Motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, has announced a series of rule changes for the 2015 Formula One World Championship, one of which is the addition of the Korean Grand Prix to the official calendar, bringing the total number of races to 21. However, the Korean race may not necessarily happen, as its placing on the calendar is only a provisional one and insiders suggest it only happened to allow teams an extra engine in next year’s season.
With the previous 20-race calendar, teams were to be allocated just four power units, with a penalty should additional units be needed. However, with more than 20 races, the allocation would need to be raised to at least five units, the same as this year’s season. Currently, the Korean Grand Prix is listed as the fifth round of the 2015 calendar, sitting between races in Bahrain and Spain. The last F1 race was run in Korea in 2013.
Other changes include dropping the controversial double points system for the final race and dropping the proposal for standing starts after safety car periods. One significant change will be the introduction of the ‘virtual safety car,’ where instead of an actual safety car coming out onto the track speed limits may be imposed in some situations.
Other changes fall in the areas of penalties for power unit changes, procedures for lapped cars when the safety car is out, minor technical changes, and minimum age and experience levels for the issuing of super licenses.
In other F1 news, the BBC is reporting that the Volkswagen Group is conducting a feasibility study into a potential entry to the sport, and none other than former Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, who now works for Audi, is said to be leading the study. The news comes just months after it was reported that Audi was looking at competing in F1 by as early as 2016, though fellow VW Group brand Porsche is also said to be a possibility.
Apparently VW Group management are a little jealous of the success—and attention—rival automaker Mercedes-Benz has enjoyed this season. The Mercedes AMG F1 team took out the 2014 Constructors’ Championship, while its star driver Lewis Hamilton won the title in the 2014 Drivers’ Championship.
However, it may be several years until a VW Group brand is competing in F1. Apparently the animosity between VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piech and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is so great that any deal is unlikely to happen until one of them leaves their position.