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Bonus point will now be awarded for Fastest Lap

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Effective immediately, drivers that set the fastest lap of the race will be awarded a bonus point if they finish in the top 10.

Although Formula 1 has previously had a bonus point for fastest lap, few in the paddock were even alive when it was last awarded more than sixty years ago.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Drivers outside the top 10 are ineligible for the bonus point, and if they set the fastest time then no point(s) will be awarded.

  • Fastest driver and their constructor will both be awarded a point.

If the fastest lap points had been in play in 2007 and 2008 respectively, Hamilton would have claimed the title in ‘07, but would have lost to Massa in ‘08.

Seemingly a response to more innovative series like Formula E, rumours of the bonus point were met with mixed reaction amongst fans. Most notably, the concern that a bonus point adds little in terms of value, yet could end up deciding a championship in a close season.

Concerns that back-markers could pit late it the race, or even start the race light with the intention of chasing the point have been floated as a justification for eliminating the back-half of the grid.

Ross Brawn expands on the decision further on F1.com:

"Together with the FIA we have been committed to evaluating ideas and solutions that can improve the show whilst maintaining the integrity of our sport,” he said.

“We felt that the reintroduction, after sixty years, of a point for the driver of the fastest lap in the race goes in this direction. We have been considering this solution - which represents a response to detailed research carried out with thousands of our fans around the world – for a number of months.

“How many times have we heard the drivers on the radio ask the team about who holds the fastest lap? Now it will no longer be only a matter of record and prestige, but there will be a concrete motivation that will make the final part of the race even more interesting. Sometimes it is useful to remind ourselves of the heritage of our sport to move forward."

Strangely, discussion about bonus points has excluded awarding one for pole position, which features in the drivers’ unofficial “grand slam” (pole, win and fastest lap), and would avoid any peripheral issues that could disrupt the race.

In 2018 Valtteri Bottas claimed the DHL Fastest Lap trophy after speeding to 7 fastest laps from a possible twenty-one.

F1 teams embrace power of social media to bring fans closer to the action

Fans and teams alike have reacted positively to Liberty Media's relaxation of the use of social media from inside the F1 paddock.

Many teams took the opportunity to have their drivers speak directly to the fans through channels like Twitter and Facebook following Friday's practice sessions.

It was a hot topic during Friday's FIA press conference, with most team principles excited for the potential of reaching fans through new media channels. 

Christian Horner teased that Red Bull could offer fans unprecedented access to their drivers in the lead up to the Grand Prix.

"I think that relaxing the rules regarding the digital platforms, allowing content to be generated—non-circuit content—giving the ability for fans and followers to get a little bit beneath the covers and closer to seeing the personalities of the drivers in the build-up to a grand prix or pre-season is certainly positive.

"It's a media business at the end of the day. Formula One is a media business."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also saw the potential for reaching untapped audiences through new digital channels.

"We have to cover three different generations. We have to cover the long-time followers, so-called middles agers, the Millennials and Generation Z," said Wolff.

"For example," he explained, "when we launched the car we put some time into the car launch, which is a risk on the engineering side, you're compromising your time, and we did a Facebook Live launch, 360, and we had almost a million views in 24 hours and it was successful."

Mercedes' launch video for the W08 earned over a million views in 24 hours.

Mercedes' launch video for the W08 earned over a million views in 24 hours.

Defending their decision to shield Kimi Raikkonen from the press on Thursday, Ferrari team principle Maurizio Arrivabene justified their decision by reiterating that the best way to reach more people is it to utilise as many digital touch-points as possible.

"Yesterday we had Sebastian who was talking and we were using social media and posting something related to Kimi," he explained.

"Liberty also said that in this business at the moment the digital platforms are used at only 1% of the potential. So, the good thing is to find the right balance. Instead of having two drivers on Thursday and talking and doing a copy and paste of one versus the other with the same questions we made sure Sebastian was talking in one way and Kimi in the other."

Watch Rod and Zach stumble their way around Spa-Francorchamps

Have you ever watched your favourite driver dash around Spa-Francorchamps and in a moment of weakness and self-pity thought to yourself, "I'll never be able to do that!" Well, Rod and Zach are here to lift your spirits and reassure you that you... are not alone.

We sure as hell can't do it either, even in a video game!

In Round 3 of their head to head racing series Race/Off, Rod looks to extend his 2-0 lead, but his pedestrian pace and lacklustre lines open the door for Zach to finally get on the board.

The final round takes place in Suzuka and Superlicense Club members will get an exclusive sneak peak.

(Missed Rounds 1 and 2? You might want to start here.)

Rosberg takes maiden victory in Spa with Hamilton on podium

Nico Rosberg cruised to victory unchallenged in Spa, but it was teammate Lewis Hamilton who gained places, avoided troubles and maximised his strategy to move up from second last on the grid to finish on the podium in P3.

Helping Hamilton was a red flag early in the race after Kevin Magnussen lost the rear of his car coming through turn 4 and slid backwards into the barriers. Reports confirmed that Magnussen suffered only a mild ankle injury, but with Monza only a week away and reserve driver Ocon now sitting in a Manor, just who will drive for Renault in Italy if Magnussen can't partake must be part of their post-race debrief.

Max Verstappen who started in P2 on the grid had a terrible launch off the line and then made contact with the Ferrari's in a move reminiscent of Kvyat's in China earlier this year. It was the first of many incidents for Verstappen, with his defending and aggressive lines once again drawing unwanted attention. Post-race Verstappen defended his actions and pointed to his mistreatment at the first corner as justification for his tough justice on the track.

Force India finished 4th and 5th to edge out Williams in the constructors championship, following through on the promise of the last few months of development.

Fernando Alonso put in a measured driver to finish in P7 earning valuable points for McLaren and showed that he still has the determination to muscle his way past teams like Williams who on paper should have been able to withstand any such challenge.

Villeneuve: "F1 is not Hollywood"

As the qualifying disaster that ruined Saturday in Australia threatens to revisit the Bahrain GP, the direction of the sport is again up for debate.

So, what's best for Formula One? Should we shoot it in the face with the make-up gun yet again or streamline the regulations and improve the racing?

As always nobody asked former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve, but he voiced his opinion all the same.

"This desire to make it the most attractive discipline is the wrong fight," Villeneuve said in an interview with French publication Le Figaro.
"We want to appeal to the teenagers who spend their lives on the Internet and like something different every 10 minutes.
"Except F1 will never be that.
"F1 is not a Hollywood show that is produced artificially. Every time it goes in that direction, it becomes less interesting."

After arguing with online trolls this week that F1 needs to tighten the screws on the sporting regulations and review "the show" as a secondary consideration, it's comforting to at least hear a more prominent voice echo a similar sentiment. 

When you listen to F1 fans, it's pretty clear that their complaints have roots in the technical regulations (reliance on aerodynamics means the cars can't follow each other, tyre degradation means the drivers can't push, so on and so forth), rather than "Man, eliminating cars one by one during qualifying would be so baller, brah".

TL;DR - F1 actually isn't a show, and if you offer great racing all the other problems will sort themselves out.

Source: Planet F1