World champion Jenson Button has praised the new points system [AFP]
Formula One has introduced a new points system for the expanded 13-team Formula One championship next season in a record-equalling 19-race 2010 season that will start and finish in the Middle East.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said its world motor sport council had agreed the new system, rewarding the top 10 drivers and handing the winner 25 points rather than the 10 on offer at present.

The change, following the expansion of the starting grid to 13 teams from 10, would not have altered the outcome of the past season won by Brawn GP and Britain's Jenson Button but it would have given points to some drivers who failed to score.

Winning emphasis

"It's a great idea," Button told BBC radio.

"It's nice that you get five points over second for winning.

"That's important because we all love winning races. I won six races this year and I got just two more points (than the second-placed finisher in the race)."

Under the new system, agreed by teams and Formula One stakeholders before being put to the FOA, the race runner-up will get 20 points with 15 for third. The remainder will be allocated 10-8-6-5-3-2-1.

The current format awards points to the top eight in a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 sequence but had been criticised for failing to put a premium on winning.

Season-ender

Yas Marina F1 Grand Prix circuit will hold the season finale [Al Jazeera/James Pratt]
The season will start in Bahrain on March 14 and end at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit, which made its debut this year as the season-ender, in November 14.

A provisional calendar had listed Abu Dhabi as the penultimate race before Brazil but that race in Sao Paulo will now take the penultimate slot on November 7.

South Korea will make its Formula One debut with a new coastal circuit, due to be finished in July, on October 24 subject to the facilities passing an FIA inspection.

Canada also returns on June 13 after a year's absence with the calendar expanded from the 17 races this year to equal the record 19 held in 2005.

The British GP has been confirmed for July 11 after Silverstone negotiated a new 17-year deal with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. Donington Park was stripped of hosting rights due to a lack of finances before staging one race.

New teams

Formula One will have four new teams next year after the withdrawal of Toyota and BMW, whose team will continue as Sauber.

The FIA said experienced former drivers will be added to the pool of permanent stewards called on to officiate at races. The move had been advocated by some in the sport after controversial decisions.

"There will no longer be a non-voting chairman and each group of stewards will elect their own chairman amongst themselves for each race," the FIA said.

"Utilising video and radio exchanges, they should aim to reach decisions very efficiently."

The FIA will also appoint an F1 ambassador for each race to liaise with the national sporting authority.

Source: Reuters