Max Verstappen, European Formula Three, Van Amersfoort Racing, Nurburgring, 2014

Is the FIA superlicence points system a step forward?

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Max Verstappen, European Formula Three, Van Amersfoort Racing, Nurburgring, 2014We’ve had over a week to digest the implications of the new points system the FIA has introduced to determine which drivers can compete in Formula One from 2016.

The rule means new drivers will only be allowed to race in F1 if they have accumulated at least 40 superlicence points over the previous three seasons based on which categories they have raced in and how well they have performed.

However concerns have been raised about the new system and the FIA has already indicated it could be revised. Do you think they have got the balance right?

For

Max Verstappen’s promotion to Formula One at the age of 17 after a single season in a junior formula showed the need for the FIA to take a more active stance when it comes to regulating which drivers deserve to get into F1.

Verstappen would be ineligible to race in F1 this year under the new system. The same goes for other drivers who have paid their way into F1 recently, such as Max Chilton, who is reported to have brought £7 million per year to race for Marussia.

The superlicence points system will make it harder for drivers to buy a grand prix seat, and it will force aspiring F1 racers to spend more time and have more success in the junior categories.

Against

When concerns were raised in 2001 about Kimi Raikkonen’s suitability to compete in F1 having started just 23 Formula Renault 2.0 races, he was given a superlicence on a provisional basis. Those fears proved unfounded, and he went on to become a world champion.

In the same way the FIA has now pre-judged the suitability of Verstappen, who has started almost twice as many races as Raikkonen had. But instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt the FIA has hastily rewritten the rulebook, and in doing so they have reduced the teams’ freedom to pick whichever driver they consider best to race their cars.

As the sport’s regulator, it should be up to the FIA to determine who is competent enough to race an F1 car, but not who is competitive enough. Furthermore, their points system fails to reflect the competitive standards of each championship, and is clearly skewed to rank FIA-endorsed series much higher than the others.

I say

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Super Formula, Sugo, 2014I have a minor vested interest here as I commentated on Formula Renault 3.5 races last year. The superlicence points system seems to be partly aimed at re-establishing GP2 as F1’s preferred feeder series. Consider that none of the top two drivers in the GP2 standings in the last three seasons have made it into F1, whereas three of their counterparts from Formula Renault 3.5 have.

The case of Japanese Super Formula is even more galling. These cars lap within 5% of F1 times at tracks like Suzuka. Anyone who succeeds in this series can handle an grand prix car, yet the champion gets just 40% of what his GP2 equivalent earns.

Other worthy series like Auto GP, Euroformula Open and even the DTM – which Paul di Resta recently used to reach F1 – are ignored completely. Di Resta is one of many talented drivers, along with Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and others, who would have been excluded from making their F1 debuts under this system.

I do think the fact more drivers have been promoted to F1 based on their wallets rather than their talent is a cause for concern. But the root problem here is that teams have resorted to this measure because of F1’s high costs and unequal distribution of income. Once again, the FIA is applying sticking plasters and ignoring the deeper ailment.

I can understand why, particularly after last year’s reminders of the dangers of F1, some are wary about seeing a 17-year-old race at the top flight this year. So I don’t object to the minimum age limit of 18 the FIA has previously announced will come into force from next year. But the superlicence points system has little to do with improving the quality of F1 drivers, and is chiefly concerned with protecting the FIA’s interests.

You say

Do you approve of the FIA’s new superlicence points system? How will it change the priorities of drivers trying to reach F1? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Do you agree the FIA's superlicence points system is a positive change for F1?

  • Strongly agree (6%)
  • Agree (33%)
  • Neither (13%)
  • Disagree (25%)
  • Strongly disagree (22%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 291

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 91 comments on “Is the FIA superlicence points system a step forward?”

    1. It is unnecessary bad politics.
      And it will suffer changes through all the wrong ways (political)…

      1. I think it was necessary! Drivers like Gutierrez, Erricsson and Chiltion do not belong in F1. They do not excel at anything at all and yet the wallets dictate that they leapfrog better candidates. That’s just not right. At least this way young chargers earn their stripes first. You don’t expect to graduate from university and walk straight into a management job do you? You earn your experience first then get promoted. The same should apply to F1. As for DTM I don’t know why anyone would be concerned. F1 is an open wheel series and share little with DTM so why should it be considered as a stepping stone to F1?

        1. But it’s been designed so poorly… To use your examples, Gutierrez would have scored 30 points for his 3rd in GP2 (and Chilton 20), putting both of them closer to F1 than Ricciardo and JEV for their time in FR3.5….

          It would be a good thing if it wasn’t executed with such obvious bias.

    2. Liam McShane (@)
      18th January 2015, 11:48

      Right idea, badly implemented.

