Start, Mahindra, Formula E, Paris, 2016

FIA reveals F1 superlicence points changes

2016 F1 season

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The FIA has revealed further changes to its F1 superlicence points system which was introduced this year.

Jamie Whincup, Australian V8 Supercars, Victoria, 2016
Supercars drivers will score points too
Drivers in the Formula E and Austrlia’s Supercars (formerly V8 Supercars) championships will now be able to score points towards an F1 licence. The Formula E championship has been valued at the same level as IndyCar, World Endurance Championship LMP1 and European Formula Three.

The top eight drivers in the Supercars championship will be awarded superlicence points with the title winner receiving 13.

Drivers will also be rewarded for clean racing. In championships where penalty points are issued for infringements, any driver who completes the season without receiving any will be rewarded a extra two points.

In a further change the FIA has set down new criteria defining which championships are eligible to award superlicence points to drivers. They must include a minimum of five race weekends on at least three different tracks with a minimum field of ten cars at each round.

The threshold for being eligible for an F1 superlicence remains 40 points.

Revised superlicence points system

Championship1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10thTotal
Future FIA F2 championship4040403020108643201
GP2404030201086432163
FIA F3 European championship40302010864321124
World Endurance Championship (LMP1 only)40302010864321124
Formula E40302010864321124
IndyCar40302010864321124
Formula V8 3.5352520151075321123
GP33020151075321093
Japanese Super Formula2520151075321088
FIA WTCC151210753210055
DTM151210753210055
Indy Lights151210753210055
Supercars13119643210049
National FIA Formula Four championships12107532100040
National Formula Three championships1075310000026
Formula Renault 2.0 (EuroCup, ALPS or NEC)1075310000026
CIK-FIA World Championships (Senior)532100000011

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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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  • 30 comments on “FIA reveals F1 superlicence points changes”

    1. Josiah (@yoshif8tures)
      28th June 2016, 13:11

      Talk about over regulating it. F1 did fine for the last fifty without rules like this. Maybe it’s time for a #F1exit

      1. Evil Homer (@)
        28th June 2016, 13:31

        No you cant do an F1exit mate, stick with it- even if you do there will be those that maybe didn’t vote petitioning a new vote anyway :)

        Yes its overdone here but I would not put Formula E the same as WEC or Indy – but this whole thing was put together because of RBR signing young Max, but surely how he has proved them all wrong and it can all be scrapped! I can see its objective but making young talent wait to earn points when those in the know see they can perform at the top level just weakens the sport and our entertainment.

        1. @evilhomer I see it opposite to what you are saying. I think Max is an anomaly in that rarely do we hear so much praise heaped on someone so young and relatively inexperienced, ahead of their entry in the series. One got the impression that there must have been something special to Max because usually those in the know wouldn’t pile on the pressure so early unless they knew the guy had the ability and the maturity to handle it.

          But for the most part, and I think why they changed the age and experience rule for entry to F1 post-Max, is that F1 should be the pinnacle and the hardest series in which to succeed. If they were to open it up even more as you suggest, what does that say about what it takes to become an F1 driver?

          F1 needs to be harder, and theoretically is about to be next year, and doesn’t need nor should appear to be easy to do. It should show us drivers performing great feats, not feats of monitoring systems and mastering not pushing due to conservation. There should be more of a mystique and perceived (and actual) degree of difficulty surrounding F1 such that there is good and understandable reason to make young drivers wait.

          1. @robbie if they want F1 to have an aura of being very hard, they should actually make it so instead. Artificially making it look hard by excluding young drivers is backwards.

            For 65 years young drivers where only given a seat when deemed ready. I don’t think it ever resulted in disaster. No totally unfit young drivers have been given a drive.

            There was no problem, the changes didn’t fix anything, and they ruined the great racing series that was FR3.5.

            1. @mattds Yes my last paragraph above is about F1’s need to make the cars harder to drive, which is the direction they are going. In no way am I suggesting shutting out young drivers is an avenue to making F1 merely look hard. Young drivers should need a lot on their resume because F1 should be that hard. Full stop.

              As to your ‘disaster’ comment, I think that there have likely been many personal disasters throughout the years for drivers who either bought their ride and/or in fact were not ready, resulting in a poor showing and a drumming out of F1 perhaps in some cases prematurely, their opportunity squandered.

          2. Evil Homer (@)
            28th June 2016, 14:49

            @Robbie
            “It should show us drivers performing great feats, not feats of monitoring systems and mastering not pushing due to conservation”

            I agree with these comments for sure – spot on! but don’t agree with when you say it “opens up F1 and what does say about what it takes to become an F1 driver” You make it sounds like it we will now have a heap of young punks taking all seats in the house! Not so, what I was saying if a young guy comes along with so much talent then his age should no restrict him from being there. Its more of accommodating a one in a million gun than becoming the norm.

            Its a little insulting to the teams to say they cant make the best decision who their driver should be, if its a 16 year old with one year experience or a 35 year old WDC surely they can decide who drives their car, these guys are pretty smart !!

