F1 to have licence-style penalty points in 2014

Formula One will introduce a licence-style penalty system next season with an immediate race ban slapped on drivers when they rack up more than 12 points, the sport's governing body announced today.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement after its World Motor Sport Council met at Goodwood in southern England that points would stay on the driver's licence for 12 months.

The number of points a driver would receive for infringements will vary from one to three depending on the offence.

The FIA also relaxed a ban on testing during the season, an issue that led to Mercedes and tyre supplier Pirelli being summoned to a tribunal earlier this month for a 'secret' test in Spain in May.

Pirelli, who were reprimanded along with Mercedes, and some of the bigger teams have been pushing hard for a return of the in-season testing that was banned in 2009 to cut costs in the face of a global economic crisis.

Four two-day track tests will now be allowed during the season instead of the current eight one-day promotional 'filming' days and a three-day young driver test.

The tests will take place at European circuits and be scheduled for the Tuesday and Wednesday after a race to keep a lid on extra costs.

Testing will also be allowed in January 2014 to give teams more time to work with the new V6 turbocharged engines that are being introduced next year in one of the biggest changes in years.

Wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics work will be reduced significantly to help reduce costs and allow teams to share wind tunnels.

Other measures include providing each driver with an extra set of tyres for use only during the first 30 minutes of first Friday practice.

That would have been a useful improvement at the British Grand Prix on a wet Friday morning, when only half the field set a timed lap.

New engine and gearbox regulations were confirmed, with drivers having to complete the season with just five power units or start from the pitlane at each race where an extra one is used.

"Any changes of individual elements above the permitted five, such as turbocharger, MGU (motor generator unit) or Energy Store, will result in a 10 grid place penalty," the statement added.

Drivers must also use the same gearbox for six consecutive events, instead of five at present, and cars must go the race distance with a maximum 100kg of fuel.

Minimum car weight limits have been increased by 5kg to allow for the heavier new power unit.

The governing body also promised that the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race on June 14/15 would not clash with any Formula One race.

It said negotiations on a new 'Concorde Agreement', the confidential agreement governing the sport's commercial affairs and distribution of revenues, were 'close to conclusion' with the intention of signing a contract in the near future.

Much the same was said at their last meeting before the start of the season.