Start, F2, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Poll: Should F1 keep its superlicence points system?

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Five years ago Formula 1 introduced a new superlicence points system to govern who could and who couldn’t enter the sport.

Drivers cannot enter F1 now unless they score a total of 40 points over three years in different qualifying championships.

Has the superlicence points system changed F1 – and the junior championships – for the better? Has it raised the standard of drivers coming into the sport, and how has it affected the various ‘feeder’ championships?


The superlicence points system is designed to ensure that drivers who come into Formula 1 have at least a minimum level of ability and experience. The bar isn’t set unnecessarily high – for example, anyone who finishes in the top three in Formula 2 automatically qualifies.

While the system originally only applied to a limited number of championships, that has changed over time. Today it covers a broad range of series, starting with the upper echelons of kart racing, and including non-single-seater categories such as sports car and touring car racing.


The superlicence points system has made no worthwhile difference to the standard of drivers coming into F1. There wasn’t an influx of sub-par drivers in the years before it was introduced. However had it arrived a year earlier it would have prevented Max Verstappen from making his F1 debut. Would F1 really have been better off delaying the introduction of one of its superstar drivers?

The system has grown enormously complicated since its introduction and clearly over-values some championships compared to others.

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How the 2020 FIA F1 superlicence points system works

Points are allocated as followed based on where drivers finish in the following championships:

Formula 24040403020108643
Formula 3302520151297532
Formula E30252010864321
World Endurance Championship (LMP1 only)3024201612108642
Formula Regional Europe, Japanese Super Formula25201510853210
World Endurance Championship (LMP2 only)20161210864200
DTM, Japanese Super GT20161210753210
F3 Regional Asian, Americas and Japanese18141210643210
IMSA (Prototype only)1814108642100
World Touring Car Cup, International Supercars Championship, NASCAR, Indy Lights, W Series, Formula Renault Eurocup, Euroformula Open, Japanese Super Formula Lights1512107532100
National FIA Formula 4 championships121075321000
Asian/European Le Mans Series (Prototype only), WEC (LMGTPro and LMGTAm only)10864200000
Asian Winter Series, National F3 championships, Indy Pro 2000, Toyota Racing Series New Zealand10753100000
International GT3 series6420000000
FIA karting world championship – senior4321000000
FIA karting continental championship – senior, FIA karting world championship – junior3210000000
FIA karting continental championship – junior2100000000

Championships are only eligible if there are held on at least three different circuits (excluding karting championships). The number of points awarded are reduced on a proportional basis if the championship features fewer than 16 drivers. In series where cars are shared, drivers score points based on their FIA driver categorisation, with platinum and gold drivers earning the full points allocation, silver drivers 75%, bronze 50% and all others zero points.

Additional superlicence points can be earned as follows:

  • Five points for winning the FIA F3 World Cup (Macau Grand Prix)
  • Two points for incurring no penalty points in a championship which issues them
  • One point for completing at least 100 kilometres in an F1 free practice session (up to a maximum of 10 points)

Superlicence points are valid for three years, except those scored in karting, which are valid for five.

I say

I didn’t think the superlicence point was necessary when it was introduced. Five years on, I can’t pinpoint any way in which it’s changed F1 for the better.

It is also transparently designed to favour certain championships over others. The most egregious example of this is surely the new Formula Regional Europe series, the winner of which gets 25 points, compared to the 10 on offer in the far more competitive Formula Renault Eurocup.

We saw something similar when the system was first introduced and GP2 (now F2) was valued much more highly than Formula Renault 3.5. The latter championship, which helped many excellent drivers reach F1, suffered a drop-off in entries and collapsed soon afterwards.

The superlicence points system is a classic example of bureaucratic over-reach. Yes, the FIA should ensure new F1 drivers are capable of handling their equipment. But it should be up to the teams to assess whether the drivers they hire are competitive enough.

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You say

Do you think F1 should keep the superlicence points system? Vote below and have your say in the comments.

Do you agree F1 should keep its superlicence points system?

