The FIA have announced a revamp of their system that enables up-and-coming drivers get a Superlicence from the 2016 season, which comes on the back of Max Verstappen’s meteoric rise into Formula 1, with the seventeen year old set to make his debut with Scuderia Toro Rosso after just one year in single-seaters.
Verstappen is virtually guaranteed to be the youngest driver ever to race in the top level of motorsport, with the FIA insisting that any future driver must be at least eighteen years of age. Drivers will also be required to pass a test on the sporting regulations, and compete in at least two seasons in junior single-seater categories.
A new points system has also been introduced, with drivers requiring at least 40 points over a three-year time frame to be eligible for an F1 Superlicence. Only five series listed enable a driver to earn that number of points in a single go – the American based IndyCar Series, The LMP1 class of the World Endurance Championship, the GP2 Series, the European Formula 3 Championship, and a future Formula 2 Championship.
Champions of both the GP3 Series and Formula Renault 3.5 Series will not earn enough points to achieve a Superlicence, and will need to rely on previous seasons to be eligible to get into F1.
For the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in particular this seems harsh, with the past two series champions – Kevin Magnussen and Carlos Sainz Jr both having made it into Formula 1 the following season. Based on the current Superlicence requirements, Sainz would not be eligible for a Superlicence had the rules being implemented for 2015.
Verstappen also would not have been eligible, even before his age was taken into account. His third place in the European Formula 3 Championship in 2014 with Van Amersfoort Racing would have only given him 20 points, and it would have meant a further year in junior categories would have been required.
The fact that a ‘future F2 Championship’ is on the list of points-scoring championships indicates that the FIA are looking to bring back the series that was last won by Briton Luciano Bacheta in 2012 at some point. Winning the F2 championship would give the Champion the most points of any series listed.
|Future FIA F2 Championship||60||50||40||30||20||10||8||6||4||3|
|FIA Formula 3 European Championship||40||30||20||10||8||6||4||3||2||1|
|FIA World Endurance Championship (LMP1)||40||30||20||10||8||6||4||3||2||1|
|Formula Renault 3.5||30||20||15||10||7||5||3||2||1||0|
|Japanese Super Formula||20||15||10||7||5||3||2||1||0||0|
|National F4 Championships (FIA Certified)||10||7||5||2||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|National F3 Championships||10||7||5||2||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Formula Renault (Eurocup, ALPS or NEC)||5||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|