      1. My thoughts entirely.

      2. @motor_mad Same here … My first reaction was why not forbid drivers to bring money, this would force teams to hire the best drivers available. But that would be difficult to control and probably that some drivers would drive ‘for free’ which is not good either.

        Thus I get this is a good move, but unfinished as the point system is not great yet. And it does push towards GP2 and upcoming F2 series. It could make GP2 a fantastic serie to watch for years to come (already highly competitive) but I’m not sure it will improve F1 grid or F1 in general in the near future.

        1. @jeanrien, I don’t want to sound rude here, but I don’t think you’ve completely thought through your suggestions.

          Every single driver in the field has some degree of personal sponsorship and are therefore effectively bringing money to the team, so your absolute position would disqualify the entire field, not to mention ruling out vast swathes of the drivers in junior series.

          I also think that, to be honest, some figures are all too quick to throw around accusations that a driver has only got a seat because of money.
          Just look at what happened with Kvyat last year – we saw many throwing around accusations that the decision was motivated by money, even though there has been no evidence that was the case. We have seen that Kvyat acquitted himself quite respectably and, at the end of the season, was actually ranked ahead of Vergne by many of the same people who had belittled his achievements only a year earlier.

      3. Exactly, once again the question asked has 2 parts but only 1 vote. Do I think a points system is a good idea ? Yes. Do I think this points system is good ? No.

      4. This is the right statement! +1

      5. @motor_mad
        Imo: Right idea, needs fine tuning.

        Also: While this was a necessary move to improve the quality of the grid, I feel that more measures need to be taken urgently to reduce the crippling financial pressure from the second half of the grid, which was why teams started to sign mediocre drivers with huge budgets in the first place.

    3. I think it’s a good idea, I just think it’s been done wrong.

      1. Exactly. The problem here, in my opinion, is allocating points to the top finishers of the championships, thus excuding potentially good drivers in bad cars. If points were given based more on experience and less in performance, then it would make sense. As Keith points out, the system should ensure who is capable of driving a F1 car properly, not who is able to do so successfully.

        1. Agreed. Really it is up to the team to do their “due diligence” in respect of the drivers they choose, just as it is your own responsibility to make sure the car you buy actually suits your lifestyle, or the plumber you employ to fix that dripping tap does have the right tools to do the job.
          I don’t want to be critical of Verstappen’s appointment, because for him it is a dream come true, so I’ll hold my peace in this regard in case I’m wrong. That said, I also think there will be a lot of very disappointed (I did say “very disappointed” didn’t I? Oh yes, I did) GP2 drivers who will now be wondering if they have chosen the right career path. I’m guessing many of them have at least considered saloon car racing, and decided instead to continue in GP2 in the hope of securing an F1 contract. Now they will be wondering if they should throw in the towel and head for another racing series. Really, what future is there for the top GP2 drivers now? Palmer, for example, what more can he do? He’s won the GP2 series, he has a Super Licence, but no, that isn’t good enough.
          In a sense it does raise the question of is the format for GP2 correct for a series that amongst other things is supposed to be a feeder series for F1? Verstappen’s appointment suggests the format needs to change.

          1. @drycrust

            Really, what future is there for the top GP2 drivers now? Palmer, for example, what more can he do? He’s won the GP2 series, he has a Super Licence, but no, that isn’t good enough.

            I don’t agree that winning GP2 (or FR3.5) automatically makes a driver F1-worthy. Palmer, like Leimer and Valsecchi before him, spent four years racing in GP2. To me the really stand-out drivers are the ones who impressed in their first seasons against more experienced competition: the Hamiltons, the Hulkenbergs and the Vandoornes.

            I’m not saying Palmer, Leimer and Valsecchi aren’t good drivers or even that they wouldn’t do well in F1. But by creating such a strong incentive for drivers to spend year after year in GP2 in pursuit of the title there’s a risk that those who can afford to will do just that.

            To put it another way, what if Palmer hadn’t won the title last year but came back this year and won it: Would he still deserve a shot at F1 in those circumstances? How about in 2016?

            1. @keithcollantine
              I feel GP2 is being undervalued. I don’t like to say who an F1 team should employ, but on the other hand I think they do have an obligation to at least consider the winner of a racing series who’s main aim is to supply F1 drivers.
              I should add that on reflection I felt my comment above about holding my peace sounds a bit “smug” and that I should say what I think, and if there is egg on my face later on, then so be it. So here are my thoughts on Verstappen’s performance as a racing driver:
              I don’t think his performance to date is really what I’d expect from a world champion driver. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a world champion driver, just that at this level of driving it isn’t just driving skill that gets results, it is a whole lot of skills that get results.
              Several years ago Lenox Lewis, the World Heavy Weight Boxing Champion had a fight with one David Tua from New Zealand, and after the fight he said “You don’t come into the ring with the world boxing champion with a right hook and a funny hair cut”. I’m not sure exactly what he meant regarding David Tua, but to me what he was saying was the skills you need to be the WHBC are much greater than what David Tua possessed. When I looked at Verstappen’s European F3 racing series results he had 8 retirements and 15 podiums out of 33 races. While the podiums sound good, the retirements are what concern me, as these suggest his skills aren’t quite where they should be.