  • No opinion (1%)
  • Strongly disagree (35%)
  • Slightly disagree (23%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (9%)
  • Slightly agree (18%)
  • Strongly agree (14%)

Total Voters: 207

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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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56 comments on “Poll: Should F1 keep its superlicence points system?”

  1. So I only have to enter into 5 championships which have penalty points* for 3 years and do a 1000km F1 test.

    * I won’t race there as it’s too cumbersome and I don’t want to risk getting a single penalty.

    1. Prior to this drivers could just do extended testing and then the FIA could just arbitrarily let them in or not. Basically the paid drivers route. If anything having the points system limits potential corruption.

  2. Wow, I was all for the superlicence but the fact about Verstappen made me re-evaluate.

    I’m now going to vote *against* a superlicence as I dont feel it prevents pay drivers. And if there were no superlicence and a team took on a poor driver, then they are the ones who shoulder that risk – and every so often – it might actually pay off.

    1. I think Verstappen is a reason as to why it should stay. While he was always quick, he was clearly lacking in racing experience and caused numerous accidents and some near misses that were close to killing people (cutting Raikkonen off on the Kemel straight doing 300+kph).

      Without a system like the current one it opens the door for more cashed up pay drivers to plod along and provide no real competition. The less of those the better.

      What you can’t measure is how many dud pay drivers this system has actually kept out over the last 5 years.

      1. So Michael Schumacher should never had a superlicense?

        1. Add Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen to the list as well.
          It is up to the teams to bring in drivers that can handle the cars and do the job needed.
          A typical Team has an annual budget upwards of $150 million. Most well upwards of that. If you were team manager, would you not exercise suitable care in selecting someone to drive what is effectively half of your annual investment.?
          It isn’t like it was in the 80s and 90s where there were teams capable and willing to hire out a car for cash (with or without the “r”).
          The current system is an expensive and unnecessary employment generator and is just one more barrier to young talent getting ahead. You want (more) women getting into F1? then scrap the super-license.

      2. Was that in his first season? I remember he had an almost perfect first season in Toro Rosso..

    2. @geekzilla9000 As a counterpoint, superlicense system wouldn’t block Verstappen, Raikkonen, Schumacher, Button, etc from entering F1. It merely delayed them by a year or two and those extra experience racing in junior categories also not a waste. Compare Verstappen and Raikkonen first year to the “proper” route one like Russell and Norris, I think the latter is better on almost every category outside of the pure speed (which the main reason the former is recognized as special talent).

      The harder part to judge is how many Maldonados, Ides, or maybe Raghnunathans it prevent from joining F1.

      1. @sonicslv – I can’t tell if you are comparing the drivers Verstappen/Raikkonen vs Russell/Norris or just how they entered F1. But because you say, “I think the latter is better on almost every category outside of the pure speed (which the main reason the former is recognized as special talent),” I am going to assume you are comparing the actual drivers.

        Norris had a good first year and both he and Russell seem better than decent drivers. But I don’t think they are in the same breath as Max and Kimi. I realize this is one of those things where all we have is differing opinion because we need more time to evaluate Russell/Norris (and Max). But don’t forget, Kimi is like a sneeze away from having 3 titles. Without severely bad luck from reliability he’d have beaten Schumacher during his prime and Alonso. I get that he is a bit of a “has been” to some people now, but I think we sometimes forget that he was massive.

        1. @hobo I said in other aspects except speed. I never intend to imply Norris / Russell is faster than Max / Kimi, but the comparison is in race discipline and other non racing duties. Max is ridiculously fast but also ridiculously dangerous in his first year that he actually trigger some rules to be made because of his attitude in the track. Kimi is pretty clueless outside of driving his car fast in Sauber. Compare that to Russell and Norris which did a good job on preventing contact when doing side to side battle or doing their PR job. Those secondary skills are something that usually honed in lower level categories.

  3. With the new cost cap coming in. The FIA has an opportunity to look into the points system and if it’s still needed. The original design was to stop drivers paying for seats who don’t have enough experience, ergo some teams were so cash strapped they had to resort to these pay drivers to make ends meet. The cost cap should allow teams to employ drivers based on talent alone? We shall see…

    1. @dave124, unfortunatelly the cost cap won’t help the cash strapped teams; they are already below the cost cap.
      Only a fairer revenue distribution (something like in the Premier League) could solve that.

