The first grand prix of the 2011 season also sees the start of the FIA's licensing scheme for team personnel, as the governing body attempts to prevent a repeat of the 'crash-gate' scandal that rocked the sport two seasons ago.
The process, which was announced during a raft of rule changes towards the end of 2010, will see all twelve F1 teams have to nominate a number of senior team members to register with the FIA at the start of each season. Those members will then be granted a certificate and have to comply with the new FIA Code of Good Standing. Drivers, of course, are already required to meet certain standards in order to be granted the mandatory superlicence to race in the top flight, but the new move means that other individuals, rather than the team as a whole, can be punished for misdemeanours such as those carried out by Renault team boss Flavio Briatore and technical chief Pat Symonds in ordering Nelson Piquet Jr to crash in the early stages of the 2008 Singapore GP.
"In order to preserve the safety and the image of the FIA F1 world championship, the FIA has adopted a new registration system, which applies to all teams competing in the championship," the governing body confirmed, "The FIA and F1's participating teams share a common vision for the safety and image of the FIA F1 world championship. With this in mind, all parties, after fruitful and positive discussions, have agreed to implement this registration system."
The FIA has confirmed that similar systems will also apply to other FIA world championships.