            2. @keithcollantine It’s also notable that if only Feature races counted (and but for the pit snafu in Sochi) then Vandoorne would have won GP2. Considering he was a Pirelli/GP2 rookie, that puts him firmly in Hamilton/Hulkenberg territory. I’d say he’s in Hamilton 2007/early F1 form at the moment.

              Now, if some small teams existed with money from F1 to survive, they would definitely hire that driver. Also, even under the current paradigm, they have folded anyway and thus Palmer gets no chance for an F1 drive as the current GP2 champion. The going rate for a ‘pay-drive’ is £500k per race, yet you need a team to pay it to..

              @drycrust He is raw, but what makes him stand out as WDC material is the speed of advancement – that’s the true mark of a WDC. Is it a co-incidence that the ‘old WDCs’ on the grid: Raikkonen, Alonso, Button, Massa all got promoted to F1 within a few years? One of those (FA) is still at his best – so Max has time to refine himself (well, a year at least with Red Bull…).

            3. Davidson and Lotterer also almost established themselves in F1 very quickly.. but after failing to do so (ironically probably losing out to ‘pay-drivers’), then won the WEC instead.

              PS. GP2 exists to make Bernie money… why else is the going rate for a season at least double that of FR3.5? (say £1.5m vs. £750k?) GP3 is an extension of GP2 and £500k p.a. (that one I’m sure of).

    4. I voted agree. It is time they work out a system where just having money combined with average talent doesn’t get you into F1. With all things in the rulebook it needs refinement but that will come with time.

      1. @xtwl Wouldn’t it be better if the teams received sufficient money for competing in F1 that they didn’t need to take on pay drivers in the first place?

        1. @keithcollantine Obviously. It would be even better if the tracks didn’t have to pay to be on the calender so tickets would be much cheaper. It would also be much better if we had thrilling seasons like 2010 or 2012 year in year out but we can’t have it all. I try to see this as a step in the good direction rather than breaking it down before we’ve even seen its result. Amongst standing restarts, double points and ‘4 engines per season’ I really don’t think this new system is all that bad for starters. So as I wrote in the opening comment, it needs refinement and I hope, I really do hope, that’ll come, otherwise it’s just another rule pushing fans away and I don’t like that idea one bit.

          It’s quite clear that we, as fans, and the teams are going through a rough time and sadly we don’t have a voice so for the time being we have to accept what these old farts decide and hope they decide in the interest of the fans, the teams and everyone involved. And as a long time fan it hurts me to see what state the sport is in, but I cannot do anything about it can I?

        2. that would be ideal. I’ve never been fond of pay drivers. Formula 1 has some of the greatest drivers in the world, and that sentiment should hold through all the way to the back of the grid.

        3. In a sense all drivers are pay drivers, they all need to be able to attract enough money to pay for the seat they occupy. For example Alonso seems to attract Santander’s money wherever he goes.
          This rule change won’t change the presence of drivers who directly pay for their seat, all that will happen is the sponsors will have to be more selective as to whom they sponsor.

          1. @drycrust It should be sponsors wanting to affiliate themselves with a driver, not drivers who want sponsors because without them they wouldn’t reach F1.

            First you got to be good, then people want to sponsor you. Not the other way around.

            1. @xtwl I’m not sure I understand the difference, but one aspect we both agree on is that sponsors are essential to racing at this level, which is one of the things that I find so unfair about F1 and other motorsport only viewable on Pay-TV, because sponsors don’t get seen by lots of people.

            2. @drycrust

              Case 1: I’m a good driver, I win races, I am in newspapers, people know and love me. A company sees that and wants their logo on my shirt so people see it. I am Alonso and that company is Santander

              Case 2: I race, I am average but get into my own country its papers from time to time because sometimes I do something out of the ordinary. Some people know me. A sponsor wants to hike on my mediocre popularity and wants their logo on my shirt. Luckily for me their money also means I can advance on the racing ladder. I am Giedo Van Der Garde and that company is McGregor.