            1. @evilhomer Yeah fair enough, they did accommodate that one in a million named Max, and then they changed the rule so it’s kind of moot wrt a 16 year old, going forward. I do agree that teams are capable of making up their own minds, however, there’s a few caveats. One of them is that one might find a teenager hired merely to keep him away from other teams. I’d rather see that youth brought under their company wing ala LH at Mac though, until ready to handle F1 and going up against the best drivers in the world.

              The overwhelming thing for me remains though that F1 should be too hard for a 16 year old with one year experience, but also that amongst all the teams collectively there should be a discussion about what the face of F1 looks like, the mystique I have alluded to, if a 16 year old can do it?

              In other words, even if there is a 16 year old out there that can succeed immediately in a much harder F1 series than we currently have, it would be detrimental to the entity of F1 to have itself appear like a driver barely young enough to drive a road car can be in F1. Does F1 really need that aura? Is it that important that a 16 year old be rushed in vs. the perception and reality of degree of difficulty F1 needs to strive for? Is it really worth risking the young lad’s career by throwing him in amongst the wolfs to negative impact? If a bloke at 16 is that impressive, then it just means that at 18 there will likely be three top teams going after him if he isn’t already backed by one, rather than being lucky to get an entry-level ride in a car that will handcuff him from showing his stuff.

      2. @yoshif8tures, the thing is, most of the over regulation comes from the fact that drivers in a wide range of series started complaining that they didn’t have a chance to earn superlicence points. Drivers in the DTM series, for example, publicly lobbied to earn superlicence points, whilst I imagine that Mercedes put pressure on the FIA behind the scenes given that they direct a number of their favoured drivers down that route (such as Wehrlein).

        The result of that lobbying is a much more complicated system than had first been intended, as the FIA seems to have decided to cover off most complaints by opening up the licence system to a far wider group of candidates than before.

        I’d also contend that, whilst the success of the new system is debatable, the old regulations really were overdue for an overhaul and should have been updated quite a few years ago.
        For a start, quite a few of the series which used to grant the right to a superlicence have fallen out of existence – most of the national Formula 3 series, or series such as Formula 3000, ceased to exist years ago. Other areas were open to abuse, particularly the definition of a “young driver” – McLaren abused the system so Gary Paffett could be classified as a “Young Driver” and take part in test sessions which were meant to be allocated to aspiring new drivers, not existing professional test drivers.

        Whether or not you agree that they did a good job is another matter, but the old superlicence rules had fallen quite some way behind the times before the changes were finally made.

        1. Evil Homer (@)
          8th July 2016, 12:53

          @robbie
          The overwhelming thing for me remains though that F1 should be too hard for a 16 year old with one year experience

          I couldn’t agree more with your comment here mate, so really the issue is that in F1 now a 16 y.o. CAN drive an F1 car at a top level, in, lets say, 1985 there is no way he could. I agree these guys should be totally spent after a Grands Prix, so if we can get the cars there again, which 2017 is at least trying to do this will mean the young guys will have to wait for a while, and that’s ok.

    2. I still think this is all very unnecessary, but it’s not a negative thing either in my opinion, but I’d still like it relaxed an awful lot.

      I’d love to see drivers from of other forms of motorsports getting the chance in F1, but a full season would likely stop them from getting involved in other series. I’d like to see a system with wildcard entries: maybe teams can bring in cars for races with the intention of putting someone well known in that country? Maybe give every team up to five wildcard spots every season for them to do with as they wish – many teams won’t use them for budget reasons, but I’d imagine it’d be possible to recoup an awful lot of money from sponsorship. For instance, in the past, Ferrari at the Italian GP could put Valentino Rossi in the car with a separate livery, or Red Bull could put Loeb in at the French GP – these sorts of deals would be invaluable in raising the profile of the sport, adding cars to the grid and giving fans a talking point which is positive for a change. Of course, teams would try to get an advantage, but if it was done properly by restricting the number of times a single driver could take part, not awarding them championship points, or banning using wildcard drivers during the final three or five races in a season so they don’t get involved in the latter stages of a title fight. Plus, it can be used for young drivers to get experience before committing them to a full season, and that can only be a good thing.

      It’s a very different idea which may not fit in with the image of F1, but I for one would really enjoy seeing more drivers getting the opportunity to show their skill.

    3. Is it just me or does this vastly over-value Formula E? It’s a fun little championship, but no way should it be worth the same as LMP1, IndyCar and the like.

      1. @zazeems FIA series are generally overvalued as the FIA wants their own series to be the prime feeders. FE is no exception.
        It is kind of logical that F3 and FE are valued the same way, but both are valued too highly.

      2. @zazeems @mattds I agree both that the superlicence points system is unnecessary and that Formula E is hugely over-valued within it. And I do feel it’s partly down to the FIA attaching too much prestige to one of their own championships.

        I think it’s also because, as they said when the system was introduced, they are trying to award points based on the perceived strength of driving talent in the championship. This is flawed logic: awarding points for good driving based on the assumption that the drivers in one championship will always be better than those elsewhere. And there’s no indication that when driving standards change the points are being revised accordingly: look how much smaller and weaker the European F3 field is this year compared to 12 months ago, yet it still awards the same.