      1. And that is the real problem – agreed. In my simplistict view, all teams should be rewarded the same, but the best performing teams will naturally attract the more lucrative sponsorship. But I get the real world doesn’t work like that..

    2. I think the original idea was just to block “too” young drivers from getting into f1. There are a lot of old folks for whom driving skill is something measured in years and not in championships in junior categories. So when verstappen came and did well for some of the old guard it made f1 look too easy. If a kid can do it then anybody can do it. While that was sad and forcing a driver like verstappen to go through gp2/f2 would have only served to fill the pockets of some there is another argument also.

      The superlicense system could be argued that it protects young drivers from having to choose f1 at very young age. When the limit is effectively set to 18 or thereabouts now (due to age limits in lower series making it impossible to collect enough superlicense points any earlier) we don’t get the escalating younger and younger drivers being forced into f1 path too soon. If verstappen made his debut at 17 who is to say at some point a promising driver of 16 could make it into f1? It all starts somewhere and in verstappen’s case his international karting career started when he was 13 I think. For younger driver that would be 12. It is not that 17 years old can not be ready for f1. It is the ages 6-15 when the kid’s focus should be school and not international racing. Once you start clawing some of that away you literally make it impossible for these kids to get any additional education that usually prepares them for the work life (ages 15-18 in most countries).

      The thing is most race drivers won’t make it into professional racing and when their early school years are in this way harmed to a degree what happens to those who at 18 find themselves without racing opportunities and who did poorly in school because they put all their time into karting? Not everybody have rich families in racing even though nowadays you need to be well off to be able to do it.

      All that being said I don’t think the superlicense system is without merit. I think without it we would have seen some worse drivers in f1

    3. As far as I can tell the original intent of the Superlicence points system was to prevent another Max Verstappen being recruited by an F1 team, and that the team should hire someone from GP2 or F2 (I have an idea GP2 was in part owned by Bernie Ecclestone, who happened to also run F1). This had almost nothing to do with pay drivers.

  4. FlyingLobster27
    9th February 2020, 9:15

    It is overly complicated. If there needs to be a clear set of requirements, I have a personal rule of thumb.

    Lay out a list of “tier-2” single-seater championships (IMO only F2, IndyCar, Super Formula qualify): at least one feature race win (not due to a reverse grid) in those makes you eligible for F1.
    Lay out a list of “tier-3” championships (international F3, Indy Lights, Eurocup FRenault, Formula E until performance increases): at least a title at that level makes you eligible for F1.
    Lay out a list of “tier-4” championships from which you absolutely cannot make the jump to F1 (typically F4 and lower).
    Finally, the “unlisted”, all non single-seater series (prototypes, GT, touring cars, rally, motorcycling): discretionary, but you should have at least one title in a reasonably high-performing category with a reasonably international field, definitely backed up by F1 testing experience and some FP benchmarking.
    No particular length of validity providing the drivers are competing regularly. Drivers coming back from a lengthy break would have to fall into the “discretionary” class.

    Downside is, this is still a system that the FIA could have used, albeit less subtly, to favour its ladder and demolish the junior formula landscape. Talent-wise, it wouldn’t change much (Max Chilton, Yuji Ide and Ricardo Rosset met these criteria), but it would just make things more straight-forward. And it still does what the points system set out to do: to disqualify future Max Verstappens (and Jenson Buttons 15 years earlier) who are in a hurry to be yanked out of the junior categories.

  5. Imagine the pay drivers we could have without the system. It’s been too long since we had a driver with billions in the bank that’s 10 seconds of the pace. That was a fun time, and I want it back.

  6. Poor Max was the reason for the points and is just the reason why it should never have existed. Was it that weekend in Monaco where he crashed the Torro Rosso a few times or just the fact he was so young that encouraged this terrible idea.

    I hope someone from F1 looks at this evidence of such little support for there ideas.