            3. @xtwl
              In both of those scenarios a company wants to sponsor the driver and car for a simple commercial reason: to gain business. In both cases they rely on the media to carry their association with that driver and car to the public.
              Unfortunately, there has been a move away from motor sports being seen on Free-to-Air TV to being seen on Pay-TV, and where I live F1 is only available on the high end Pay TV packages. So now a sponsor doesn’t get “free publicity” when they sponsor a team, the still remain obscure.
              Santander support Alonso. According to the “List of Formula 1 Broadcasters” entry in Wikipedia, F1 races are seen on Free to Air TV in Spain, so every time the camera shows Alonso racing hundreds of thousands of people get to see the name Santander. Would they support him if hardly anyone in Spain was able to see an F1 race? I realise Alonso is probably a nice person, and we can come up with lots of good reasons Santander should continue to hand over tens of millions of Euros to support him and his car, but for them there would be almost no commercial benefit gained from doing so if F1 was only seen by those who have to have a high end Pay-TV package.
              Santander would be offering to support Alonso to the tune of several hundreds of thousands of Euros, not tens of millions, which isn’t enough to pay for even one engine.

            4. @drycrust Maybe a bad example but what I was trying to tell you there are sponsors who want to be linked with drivers (due to popularity, likeability, whatever) and then there are drivers who go beg sponsors to pay for their F1 seat.

    5. It is a good initiative to assure driver have some amount of quality before entering F1.
      Although the system is not totally fair.
      For GP2 to have much more importance than FR3.5 is bad for both classes.
      FR3.5 becomes less important so it’ll be hard to get good drivers for those teams.
      The seats at top teams in GP2 become a lot more expensive. Everyone wants to drive at the top teams, because at a lower team you can impress sometimes but finish in the top of the championship is almost impossible, so you don’t get any super licence points for that. The top teams can sell their seat to the highest bidder, preventing top talent without a big budget from a getting a good seat. So reasonably talented pay drivers now have a good chance of getting seats a top teams and finish in the top of the championship which gets them enough points for a Super Licence

    6. The system should be spend at least 2 years in a recognised series before you can be eligible. If they make it to F1 and aren’t up to standard then the FIA can revoke their super licence like they did to Yugi Ide years ago.

    7. The FIA should make sure drivers are competent and adult, but judging if a driver is fast enough…. that is outside their area of expertise.

    8. I think there’s a genuine chance that GP2 will be even more of a long term plan for talentless rich drivers. Drivers will keep a seat three seasons hoping to just pass the threshold. Bad idea.

    9. I’ve got about the same opinion than everyone : it’s not the idea that is bad, it’s HOW it’s done that is bad.

      The idea of having a stricter access to F1 (with a minimum amount of running in relevant feeder racing series and a age limit) is a good one. It givees some value to all these racing series like GP2, F3.5, Superformula, and we don’t have F1 rookies who lack experience (like Verstappen) or talent (like Chilton, Ericsson and countless pay drivers who gradute to F1 after a 10th place in GP2).

      But, the problem is how the system is implemented. It’s a disaster and it probably won’t have the effects it claims it will have. We now have a system that rewards drivers wo compete in GP2 and GP3 (and FIA F3 somehow). While F3.5, which has cars similar (if not better) than GP2 isn’t enough to be eligible for a F1 seat. The possible consequences are that series like F3.5 will be devaluated, and talented young drivers will skip a championship wich prepares quite well for F1 (F3.5 has V8 engines, DRS, and cars that go has fast as GP2). But GP2 hasn’t been such a succesfull series in the recent years. The idea of GP2/GP3 is that drivers have to proove themselves in equal cars. The reality is that in GP2 (probably more than any other feeder series), being in a good team makes all the difference (all GP2 champions have been in the same teams). So if you jump directly in GP2 in a good team and you don’t perform too bad in 2-3 years is enough to make you champion.
      Well, all this point system is too political, as many people said. A move from the FIA/FOM to regain power from independent racing organisers (like Renault). And that seems more important than the talent and competence of the young drivers.

    10. Supporting this regime on the basis that it keeps “pay-drivers” out of F1 is a contradiction of logic for three key reasons…

      1) The drivers we would keep away from F1 would be matched by the genuine talents that also get denied – does, for example, anyone think Felipe Nasr is a better driver than Carlos Sainz? The system is so poor at recognizing the genuine talents, certainly when compared with the logical minds and experienced eyes of F1 executives, that the number of drivers that will never make it to F1 because they can’t afford an expensive series like GP2 will vastly outweigh the effects of keeping the Ericssons and the Chiltons out. Oh dear, Olly Rowland…

      2) Marcus Ericsson isn’t driving a Sauber because of some goodwill gesture – he is an integral part of Sauber’s finances. Teams like Sauber and Lotus require the funds provided by Nasr, Maldonado and Ericsson to sruvive, and now that the pay driver market is effectively dead, it would only take one of those to go elsewhere and the team would face liquidation. Q.E.D. this system could kill yet more F1 teams.

      3) The FIA have made their stance quite clear – compromising the futures of young drivers and F1 teams is an acceptable cost in furthering their commercial capacity. Is a governing body that is happy to deny the FR3.5 champion an F1 promotion simply because he hasn’t submitted entry fees to the FIA to get there, but equally happy to ignore the system completely when an event of the commercial magnitude of a Schumacher comeback arises, at all fit for purpose?

