Longer races among changes for '09
1 January 1901
The World Series by Renault organisers have revealed the latest wave of tweaks designed to enhance the championship in 2009, with an eye on value for money and the series' relativity to Formula One.
The changes were presented to the competing teams during this weekend's Estoril round, and gave hints not only towards next year's calendar but also detail of minor changes that will be implemented in 2009.
Although a definitive schedule has yet to be revealed, seven double-header meetings will be held at some of Europe's most famous venues - including circuits in Belgium, the UK, Spain, Hungary and France. With the series keen to bring itself closer to F1, these are widely expected to, once again, be Spa, Silverstone, Barcelona, the Hungaroring and Magny-Cours - while two additional rounds, including a visit to Monaco, are also planned.
The economics of competition are also being addressed by the plans and, in order to reduce costs and better showcase drivers' talent, the current Thursday test sessions will be scrapped.
There will also be changes made to the format of each race meeting, with increased track time on offer with two one-hour test sessions being held on the Friday. Qualifying remains unchanged for once, with this year's SuperPole innovation retained, while the two races will be extended to 50 minutes apiece.
The scoring system also receives a minor tweak in order to encourage more on-track action, with a bonus point on offer to the driver who makes up the most places in each race. The championship leader at the halfway point of the season will be given the opportunity to drive one of Renault F1's R28 car as part of demonstration during a World Series meeting, while the eventual champion will be offered a test with the ING-backed F1 team at the end of the year.
There are also WSbR-based incentives for those looking to make their way up the ladder, with the winner of the FRenault Eurocup will be awarded a €500,000 grant to help pave the way to the senior series in 2010. The top three finishers in the Eurocup will also be invited to test a World Series machine.
The final, and unelaborated, changes involved the appearance of the Dallara-built World Series car which, it is claimed, will fall more in line with F1 aerodynamic thinking, with 'minor enhancements' inspired by the 2009 grand prix regulations.