  7. optimaly there is no need for superlicence points therefore strongly disagree.

  8. YES!
    And it should be toughened and age-restricted!

    This opinion is unpopular? I.DO.NOT.CARE.

    1. +1000 ! Gotta we a Verstappen talentwise of 12/13 yrs, do we bring in F1? Riduculous! Same VER, given the very soft, super easy superlicence system, wld get the card at first trial and reachinf F1 a yr later, more mature and less shamly crimimal dangerous he’s been.

      1. I think a valid driver’s license is a requirement to race F1, so that would eliminate the 12 year old’s…. The license system worked fine before the points requirement; you had to have an F1 superlicense to race and there was discretion from F1 in issuing it.

      2. @formevic
        Hmmm, dangerous you say?
        The most dangerous thing we’ve seen since his arrival is Hulkenberg’s incident at
        Spa in 2018, followed by Fernando’s crash in Australia, followed by Seb driving into Lewis, Marcus flipping over in Monza etc etc.
        And all these drivers are a lot older than Max, lol.

  9. Slightly disagree.

    The intent of the system is noble, its need debatable, and its implementation – true to F1 – needlessly complex (and subject to gaming, as @coldfly illustrated in his first comment).

    I have a slightly different take on what the objective of the system should be – it should keep consistently unsafe drivers out of F1. That it, it shouldn’t allow the likes of Mahaveer Raghunathan to somehow make his way into F1.

    Right now, the system is set up to reward higher finishers with more SL points. I’d instead say that the emphasis should be on a number of race appearances, demonstrated driving standards, and a maximum threshold for penalty points in a time period (e.g. no more than 5 penalty points – or 2 penalties – in the last 20 race events that were started, with a completion rate of 75%).

    Now, if this lets someone with the pace of, say, Max Chilton through, then I don’t care. That’s the team’s problem/gamble.

    I don’t even want to talk about the FIA’s politicking to discriminate against some championships and favour others. It’s crazy that almost every championship up there has a distinct SL point scoring system. Likewise, giving SL points for F1 testing is silly, that’s just rewarding people driving on an otherwise empty circuit over a driver who has competed in a field.

    1. @phylyp, the points for testing a car are only earned during a free practise session – the driver in question would therefore not be driving around an empty circuit, but would be having to drive around the track whilst other drivers were present and during the course of an active race weekend.

      1. Anon – that’s good to know, but the point I was driving at (pun intended) was that I’d like to see drivers racing in their lower series, not just doing laps without as much pressure in testing. That’s the best way to put them under pressure, and identify dirty/poor drivers (poor, in terms of driving standards, not speed).

  10. It is quite ridiculous, and very insulting to Indycar, that someone who’s completed a season in Indycar in 2nd place, or 3 seasons in 4th place, would not be allowed to enter F1.

    1. Is it, on the evidence at Austin, Indycar is only slightly higher than F3 based on lap times.

      1. That’s just the pace of the car, which is intentionally kept slow to promote closer racing. The lap time doesn’t say anything about the ability of the drivers.

        1. Indycars are also not developed, use a standardized chassis, and not very complex.
          Sounds a lot like F3 to me.

  11. I quite like the idea that drivers have to “earn” their way into F1.

    However, somewhat obviously, open wheel racing is very different to closed wheel racing. I would like to points awarded only by the competing in the junior ranks of open wheel racing.

  12. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    9th February 2020, 12:43

    I feel like it should be extended to other series using it, to make sure the ridiculousness that was Raghunathan in F2 last year from happening again in that series or others. Maybe you need 20 points for F2 and 10 for FIA F3 or something like that?

    1. @leonardodicappucino

      Only the top 5 in F3 should be eligible for F2, top 3 in F2 eligible for F1

  13. I didn’t think it was needed when they introduced it & I still don’t think it’s needed now.

    If your in a junior category & are clearly good enough for F1 then if you can find a team that wants to run you you should be able to make the step upto F1. That system worked fine for many decades & there was zero need to introduce points or anything to try & limit who could get to F1.

