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Page last updated at 18:35 GMT, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

GP wins will decide world title

Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton

Report - Rule changes shake up Formula 1

Formula 1 has introduced a new points system which will result in the driver with most wins crowned 2009 champion.

The current points system will still operate to decide a tie if two drivers have the same wins and to define all other championship positions.

Under these new rules, Lewis Hamilton would have lost the 2008 title to Felipe Massa, who had one more win.

And from 2010, there will be an optional budget cap of £30m that could reduce some teams' spending by 90%.

The F1 teams association (Fota) expressed "disappointment and concern" with the financial changes.

Changes will get drivers racing - Ecclestone

Despite agreeing to a raft of cost-cutting measures for the 2009 season and beyond, Fota is against introducing a limited budget for each team.

Currently, the richest teams are spending as much as 10 times more than the £30m suggested under the budget cap.

In the light of the FIA's latest regulation changes, Fota chairman, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemelo, reiterated the teams' concerns.

"Fota would like to express its disappointment and concern at the fact that these have been taken in a unilateral manner," he said.

"The framework of the regulations as defined by the FIA, to be applicable from 2010, runs the risk of turning on its head the very essence of Formula 1 and the principles that make it one of the most popular and appealing sports."

The budget cap is an attempt to make F1 more accessible to new teams.

F1 rule changes concern Briatore

Teams choosing to operate within the budget cap will be allowed more technical freedom.

Those teams will be allowed: a more aerodynamically efficient (but standard) underbody; movable wings; an engine which is not subject to a rev limit or a development freeze.

Teams can choose to spend what they like, but operate within more restrictive technical rules - and therefore have a theoretically slower car.

The new rules were approved by the World Motor Sport Council of governing body the FIA at a meeting in Paris on Tuesday.

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It rejected a proposal by the F1 Teams' Association to tweak the points system to 12-9-7-5-4-3-2-1 from first to eighth places.

Instead, the current 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system will stay in place.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone announced his intention to shake-up the points system at the end of last season.

Ecclestone's idea was to award the top three drivers with gold, silver and bronze medals with the driver capturing the most golds crowned champion.

While the medals have been abandoned, the new system delivers on Ecclestone's wish of rewarding the driver with the most victories.

The F1 chief believes the new system will be a success and will also encourage overtaking.

"If you're in the lead and I'm second, I wouldn't want to risk falling off the circuit or doing something stupid to get two points," Ecclestone told BBC Radio Five Live.

"The decision was unanimously agreed by the World Council. But we will leave all points in all of the other championships as they are at the moment.

1958: Actual champion: Mike Hawthorn
Most wins champion: Stirling Moss
1964: Actual champion: John Surtees
Most wins champion: Jim Clark
1967: Actual champion: Denny Hulme
Most wins champion: Jim Clark
1977: Actual champion: Niki Lauda
Most wins champion: Mario Andretti
1979: Actual champion: Jody Scheckter
Most wins champion: Alan Jones
1981: Actual champion: Nelson Piquet
Most wins champion: Alain Prost
1982: Actual champion: Keke Rosberg
Most wins champion: Didier Pironi
1983: Actual champion: Nelson Piquet
Most wins champion: Alain Prost
1984: Actual champion: Niki Lauda
Most wins champion: Alain Prost
1986: Actual champion: Alain Prost
Most wins champion: Nigel Mansell
1987: Actual champion: Nelson Piquet
Most wins champion: Nigel Mansell
1989: Actual champion: Alain Prost
Most wins champion: Ayrton Senna
2008: Actual champion: Lewis Hamilton
Most wins champion: Felipe Massa

"If I need a gold medal to win the championship, I will overtake. It's just not on that someone can win the championship without winning a race."

However, the new system could see the season settled much earlier.

The points distribution was introduced in 2003, partly to try to ensure the world championship stayed open for longer at a time when Michael Schumacher and Ferrari were dominating the sport.

Former British F1 driver now commentator Martin Brundle says he will reserve judgement on the alterations.

"I don't really fully see the need to change it," he said. "What we may just have is some more exciting races where they're desperate to take the win rather than settling for second on a particular day, but whether it will generate a more worthy champion remains to be seen."

The FIA also announced plans to publish the weights of the cars after qualifying for each Grand Prix.

That could give a clue to which teams are using the optional kinetic energy recovery system (Kers).

Kers, which allows drivers a boost of an extra 80bhp for 6.7 seconds each lap, weighs around 35kg and could tip some cars - complete with their drivers - over the minimum weight of 605kg.

To improve clarity, wet tyres have also been renamed "intermediates" and extreme weather tyres are now called "wet".

Changes will have limited impact - Brundle

With in-season testing now banned, the FIA will only allow teams to carry out eight one-day aerodynamic tests on a straight piece of track.

Teams will also be allowed to carry out three one-day young driver training tests between the season-ending Grand Prix and the end of the calendar year.

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see also
F1 teams unveil vision of future
05 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Medals would help F1 - Ecclestone
15 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
F1 boss plans scoring revolution
26 Nov 08 |  Formula 1
Last-gasp Hamilton takes F1 crown
02 Nov 08 |  Formula 1

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