New track, stricter rules for 2011 F1 season

Can the drivers hack it?

A new track and stricter rules for the conduct of Formula One drivers on public roads are just some of the changes the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) World Motor Sport Council will put into effect for the 2011 season.

If it gets the FIA’s approval, the Jaypee Group Circuit in India will play host to the Indian Grand Prix on October 23, 2011. India’s addition to the F1 calendar brings to 20 the total number of races the series will run next year, making it the longest season in the motorsport’s history.

On another note, the FIA will also be cracking down on drivers that could tarnish the sport’s road safety advocacy if they are caught committing a serious traffic violation on a public road by law enforcement authorities.

“Competitors at FIA events must act as ambassadors for the sport, be aware their conduct on the road must be exemplary and respect road safety rules,” the FIA said in a statement. “If an International Super License holder is involved in a serious road traffic offense recognized by a national police authority, the FIA, depending on the severity of the case, may issue a warning or refer the matter to the International Disciplinary Tribunal, which may temporarily or indefinitely withdraw the competitor’s International Super License.”

The FIA will also now require a “competitor’s staff” license for at least six senior members of the team as a measure to protect the integrity of those that are involved in the sport.

According to the FIA, the license’s aim “is to introduce a system that ensures they are subject to the criteria set out in a new FIA Code of Good Standing.”

The FIA’s decision to release stricter rules on drivers is believed to have stemmed from Lewis Hamilton’s arrest when was caught by the police doing burnouts and fishtails in a borrowed Mercedes-Benz outside the track after the Australian Grand Prix’s Friday practice. The “competitor’s staff” license, on the other hand, is believed to be linked to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix “Crashgate” race-fixing scandal.

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