      1. @countrygent

        Teams like Sauber and Lotus require the funds provided by Nasr, Maldonado and Ericsson to sruvive, and now that the pay driver market is effectively dead, it would only take one of those to go elsewhere and the team would face liquidation. Q.E.D. this system could kill yet more F1 teams.

        I think that’s a reasonable concern though I would say there’s a risk the system may speed up the process by which the smaller teams are being priced out of F1, rather than being what is ‘killing’ them – the root problem lies somewhere else.

        1. @keithcollantine Yes the demon in this case is the current distributive formula, but it is not difficult to envisage this new system, for Sauber especially, being the straw that broke the camel’s back. Furthermore it is a substantiation of the current stance of the F1 executive: utter indifference towards teams and drivers alike who don’t possess the prerequisite mountain of cash.

      2. We don’t know the ins and outs of it yet, but who knows, Formula 2 could be the anti-GP2 in that you get there on talent rather than sponsorship!

        F3 > F2 > F1, which is what the FIA want, yes? Screw GP2, that’s just make Bernie more money!

        1. Interestingly, if this existed back when FIA F2 was revived in 2012.. we would have had Matheo Tuscher finishing 2nd at 15, having to then wait until he turned 18 (2014) to be awarded the super-licence he had earned on track… @countrygent @keithcollantine

          @optimaximal I think FR3.5 has basically become that anyway since 2012.. when FIA F2 already existed (and folded). FIA F2 ‘powered by Renault’ would be the best way to sum things up.. Bianchi, Magnussen, Sainz Jr vs. Gutierrez, Ericsson, Nasr would be another.

    11. It’s so dishonest to say they might fine-tune it later. They could fix it now, but that’s not their agenda.

      It should be an objective system, based on safety, but it’s about money and power. A corrupt institution, looking after itself.

      1. In one word, it is “Rubbish”.

      2. Exactly. If it’s to be fixed it needs to be done now. Drivers are still sorting out their 2015 plans. People’s careers could hinge on this made up obstacle.

    12. First answer to the question: Ah, no.

    13. Good idea. But it should have been implemented over time, not suddenly.

    14. I don’t agree it’s a good idea at all, no matter how it is implemented. I think F1 is massively over-regulated in general, and this is just another rule to fix something that isn’t a problem, in my opinion.

      Of course, I would rather see the most talented drivers make it into F1, but how far do we have to back to point out a driver that really didn’t belong in F1? Giovanni Lavaggi? The recent crop of pay drivers were at least winners in the lower formulas: Van der Garde, Gutierrez, Pic, Chilton all managed wins and pole positions in respectable junior series.

      I wish the FIA would focus on the real problems in F1, starting with the fact that there are only 18 cars on the grid next time.

    15. BTW @keithcollantine this format of poll question is subject to acquiescence response bias.

      1. @lockup “Do you agree that people cannot think for themselves?” “Agree!” :D

    16. Ban drives for pay, and teams will soon pick talent/ability first.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        18th January 2015, 13:05

        And how do you want to ‘ban’ that?

        If you want teams to pick talented drivers over pay drivers then you should take away the reason why teams make that decision.
        Teams in F1 should get a fair share of the F1 income and be able to run a business without requiring pay drivers.

        How often have you see pay players in the Premier League or NBA??
        Why not – because those leagues share the income more fairly between the teams!

      2. How would you propose banning it? Surely there would be too many ways around it providing it’s what the team wants and what the sponsor wants? You’d just pay the pay driver 50k as a wage and charge an extra 50k to their sponsor? They aren’t a pay driver then….?

      3. Ban drives for pay

        How?

        For example, how would you prevent a team from paying a driver a nominal fee while the driver’s sponsor pays millions to the team?

    17. ColdFly F1 (@)
      18th January 2015, 12:57

      Agree a points system is right for F1, disagree how this one has been worked out.

      PS – there is another big ‘against’ the current system. In all/most of the feeder series the ranking is not just based on the driver’s skills, but also on the team/car. Thus it is not necessarily the best driver winning, but the driver in the best team/car (which can be bought!).

    18. I went for neither – because in a perfect world it would be unnecessary. Teams should be able to chose who they want, someone without experience or with money if they think he’s the right man for them, and there have been occasions in the past in which drivers who excelled in junior categories went badly in F1 and vice-versa.

    19. I agree with the principle of points system license. I disagree with the current implementation. It’s not in any way logical or fair to put FR 3.5 behind F3 for example, etc. etc. Also it should allow for some exceptions with conditions set for those

    20. Which problem does this solution actually fix?

      I don’t see what the new system ads to what the rules already said, which was something like this: a new driver must have either won races on F2 level — e.g. GP2, FR3.5 — or won championships on F3 level or tested at least 300 kms in an F1 car.

