The FIA has approved restarting races from the grid after safety car periods from 2015.
The controversial rule change, undoubtedly designed to spice up the ‘show’, was agreed by the decision-making F1 Commission recently but only rubber-stamped by the World Motor Sport Council in Munich on Thursday.
A standing start will used following a Safety Car period except within the first two laps of a race or during the final five laps.
The FIA will again seek to improve the look of the noses of F1 cars while maintaining safety, following the outcry over the ugly noses sported by the cars of 2014.
The rules will also see the return of the sparks that were once so prominent when F1 cars ran too low to the ground in the late 1980s/early 1990s, with a new rule mandating the use of titanium skid blocks.
From 2015, All cars will be limited to just four power units to complete the season, down from five this year. The penalty for using more will be starting from the back of the grid, not from pit lane.
The use of wind tunnels and computer modelling of aerodynamics is also being restricted, while pre-season testing will be restricted to Europe next season.
A proposal to ban tyre-warming blankets for 2015 has also been dropped, but will be up for consideration if the rules for tyre/wheel sizes change in the future.
The change has split opinions within the paddock, with many believing the idea of mid-race grid starts is too “artificial”, or compromising safety for spectacle.
“I guess it’s maybe a bit more exciting because there’s a bit more variability with the standing start,” said Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, arguing that a grid restart could unfairly punish the race leader because it is less predictable than the current safety car procedure.
“I don’t think it’s that bad how it is (now),” said the Australian. “For spectators, it would be better for a standing start but it’s probably not the most fair idea.”
Fernando Alonso, however, is ambivalent, recalling that kart races are often restarted from the grid.
“I did both and it makes no difference, I think, to me,” the Spaniard is quoted by Britain’s Sky. “I don’t have any preference.” (GMM/ThisisF1.com)