Formula 1 has confirmed the introduction of an extra point being available to the driver who sets the fastest lap of the race, starting with this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

As reported last week, the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) had already approved the re-introduction of the rule that was last used in 1959. Starting immediately, a driver will receive a point for setting the fastest lap of the race, as long as they are classified inside the top 10 at the end of the grand prix. The constructor also receives a point, but if the fastest lap is set by a driver outside the top 10, then no point will be awarded.

The limitation to the top 10 finishers to scoring a point is aimed at avoiding drivers completely out of contention at the end of a race pitting for fresh tires and trying to score the point, or having a car that would have otherwise retired trying to set the fastest lap in the closing stages while a number of laps down.

F1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn says the late introduction of the rule – which has now been unanimously approved by the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission – should not detract from the amount of research behind its implementation.

“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,” Brawn 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.”

As a result, a driver can now score a maximum of 26 points during a race weekend (25 for a win and one for fastest lap) while teams can pick up a maximum of 44 points if their cars finish first and second while setting the fastest lap.