      Any excemptions from thise old rules have either become race winners or world drivers’ champions.

      Additionally, the new system places favours the F2-level far too much. Why? Well, just name the drivers who have won the F2, F3000 or GP2 championship and gone on to win in F1, be it races or titles. Exacly: Lewis Hamilton… and that’s it.

      Any good drivers — indeed, not just the great — get picked up by teams in F3-level racing and sometimes even lower categories, which leaves the F2-level for (mostly) lesser drivers.

      1. Seriously? Alesi won a race, Panis won a race, Montoya won multiple races, Heidfeld might not have won a race but stood on the podium multiple times, Rosberg won races and was vice-champion this year, Hamilton, Maldonado won a race, Grosjean has been a multiplepodium driver.
        From the current WDC’s only Button and Raikkonen got picked up from F3. Alonso drove in F3000, Hamilton in GP2, Vettel drove the WSbR (wich are still the same level of GP2) etc etc.

        1. Your right about the race winners. My bad.

          My point should have been that the only F2 champion since the 1960s who has also won the WDC, is Hamilton.

          1. @lustigson I’m pretty sure F3000 was more of F2 than GP2 is.

    21. I like it but there’s too much wrong with it. For starters, the categories are badly weighted and it should cover a wider range of series.

      The points system shouldn’t just be dropped on drivers with no notice. If the last three years of a driver’s career count, the points side shouldn’t come in until 2018 – until every driver has had three years knowing they should be scoring points. It’s ridiculous to just drop it on drivers like Wehrlein and Frijns and say ‘Oh, by the way, you just wasted two years of your career. lol sorry.”

      It also kicks up the silly situation of a driver having sufficient points to do a season as a test and reserve… then not having enough points the next season if he’s offered a race seat.

      And it seems to labour under the assumption all junior formulae seats are equal. Eg, one F3 drive = any other F3 drive. That’s not true at all and it’ll now become even more expensive to secure the decent, title-worthy seats at the good teams.

      Great idea in principal, but shabby implementation. What we’d expect from the FIA, really.

      1. That’s a very good point about Frijns and Wehrlein (and countless others). They really need some sort of grandfathering mechanism that can protect them.

    22. I think it is a good first step, now we have the initial series listed it will hopefully see additional championships being recognised. I do not believe Verstappen is close to earning an F1 drive yet.

    23. It needs work, but it is definitely a step forward. It is considerably rarer to find a driver with a useless junior CV who really delivered in F1 than the other way around. As it stands, the system definitely favours GP2 and GP3, whilst Formula Renault and Auto GP miss out big time, and I doubt that the quality of the drivers will improve if somebody can finish third in WEC by being lucky with landing a TS040 (or whatever the best car is) three years running can make it whilst somebody with Daniel Ricciardo’s CV would miss out. Keith also makes an alarming point regarding Super Formula as well. That makes no sense whatsoever. I would like to see a higher diversity of series on this list too, as oppose to completely ignoring a lot of categories. Sebastien Loeb and Valentino Rossi would have been shunned immediately, but I would like to believe that they would have been able to hold their own in Formula One. They managed it at the highest level of rallying and motorcycle Grand Prix respectively after all, whilst we do not have this sort of restriction the other way around, as was the case with Raikkonen during his break.

      I believe that somebody like Raikkonen is a case worth mentioning, but I’m not sure that him having a season in more powerful machinery would have done him much harm, he might have jumped straight into the McLaren in 2002 regardless.

      I feel that the fact that there are some big names in this list who will not qualify for F1 under this shows that there is a problem with the new system. However, the fact that there are some bigger names who will not be in F1 who do qualify shows that the FIA are at least attempting to tackle the problem.

    24. What’s going to happen to current rest and reserve drivers like Susie Wolff? Next year she won’t be eligible for a super license.

      1. There are a few current F1 3rd/test/reserve drivers who will no longer be eligible next year.

        Mercedes 3rd driver Pascal Wehrlein who they rate very highly is one of them.

      2. Anyone who is exclusively an F1 test/reserve driver for a period of 3 years will automatically become ineligible. That seems like a fairly bizarre situation to have on its own.

    25. The fact that so many good drivers including a few F1 world champions would be ineligible for a super license under this new system shows how bad & how utterly wrong for F1 it is.

      This new system puts a big emphasis only on results, But as I’ve said a few times the past few days not every driver in the lower ranks that has the talent to deserve an F1 seat is driving for one of the top teams so getting the results is much harder for those guys.
      Look at guys like Alex Rossi, He’s highly rated but in the 2 years he’s been racing in GP2 he’s not had a top ride & has struggled to raise funding so has struggled to get the results his talent likely warrants let alone get a full season ride last year.

