Formula 1

Superlicence Points – who holds enough to qualify for F1?

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Will Power holds 90 Superlicence points - Credit: Joe Skibinski / IndyCar

Just twenty drivers will line-up on the grid for the Australian Grand Prix at the end of March, but since the introduction of Superlicence points ahead of the 2015 season, twenty-four drivers currently without race experience in Formula 1 have sufficient points to be able to compete, should they be called upon.

The majority of those eligible are from either the Verizon IndyCar Series or the FIA World Endurance Championship, but there are a number of exciting young drivers also on the list.

Will Power currently has the most points of those without F1 experience, with ninety points earned through three top three positions in IndyCar in the past three seasons, including his championship winning season in 2014.

2016 LMP1 champions Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas all have eighty points after two consecutive third places in the championship in the previous years as part of the Porsche team, although that partnership now breaks up for 2017.

Next up on the list is Antonio Giovinazzi, who has seventy-six points after consecutive runners-up spots in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship and the GP2 Series in 2015 and 2016, and he has been rewarded by Scuderia Ferrari, who appointed him as third driver in 2017 behind Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

Another driver who has links with a Formula 1 team is Sergey Sirotkin, who has participated in free practice sessions with both the Sauber F1 Team and Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in recent years, and remains a part of the latter into 2017, with the Russian currently holding on to seventy points.

2016 GP2 Series champion Pierre Gasly earned enough points last year by winning the championship to qualify for a Superlicence, but moves across to the Japanese-based Super Formula championship in 2017 after Red Bull decided not to promote the Frenchman to Scuderia Toro Rosso. Gasly holds sixty-nine points, one more than former Audi LMP1 racer Marcel Fassler and three more than Benoit Treluyer.

Scott Dixon sits tenth in the list, with the IndyCar driver holding sixty-six points after winning the 2015 title as well as finishing third in 2014 and sixth in 2016.

Other IndyCar drivers on the list include veteran Helio Castroneves and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud, while other LMP1 racers on the list are Loic Duval, Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Oliver Jarvis.

Those coming through the single seater ranks already qualifying for a Superlicence include Oliver Rowland, who moves to DAMS for his second season of GP2 in 2017, Louis Delétraz, who moves to GP2 from Formula V8 3.5 in 2017 with Racing Engineering, Charles Leclerc, a Ferrari Driver Academy star and reigning GP3 Series champion, McLaren junior Nyck de Vries, 2014 GP3 champion Alex Lynn, Triple FIA World Touring Car Champion Jose Maria Lopez, 2015 European F3 Champion Felix Rosenqvist and 2016 Formula V8 3.5 champion Tom Dillmann


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Former Toro Rosso racer Sebastien Buemi holds 121 Superlicence points – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

As well as those drivers, ten drivers with previous Formula 1 race experience also have enough points to come back into the sport, should the opportunity arise, although Mark Webber has retired, so the chance of the Australian returning are perhaps extremely remote.

Current FIA Formula E champion and Toyota LMP1 racer Sebastien Buemi currently leads the way with an amazing one hundred and twenty-one points, although the former Scuderia Toro Rosso driver is just three points ahead of Andre Lotterer, who’s points come from a combination the World Endurance Championship and Super Formula. Lotterer made just one appearance in Formula 1 for the Caterham F1 Team back in the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.

Another driver with points from more than one championships is Lucas di Grassi, with the former Marussia F1 Team driver earning one hundred points between WEC and Formula E, while Kazuki Nakajima, once a Williams F1 Team driver, has sixty points thanks to his WEC performances with Toyota and his Super Formula results in his homeland.

Webber has fifty-two points as part of his Porsche efforts in WEC, while Toyota racer Anthony Davidson has fifty-one. The last four names on the list are IndyCar racer Juan Pablo Montoya, Stephane Sarrazin (WEC and Formula E), 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi (GP2 in 2014) and Formula E season one champion Nelson Piquet Jr.


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