The 2015 Formula One world championship is set to be the longest season ever after the World Motor Sports Council announced that the Korean Grand Prix would return to the calendar for the first time since 2013. The Korean round will move from it’s former slot in the end of season fly-away rounds to become the 5th round of the championship in between the Bahrain and Spanish rounds.
The WMSC also announced a number of changes to the rules and regulations for next season, including the removal of the controversial double points final round of the season. Double points were introduced for this year’s end of season race at Abu Dhabi, much to the disapproval of drivers, teams and fans alike. In the end the championship wasn’t decided purely on double points, which helped lead to it’s dismissal for next season.
Another new rule dropped for next season is standing safety car restarts. The rule was set to make it’s début next year and would replace rolling restarts after safety car periods, but instead it has been vetoed. In the place of this, the virtual safety car system, trialled in practice sessions at the US and Brazil rounds this year, will be put into place following Jules Bianchi’s crash at Suzuka. The system will allow for areas of the track to be neutralised without putting the entire race on a lengthy hold.
New penalties have also been introduced for next season. A 10 second time penalty that can be served when a driver comes in for a pit-stop will be introduced following the successful implementation of the 5 second penalty. Penalties for power unit infractions have also been tweaked. Drivers during this season have had to take grid penalties for taking on new components during a race weekend, which in some cases has led to penalties being carried on to the next rounds as they were too far back on the grid to serve the entire penalty. Instead, drivers who aren’t able to be pushed back the number of positions that they have been penalised will be awarded a time penalty to suffice.
The final new regulation to be introduced next season see’s the process of a driver earning his superlicense, which is mandatory if a driver wishes to take part in an official Formula One session, adjusted in the wake of Max Verstappen’s début. Drivers will now have to be at least 18 years old and must have spent at least two years in minor formulae series before they can obtain their license. Verstappen will make his first Grand Prix start at the Australian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso at the age of 17 having only competed in one year of Formula Three having graduated from Karting.