      Its also well worth pointing out here that the teams in F1 don’t simply look at the results to decide how good a driver is like many fans do. The guys in the teams who watch the young drivers know who the real talent’s are by watching them drive, Looking at the data etc… Results are just a part of the picture.
      Look at Fernando Alonso, His F3000 season in 2000 was spotty at best with only 3 points finishes (6th, 2nd, 1st) yet everyone in the Astromega team were absolutely raving about how good he was & several F1 teams had real interest in him because just watching him & having all the data showed that he was exceptionally good.

      Additionally it won’t even necessarily stop the pay drivers as they will still have the funds to get themselfs into the best cars in the junior categories & that will still help them get results & that will still gain them interest from F1 teams who will still need funding.
      Maldonado who is constantly criticized by fans for been a pay driver would have qualified for a super license under this system because he won the GP2 championship.

      While he wouldn’t have been able to get into F1 in 2013 under the new system Esteban Guttierez would likely still have got to F1 anyway because he was GP3 champion & was winning races in GP2 on his way to 3rd in the 2012 championship & another year like that would have got him enough points for a super license.

      Finally this is going to hurt the F1 Mid field as the reason they have more interest in pay drivers is because they need the money. Remove Max Chilton from Marussia the past 2 years & they likely woudl have gone bust a year or 2 earlier than they did. Take Maldonado away from Lotus & where does that leave them, Same with Sauber the past few years with Guttierez & now Ericsson/Nasr there helping keep Sauber alive.

      If you really want to get rid of the pay drivers that many fans seem to believe are unworthy of F1 or whatever, They distribute the prize money between the teams better so that the Mid-field can actually survive without having to look at who brings them the most cash.

    26. Why should the teams not be allowed to decide which drivers are suitable to drive their cars? This will only mean less sponsorship money for the smaller teams which are already struggling to survive. Fix the real problems first and then teams like Sauber can go back to putting “talents” in their cars like they used to do without any ridicilous complicated wrong-balanced superlicence point system limiting their choices.

    27. Strongly agree. FIA championships must share standards. I hope this trends in all FIA championships. I would establish an FIA approved alternative to enter F1, I suggest a degree in FIA racing, that’s the only tweak I would suggest. I fear that from now on this FIA tax could block drivers with less well endowed backgrounds from adventuring and stepping up through the ranks.

    28. Strongly disagree – Perhaps the FIA hired Microsoft to take care of their data, but one day one of their employees told them about how MS made Windows arbitrarily fail on DR-DOS. http://www.theregister.co.uk/1999/11/05/how_ms_played_the_incompatibility/

    29. I think it’s a very bad idea.

      At first, it might look like a brilliant idea. Bad drivers will no longer enter F1 just based on money, which they bring along. But then, teams which struggle financially, will struggle even more and might collapse evetually.

      And age is not an issue here. If a guy has talent, he can enter F1, nevermind when. It’s not the age or experience which is the problem. The problem is, F1 is not as demanding as it should be. Make F1 for real men: enormous G levels, engines with 1000 bhp, technologically complex. Then watch what happens – the best will rise and the average will fall. Then again, if you don’t like this idea and want pure racing entertainment, then shut up and don’t complain about kids or pay drivers entering F1.

    30. I disagree simply because of the way it has been done. I like the fact it would stop the Chiltons of this world getting into F1 but I really dislike the fact it unfairly favors FIA series.

    31. I am neutral on the issue. The arguments put forth for both sides in the article have merit. I hope this helps the sport move in a positive direction, but only time will tell.

    32. I agree with the general idea, but it is made too strict I feel. No points for Auto GP, Formula E or any touring car championship and not enough points even after winning Formula Renault 3.5.

    33. Paul E Kiefer Jr
      18th January 2015, 17:08

      I think the thing that’s lost in all this are what those who govern the lower series think of their own series and where they are in relation to Formula 1. Has anyone in the FIA ever talked to them? Have they truly gotten a feel for where the series actually stands? Do they truly have an idea of what it takes to get to Formula 1 (besides paying a team)? What about a soccer (footie) system of promotion and relegation? Would that work instead if you had some idea of how they perform?

    34. I chose ‘neither agree nor disagree’, my thought process being that the system itself isn’t a bad one, but in it’s current form is obviously poorly executed. As Keith mentioned I think the age limit of 18 is perfectly reasonable and should really have existed before. The points system if they can weigh it properly could work, but in the current state they’d be better off without it.

    35. I violently disagree with this new system.
      It chooses to ignore important racing series and worthy classes of some other series (LMP2) and places an undecided, unraced and untried formula (the alleged F2) at an unfair advantage.
      Apart from that, it will strangle the vital flow of money to the ‘lesser’ teams in the form of pay drivers and aims to concentrate power in FIA approved or Bernie controlled (GP2, 3) series.
      I think this could be ruled as ‘in restraint of competition’ by the EU courts. It’s just another facet that makes F1 look stupid.

