The FIA has today pushed some changes to the Superlicence structure, making it harder for drivers to enter Formula 1 without first spending more time in the lower formulae.
Whilst drivers hoping to compete in Formula 1 have always been required to earn a Superlicence – the highest type of licence available in motor racing, and reserved for the best drivers on the planet – the path to achieving one has been altered.
To qualify for a Superlicence, drivers have to earn 40 points over a three-year period in other motorsport championships. Whilst this hasn’t changed, the rulings today have changed the way these points will be handed out, and will affect the way drivers can progress through these formulae.
FIA Formula 2
Each season will see the top three drivers from Formula 2 receive 40 points each – enough to progress to Formula 1. Points from the GP2 Series, the former name of Formula 2, will remain, and count towards a driver’s total.
FIA European Formula 3
The FIA European Formula 3 has been the subject of a lot of attention in the past few seasons, with both Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll jumping straight into Formula 1 from the championship – leapfrogging Formula 2.
The updates to the number of points handed out mean that, although Verstappen progressed after just one season, it’s far less likely that it will happen again.
European Formula 3 champions will no longer receive the necessary 40 points to enter Formula 1 after one season, with the winner now receiving just 30. Second place sees its points fall from 30 to 25, whilst the remaining points remain the same.
FIA Formula E
FIA Formula E sees the same changes to its points as European Formula 3, with points falling from the necessary 40 to 30. This will make it harder for drivers to make the shift into Formula 1 from Formula E.
GP3 Series champions will only receive 25 points, in place of the previous 30.
World Series Formula V8 3.5
Formula V8 3.5 is one of the hardest-hit championships, with points for the champion getting cut by almost half – from 35 to just 20. Points for lower finishers have also been reduced, and will only be handed to those who finish ninth and above.
This doesn’t make it impossible for drivers to jump from Formula V8 3.5 straight into Formula 1 though, as two championship-winning seasons would see drivers accrue enough points.
FIA World Endurance Championship – LMP1
Whilst points have been increased for finishers between fourth and tenth, they’ve been reduced for first and second place. Winners of the championship will receive 30 points in place of 40, ruling out an immediate switch, whilst second place will take 24 points instead of 30.
Verizon Indycar Series
Nothing will change in Indycar, with first, second and third still receiving 40, 30 and 20 points respectively. All other competitors in the top ten will continue to earn points.
The Japanese-based Super Formula championship is another that has been affected, with points reduced for the top six finishers.
Despite a raft of points reductions for many of the formulae, the news isn’t all bad, as the Superlicence points have been opened up to several new championships.
The top level NASCAR Cup Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Indy Lights are among the new championships where drivers will earn Superlicence points, giving drivers the potential to enter Formula 1 without the need to compete in the traditional formulae.
Superlicence Points System
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