FIA ‘should value Formula Renault 3.5 higher’

Formula Renault 3.5

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The FIA should award more superlicence points to drivers who are successful in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, according to several of its graduates who are in F1 today.

The new superlience points system which comes into effect next year will prevent drivers who do not score at least 40 points over three years from racing in F1. However fewer points are awarded to competitors in Formula Renault 3.5, which is not administered by the FIA, than those who race significantly slower cars in the FIA European Formula Three championship.

During today’s FIA press conference Daniel Ricciardo, who narrowly missed out on the 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 title, said the championship “prepared me well” for F1 and expressed surprise that it is not valued as highly as competing in F3.

“I know when I was doing World Series [Formula Renault 3.5] it was the old spec car so it wasn’t even as fast as they are now and I thought that was already a very good stepping stone,” he said.”

“Judging on the speed of the car, obviously, and let’s say the lap time and whatever, I think the field is good in World Series so I would expect it to have at least the same amount of points as Formula Three,” he added.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 title last, said he would “give it more points, for sure”.

“Judging by my experience last year and my experience this year, I just can only say that 3.5 prepared me very well for Formula One,” he said.

“It’s a very quick car, especially the last spec, very very quick, has a lot of downforce and I felt that when I stepped up to Formula One I was ready.”

However Sebastian Vettel, who won his first two starts in Formula Renault 3.5, questioned whether the superlicence points system was needed at all.

“I thought it was a great car, a great championship,” he said, “you’re the main event so everything happens around you, so you get a lot of time on the track which obviously is very important.”

“I think it should be appreciated more, probably if you express it in points but equally I don’t see the reason why young drivers have to score points. I think it’s clear when someone is ready, someone has the talent to make the step. It doesn’t matter where he comes from, from Formula Three, from Formula Renault or GP2 so I guess it’s just another thing implemented to help [make things] confusing.”

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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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29 comments on “FIA ‘should value Formula Renault 3.5 higher’”

  1. Vettel is awesome because he is not afraid to speak his mind :)

    1. Yeah I absolutely agree with you. He’s something else lol.

    2. I guess that’s why Bernie has disowned him now

    3. Kimi is teaching him well

      1. LOL :)
        @ Surtees went straight from bikes to F1.. Why shouldn’t the likes of Valentino Rossi do the same?

  2. Although I think the points system has some benefits as keeping pay driver away it perhaps is indeed not needed as Vettel suggests. If it were to stay, which it surely will for at least one year (double points anyone), they should rank up FR3.5 to the same level as GP2.

    This year though it is obvious that many FR3.5 drivers fled the scene towards GP2.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      18th June 2015, 20:25

      My fear is that it won’t keep pay drivers out long term – instead, they will buy seats in GP2 and the other higher valued series which will reduce oppotunities for younger drivers. We’ll end up with more pay drivers because they’ll be the ones with the superlicence points.

      1. Yea. Vettel has it right.

      2. I think it isn’t even doing anything like that short term either @petebaldwin. It only helps the FIA in making a potential F2 series somewhat interesting for (paying) future drivers and therefore teams. In the mean time, it consoles Bernie by boosting the prospects of his (expensive for participants, lucrative for FOM) GP2 series as the top drawer entry way into F1.

    2. As far as pay drivers go… the fact that people are willing to buy a seat in F1 isn’t the problem. The problem is that teams are in a financial position where they need to sell their seats just to stay alive. If the FIA really are trying to reduce the number of pay drivers in F1, a super-licence would be a poor way to do it.

  3. The superlicense points scheme is an unnecessary and over-complicated solution to a problem that could easily be remedied by a change in the prize money structures.

  4. I agree with Vettel.

  5. By the way, do the F1 drivers also need to score 40 points over 3 years? What about Alonso? He has 0 points!

    1. No, as long as they’ve started five F1 races in the previous year or 15 in the last three. See here:

    2. not sure what to make of your comment, fails in both logic and common sense.

      1. @f1007 Basically what rocsana meant was that current drivers, such as Alonso, haven’t got any points from the lower series.

        Common sense would indeed dictate that this would not be an issue, but this is the FIA making rules, so I’m not sure that common sense is a thing.

  6. “so I guess it’s just another thing implemented to help [make things] confusing.”

    Brilliant. Vettel has gone up in my estimatation so much in the past 12 months or so.

    1. I do wonder if Ferrari have allowed him to be unleashed from a PR perspective. They’re a political team after all.

    2. To be honest he was always like that.

      Loving Mark Webber because he speaks his mind is silly. Hamilton and Vettel also say what they think but nobody loves then for that reason. Double standards at its best.

  7. Vettel has never been one of my favourite drivers but I agree with almost every one of his opinions and I respect his ability to speak his own mind

  8. Totally with Vettel on this:
    It’s like answering a question nobody asked in a knee-jerk reaction to Verstappen’s recruiting which he proved was unjustified.

  9. I don’t think the new points system will even do what many are hoping it will… That been trying to elevate talent above cash.

    Pay drivers exist in the junior categories & as people complain about in F1 they also take potential seats away from ‘real talents’ in GP3, GP2, WSBR etc..
    And a big advantage they have in these categories is that they have the budget to commit to a couple seasons while drivers with smaller/no budgets often struggle to commit to a full season let alone 2+.
    As such a pay driver who’s able to buy a drive in a decent team in GP2 or whatever will still be able to mount enough license points to get an F1 super license over a couple seasons.

    One of the biggest criticisms of GP2 over recent years is that ‘pay’ drivers stick around for a few years & there experience in that category allows them to get into a position to win the championship & under the new system that would allow them to get a super license.

    I’d also point out that one of the most criticized pay drivers in F1 currently is Pastor Maldonado who would still have been eligible for a super license under the new system.

    1. @gt-racer I think a bigger factor in bringing in this new system was to stop any more 17 year old drivers. And Verstappen has ended up proving to be very good.

      But I completely agree with you, it won’t do anything to help that either.

  10. The superlicense points system is a poorly thought out solution to a “problem” which didn’t really exist to begin with. Which makes it par for the course for the FIA, unfortunately.

  11. There is no need for the system at all. It was brought in to keep away future 17 year olds, which in itself is arguably ridiculous as Verstappen has already shown he is very very good.

    Solution should have been to say drivers need to be 18, and with at least two years of experience in another series. Beyond that the teams can decide who is a good driver.

    All this is doing is limiting the talent coming into F1.

  12. Don’t agree. Overall I think entering F1 has become very complicated and this will add further tribulations to small teams, and to the actual youngsters as this only promotes an aging grid.

  13. Are drivers really fleeing to FIA series with more available points? If so, i’d say the system did exactly as intended, to drive talent n money away from the uncontrolled Renault 3.5.

    Would love to be wrong, but follow the money first.

    1. @slotopen Pierre Gasly, Norman Nato, Sergey Sirotkin – all FR3.5 front-runners last year, all in GP2 now.

  14. It’s actually pretty obvious why this system is in place. FIA have been striving for single seater centralisation since 2012, when they ran the European F3 championship concurrently with the F3 Euroseries, with the latter dying out at the end of that year. Berger, the then president, then started rooting out all opposition at F3 level by ordering Italian F3 to disband, while FIA were a little more subtle in their role in dismantling the German and British championships. They already have a monopoly over F4, and now they’re trying to do the same with feeder championships. They’re trying to reduce the demand for WSR, so that it faces a similar end to British F3.

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