    36. In my opinion I agree with this because despite the fact that Formula Renault 3.5 will have less points than GP2, I think that this will increase the quality of drivers in GP2 and sponsors will then move other to GP2 as they will see more talent there and will see jump on to GP2 then Formula Renault 3.5. Also the fact that Formula Renault 3.5 is not the feeder championship to the FIA F1 World Championship or any FIA championship for that matter whilst GP2 is if they did make it equal then it will make it too top heavy making many people come into the sport with little oppourtunity to get a seat and at the end of the day it’s a business the FIA F1 World Championship are obviously going to favour their own championships as why wouldn’t they. Also people are complaining about how people like Schumacher wouldn’t get in or Sainz Jr. wouldn’t of got in ahead of but Nasr would of is that they probably would of got into GP2 or F2 as they would realised what Championship got them the amount of points also if Sainz did go into FR3.5 and didn’t rush to get in he probably would of had the quality over a 3 period to get in to Formula 1. DTM shouldn’t be there in my opinion as it’s not open wheel, Formula E is just starting and not a feeder series as such as many drivers with superlicenses are driving in that series but it all depends on F2 as if it’s not quality enough then the system is flawed but I’m sure the FIA will do good with it overall a good idea but needs a few refinement.

    37. I feel like this poll needs to be split into two different ones: “Do you agree with the idea?” and “Do you agree with the way in which it was implemented?” Agree and Disagree respectively with these poll questions, so not sure how to answer the poll…

    38. Well you Just get a bidding war for gp2 and future f2 seats. Because of the limited seats and the high demand the Cost to get a seats Will rise excessively

      So talent with llittle of even average money Will never get the Chance to show their talent in the higher classes. Just because It is too expensive to get promoted.

      I don’t think that that is what they intended with this point system, but It is what they will get.

    39. I do agree, otherwise there is no balance in the points of series.

    40. Actually all you need is have the guy win a championship in the approved series, before joining F1. Right now the winners are not usually getting a chance.

    41. I clicked agree but changed my mind when it came to the reasoning. I think we should trust in the ability of experienced teams to spot talent and instead do something to prevent pay drivers (not sure how that would work with the sponsorship side of things though)

    42. “The case of Japanese Super Formula is even more galling. These cars lap within 5% of F1 times at tracks like Suzuka. Anyone who succeeds in this series can handle an grand prix car”

      Maybe Kazuki Nakajima needs to reappraised? We labelled his as rubbish when he was at Williams…but he’s come along well hasnt he? Super Formula and decent outings in WEC…

    43. This how i see it must work. Firstly make the F2 the feeder series for F1. What i mean is that F1 is only aloud to take drivers from F2. Drivers have to qualify to race in F2. I know it sound bad at the moment but let me explain way.
      Firstly the rules keep the qualifng the same only make it for F2. A diver must be in F2 for atless one year to qualify for F1. If the driver in F2 do not get a drive in a F1 team in three years he has to re qualify for F1. The reason for this rule is that drivers will no longer beadle to take a seat in the best team and stay there and hope a F1 team will pick him up. Sponsors will mostly sponsor F2 driver or will sponsor a driver till he drops out.Sponsor will also sponger talented driver becouse it will be there best chance to get in F1. This will give talented drivers the changes they need to get in to F1.

    44. If there had been a vote for I AGREE BUT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN FURTHER… I’d of voted for that. As it is I voted DISAGREE the requirements haven’t gone far enough. I want the best of the best in F1, not children!!!

    45. Strongly agree. This doesn’t stop talented junior racers getting to F1, it just means they need to rack up some experience first. Plus anything to reduce paid drivers so good to me.

    46. Good to see that those who disagree outnumber those who agree. Not only does this make it more difficult to fast-track genuine stars like Raikkonen into the sport. Even the likes of your Chiltons bring in money that likely saves F1 teams at a time of critical financial difficulty. I feel this will be a pyrrhic victory for F1 in general. They will have ‘succeeded’ in weening out the pay drivers and will lose teams as a result. I don’t even see why they are trying to ween out pay drivers. They’ve been around for as long as F1 has been around and they are a part of the sport. If anything, they are needed now more than ever what with the patently unfair disparity in money between the haves and the have nots.

    47. I would like to add one thing to this ‘Verstappen is too inexperienced’ discussion: Max Verstappen does not have less experience than Esteban Ocon or even Danill Kvyat (!). Kvyat started karting at the age of 8, Verstappen at 5. And regarding Ocon: Esteban just decided to step up from karting to car racing in 2013, where as Verstappen decided to stay one year in karting. It’s not like Verstappen didn’t learn anything that year, perhaps just as much than Ocon did in car racing. Verstappen has 12 years of experience in racing and about 10 years on a high level. It’s just in karting not in cars.

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