richards scored his third Bathurst victory with Mark Winterbottom in the Ford Performance Racing Falcon in this year's event and it was assumed he would continue with the team in that role into the future.

In the last week Lowndes' recent co-driver Warren Luff announced he would not be part of the team's arrangements for 2014.

Richards won his first Bathurst race in 1998 driving a Ford Falcon with Jason Bright and then backed up with another win the following year with Greg Murphy in a Holden Commodore.

Richards joined FPR in 2007 as a full-time driver in the V8 Supercar series before losing his seat to Will Davison at the end of 2010.

He was then thrown a life line when FPR signed him up as Winterbottom's endurance race co-driver in 2011 which continued for three years.

Red Bull Racing has also confirmed that Paul Dumbrell will again co- drive with five-time champion Jamie Whincup in the three endurance races.

This team won the Bathurst race in 2012 and was second this year, so its a strong combination that also took out the inaugural Pirtek Endurance race championship.

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