Fans to vote for Driver of the Day

Source:AFP Published: 2016-2-24 23:53:01

New qualifying system established for Formula One

Formula One will introduce a "Driver of the Day" award chosen by fans voting online during the race, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said Wednesday in a statement detailing changes for 2016 and 2017.

It also confirmed that a new qualifying format had been unanimously accepted by teams and other stakeholders and was set to be introduced during the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 20.

The FIA said the driver award is aimed at increasing fan engagement.

The equivalent of soccer's "Man of the Match" will be announced straight after the race during the broadcast proceedings from the podium, where the driver will be presented with a prize.

The governing body also said it intended to introduce some form of cockpit protection ­starting in 2017, with a "halo" concept around the ­driver's head the preferred choice.

Other options, such as transparent cockpit protection, will continue to be evaluated.

Formula One teams met in Geneva on Tuesday, while their new cars were on track in testing in Barcelona, to discuss changes to make the sport more exciting.

With television coverage switching from free-to-air to pay channels in some countries, including Spain, there has been some concern within the sport about dwindling audience figures.

The FIA said a meeting of the core Strategy Group, which includes the governing body, six top teams and commercial rights holders, agreed to postpone the deadline for the finalization of 2017 sporting and technical regulations from March 1 to April 30.

New bodywork regulations for 2017 aimed at creating faster and more aggressive cars were adopted, however.

The FIA said it will continue discussions with teams and tire supplier Pirelli over the best way to test the new tires ­required to handle the demands of the regulation changes.

Pirelli are limited in how much testing they can do, as the regulations also restrict their use of current cars, and the Italian company has expressed concern about the situation.

The governing body ­reported further progress with the four manufacturers on providing cheaper power units to those who want them, making the engines noisier and reducing performance advantages.

The working group aims to reach an agreement by April 30.

Posted in: Motorsport

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