    The fact there are drivers out there who are more than good enough to warrant an opportunity in F1 who couldn’t have a go even if there was a team who wanted to sign them is to me utterly ridiculous.

    If you apply this system to the past then as well as Max Verstappen I don’t think Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button or maybe even Fernando Alonso would have been eligible to enter F1 at the time they did & to say none of them were ready or good enough at the time is simply wrong.

  14. I voted for ‘Strongly agree’ although I could’ve gone with ‘Neither agree nor disagree’ as well. TBH I don’t care an awful lot about the matter, in general.

  15. The whole thing seems silly when there appear to be no rules in place for F2 drivers. Raghunathan had no business being on the track with rest of the field. I realize you have to start somewhere but in the end there just needs to be evaluation done in all series.

  16. What about a “Qualifying Super Weekend”, once per year, where teams could sponsor some limited number of candidates. They would use previous year’s cars and go thru a three day program, meeting increasingly quicker lap times. They would also have to demonstrate simulated race starts, safety car procedures, etc. A team of experienced race stewards would judge each and have FINAL decision on each, with no challenge allowed. The teams could sponsor any “failed” candidates the following year. This could be a highly promoted event such as a “speed week”. Yep, would cost some money, but teams would not have everyone back at the factory analyzing each turn, analyzing data, beginning the next “update”, etc. I can’t think of how, but perhaps there would be some means of rewarding a team for developing new talent in this manner.

  17. This system is ok, but as it’s mentioned eralier, and as it should be against paydrivers,
    and not young talents, the flaws to polish:
    1. The podium finishers strong series like Indy, F2, F3 world and european level, LMP1 should score a bit
    higher. Scoring system sould be a bit more head heavy to reward champions and guys close to the podium
    for years at these series enough or almost enough points for a superlicense.
    2. The lower finishers of these series should be rewarded less to avoid F1 eligibility for being mediocre at
    F2 for something like 6 years. This point is againts paydrivers. 1 and 2 together is achievable by a more
    top-heavy exponentially growing points system.
    3. Reward the national series a bit less, maybe with an exception for true motorsport nations with strong
    national championships, like DTM or British TC.
    4. It’s strange that LMP1 is not rated higher than F2 and F3. Strange because LMP1 is not a development
    championship for youngsters. It should have a slight increase in points.
    5. Probably the license points a championship can award should be dynamic to some extent, based on
    how guys coming from one championship to an other performed. For example winning Auto GP way maybe nice
    but many of their champions had been barely able to score points at F2 or F3 world level. Or Formula Renault 3.5
    was a real F2 level championship once but after 2016 it became a soft field with many paydrivers, and graduates
    did not so well elsewhere.

    1. 6. if it would be really dynamic then milder implementations of this system could be done for atleast F3 and above, with not just ranking the drivers, but dynamically ranking the championships too via something like an ELO system, which would balance itself. Then maybe F2 could become paydriverless in some years. Imo if someone is talented then he or she can shine in F4 at reasonable costs and promote by own right, but it’s pointless to have some average guys with 6+ years of F2 career. They are much more of a problem than top series being a bit specs series or cost capped, because they have impact on the quality and burn a lot of money.

    2. 8. Imo while the scoring is too forgiving, in therms that it awards too much for midfield and weaker championships,
      the 3 years window is too strict. Probably they should give a longer timeframe to collect points, but reward the top much more, while the others much less. I forgot about this narrow widow in some of my previous statements :( So its not that easy to accumulate the 40 points, especially because there are better and weaker teams at feeder series too.
      But I think there are too many guys at F2 who will likely never make it to F1, and it’s a bit different compared to previous decades, because by then it was much less about the money, and there had been guys who not really intended to reach the top instead of it they just competed at an appropriate level, or at a level what they were good at, just like some small cathegory Motogp legends, established drivers grinding money for F1, or old drivers occasionally. They are all gone. Today’s world is so elitist, that noone can admit it, noone can admit that they will never make it, but they are still there and driving a machinery that’s more expensive than anything at the 1960-80?’s F1…
      They can’t say that they are doing it just for joy or challenge. You cant say things like that in the financial world of coroporate bs. And they are doing it instead of a lot of more suitable and talented drivers. It’s considered a dedicated feeder series for youngsters and nothing else, while in the old days it was considered something what is almost the top.