        Formula E races at sub-F3 speeds on tracks utterly unlike those used for F1 (none of them are anywhere close to F1-standard by the FIA’s own licensing system). To equate it with IndyCar racing where speeds often exceed those seen in F1 and the calendar of tracks is even more diverse and demanding, does a great disservice to IndyCar.

        (And that’s leaving aside the point that, due to FanBoost, success in Formula E is based partly upon how popular a driver is, and not their talent at the wheel.)

        I’m afraid all the signs are there that this isn’t a question of rewarding driving talent, it’s about promoting the FIA’s championships above the rest.

        1. Interesting commentary. I can fully agree with you here that FE shouldn’t weigh as much as Indycar, and that it seems the FIA is promoting it’s own series, but is that any surprise? But in fact at least Indycar drivers are in the mix, and having FE drivers gain equally in super licence points is no guarantee for them. Am I wrong in thinking that it is exactly because of the virtues of Indycar, as spelled out eloquently by @keithcollantine that team owners/managers would look at and take drivers from Indycar way before an equally pointed (or even higher) driver from FE as long as they both meet the minimum?

        2. Less speed doens’t mean less difficulty.
          According to the drivers Formula E cars are one of the most difficult to wrestle around those tight street tracks.

          1. Haha, “Yeah, this, what I am doing now, it is very difficult and requires untold amounts of skill”.
            “According to the drivers” was the key phrase there.

            Though I do agree with the sentiment. The vast speed difference between F1 and F-E may not represent a similar difference in difficulty, for a variety of reasons. One simple of them being that F-E is a new stock series with a new car with weird set up, weird tyres, resulting in limited scope for ironing out handling faults.
            The appropriately slow and tight street circuits also provides some challenge for the cars and drivers, F-E on a wide fast track would be too easy.

          2. Less speed doesn’t mean less difficulty.

            Seriously? I think it’s pretty fundamental to the entire concept of motor racing that it’s more challenging to drive more quickly.

            That’s not to say there aren’t aspects of Formula E which are challenging in ways you don’t find in some other forms of motor racing. But at the same time I don’t think I’m being unduly cynical when I point out that it’s not really in the drivers’ interests to get out their cars and say “well that was easy”.

            1. I agree, more speed does not equal more difficulty. Look at V8 Supercars. These are by no means the quickest cars in the world, but time and time again, talented international drivers come across to have a go at our series and are more often than not at the back of the field.

            2. Yep seriously…
              There are many examples, in Le Mans LMP2 & GT’s are way more difficult to handle around the Circuit de la Sarthe than the iper-technological LMP1 that are planted on the road, smoother beasts.
              Skip Barbers are slow as hell but they have literally no grip from the tyres and requires a lot more driving skills and sensibility than a, let’s say, F3-F4 car. In fact is a formative serie.
              Than V8 Supercars is another good example, as pointed out by Macca.

              And Formula E Cars are not THAT slow as some of you are trying to imply. They are within 2 seconds from DTM record laptimes in Donington Park with the same circuit configuration..

    4. Why include Supercars – not open wheeler, not really “related” in any way – If you include those then why not NASCAR, BTCC etc

      1. Because NASCAR mostly race on ovals and Supercars are lightyears ahead of BTCC

    5. If they include Supercars DTM surely they could include LMP2 and GTE Pro?

    6. So the knee-jerk reaction to a prophesied dooms-day scenario that failed to materialise, (Max in F1) was rationalized and consolidated as an exercise in FIA protectionism/promotion.

    7. Paul Heppler
      28th June 2016, 22:02

      My opinion, in view of the FIA’s decision AND the comments/opinions thus far is, the FIA has made a proper move to keep the more skilled drivers in the running and the “pay drivers” at bay.

    8. I still can’t understand the hate against this system. This effectively eliminates pay drivers within a few years and guarantees high talent going into F1… maybe people are salty they’ve one less thing to complain about.

      1. @ciaran this does not eliminate pay drivers per se. In fact, by shifting weight towards the more expensive GP2 and away from, e.g., the much cheaper FR3.5, it allows for pay drivers to hog good seats in GP2 and accumulate the points on experience.

        A points system in itself isn’t that bad, the way it has been implemented is daft though. The system puts too much emphasis on the FIA series first, and the FIA-backed series second. As a consequence it has all but killed the great racing series that FR3.5 was, leading Renault to drop the series and probably leading to its demise, comparable to how AutoGP died a slow and painful death.

    9. Did they pull these numbers out of a bag? Some just make no sense.
      For example F3/FE/WEC/Indy vs. FV8 3.5 – It’s better to win or come second in the former group, but it’s worth more to come 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th in FV8. What the hell?

    10. :D It makes no sense.

      This elaborate rule set just so what? pay drivers without enough experience do not come in to F1.

      Or because what? Shocker Max Verstapen got in at age 17. He is doing now very poorly, totally unable to cope with difficulties of F1 right?

      If teams decide a driver is good enough… driver is good enough.

      If driver is not good enough, give him race banns, penalty points, whatever if he breaches any sporting regulations.

    11. Why is national F4 worth more than national F3!?

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