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Last Updated: Tuesday March 17 2009 15:59 GMT

Big shake-up in Formula One rules

Lewis Hamilton

Formula One is getting a big shake-up less than two weeks before the first race of the new season.

From this season the world champion driver will be the one who wins the most races, not the driver who has won the most points over the season.

Had these rules been in place last year, British driver Lewis Hamilton wouldn't have become world champion.

The points system will still be used to decide who is world champion if two drivers win the same number of races.

Last season Hamilton won five races and his Ferrari rival Felipe Massa won six.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton would not have been F1 champ under the new rules

But last season drivers who finish in the top eight places of each race were given points, and Hamilton ended the season with more than Massa had.

The new rules will be in place for the first Grand Prix of the new season, in Melbourne, Australia on 29 March.

Money rules

There will be even bigger changes in 2010 as new rules come in affecting how much money teams spend on their cars.

There will be two options. Firstly, teams will have to spend less money, but they will be allowed more freedom in how their cars are built which could make them go faster.

Or secondly they will be allowed to spend as much as they want, but under special rules that could slow their cars down.