Drivers will be awarded one point for setting the fastest lap in 2019 after Formula 1 approved plans to introduce the proposal this season.

The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council authorised plans last week, subject to a vote from the F1 commission and Strategy Group to give the ruling the green light.

It was unanimously backed to be introduced ahead of this weekend’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix, it marks the first time points will be given for fastest lap since 1959.

For a driver to receive a point they must record a top 10 finish, but should anyone set fastest lap outside the points paying positions this would mean no-one will be awarded the additional point.

This adds a tactical element to the race as drivers can now prevent their rivals from gaining extra points in the championship standings by setting fastest lap.

The 2007 and 2008 title-deciders would have had different outcomes if the regulation had been in place at the time. Lewis Hamilton would have won the title in his rookie season but lose the crown the following year to Felipe Massa.

“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,” said F1 managing director Ross Brawn.

“We felt that the reintroduction, after 60 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.”

Valtteri Bottas achieved the DHL fastest lap award last year, the Finn would have secured seven bonus points to add on to his final points total meaning he would have finished two places higher in the drivers’ standings.