- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PARIS (AP) - Formula One’s championship will be decided by the number of race wins and not accumulated points.

Governing body FIA decided Tuesday that the current points system will remain in effect to determine the driver’s title in the case of a tie, with points also determining the order of the drivers who finish the season behind the overall champion.

Under the new system, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa would have won the 2008 championship instead of Lewis Hamilton of McLaren. The Brazilian driver won six grand prix races to Hamilton’s five.

The 10 F1 teams had been looking to change the points to a 12-9-7 scoring system for first through third place, from its current 10-9-8 allocation. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone had initially preferred a medals tally, but FIA approved Ecclestone’s revised proposal, which will not affect the constructors’ championship.

FIA’s World Motor Sports Council also approved further regulation changes to decrease costs in the face of the worldwide economic crisis.

“All teams will have the option to compete with cars built and operated within a stringent cost cap,” the council said.

A proposed cap of $42 million would cover expenditures of “any kind” and to give such cars greater technical freedom. That would entail “a more aerodynamically efficient upper body, movable wings and an engine which is not subject to a rev limit or a development freeze.”

Car weights will be published following Saturday’s qualifying session and would rename tire grades for better clarity to spectators. Drivers must also be available for further autograph sessions and better media availability.

F1 teams will also be limited to eight one-day aerodynamic tests during the course of the season instead of a total ban on in-season testing, and allowed three one-day “young driver” tests featuring pilots who have not raced more than two GPs in the preceding 24 months.

The council, meeting before the start of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 29, also rubber-stamped Brawn GP’s purchase of Honda while waiving the new entry fee that usually accompanies a new team on the starting grid.

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