  18. disagree strongly.

    was a stupid system when introduced and is just as stupid now. if a drivers good enough then let them race in f1 rather than just keeping them in lower formula for a few extra years by which point maybe there are no f1 seats available.

    would keeping verstappen in f3/f2 for an extra 2-3 years really benefited anybody?
    would have robbed us of the most exciting driver to enter in for a long time and given how much excitement he has helped produce since entering f1 i don’t see that as been a positive for anybody.

  19. Nah don’t like it & I know a lot of the teams both in F1 & elsewhere aren’t a fan of it either.

    Red Bull in particular feel there young driver program has been hurt by it as they don’t have anyone below F1 with enough super licence points if they were to need/want to put one of them in an STR. Hence why they had to go back to & stick with Daniil Kvyat.
    Had they been able to they likely would have gone with Dan Ticktum instead of Kvyat in the STR at the start of last year. And them throwing him into several asian championships trying to earn him enough points likely hurt him in the end as he wasn’t able to have enough seat time in any of them to get on top of the problems his team was having with the car in super formula.

  20. It was very convenient that the superlicence system was introduced just when the FIA wanted to promote their own product (GP2) over Renault’s FR 3.5 (although to be fair, it was already declining in driver quality at the time).
    After the tragic events in F2 this year, surely that’s where your focus should be on making sure every driver is safe enough? Unless you only care about money…

  21. GtisBetter (@)
    9th February 2020, 17:50

    Slightly agree. It’s not a perfect system and like any system sometimes people on the edge miss out. But looking at the field I don’t think we missed any top quality talent on the system and we most likely prevented some low quality people with no talent and plenty of money to enter.

  22. There are definitely a few tweaks needed, with less emphasis on open wheen racing and just rewarding good drivers with deserved points.

    IMSA Prototypes should be on the same points as LMP2
    LMGTE Pro should be the same points as DTM / SuperGT
    International GT3 should get the same points as the WTCR group

    All of these have manufacturer teams running experienced professional fast drivers, who because of this points system have to choose between a well paid drive for a manufacturer, or a chance at F1.
    It also means that some F1 manufacturers have to release junior drivers who they can’t place in F1, instead of keeping them onboard in international GT3 racing for example.

  23. As Piquet once stated many many years ago, if a team picks up a good driver from kart and put him into an F1 car, it wouldn’t be wrong. Because everything in between the kart and F1 is inferior: the reactions, the acceleration… everything seems slower. Then, he pointed out what that driver would lack: the experience, the races duration. In my eyes, those things are essentially just a matter of conditioning, acclimatization, things that should account in the teams prospect, sure, but nothing that should stand per se as an impediment for a seat.

    I mean, current system is broken before its own birth: we’ve seen Grosjean, a GP2 champion almost killing Alonso. But the precocious Verstappen never risked anyone’s lives. Heck, even Stroll had to count with an experienced Vettel and poor visibility on the sides of the car to risk someone.

    Since junior formulas experience aren’t guarantee of anything, I’d point out that conditioning was perfectly achieved by the ostracized unlimited testing.

    I won’t even elaborate on how pernicious was to strip away the free testing. But what we saw happen between Hamilton and Alonso wouldn’t happen the same way today. That’s why Nando trashed Vandoorne so easily. Also, Leclerc could only beat Vettel because he had his Sauber year prior. Experience in an F1 car is what really counts. Junior formulas are expendable on that regard.

    In the end, if the driver is good enough, he’ll deliver. We’ve seen it happen with Clark in the past; now with Max.

    Let’s just drop the overformalism.

    1. @niefer, whilst you state that the “precocious Verstappen never risked anyone’s lives”, I am not sure that, for example, the marshals who were in the marshal post at St Devote would have agreed with that assessment when Verstappen crashed into the back of Grosjean and ended up careering into the barrier beneath their post.

      If you look carefully, you can see that Verstappen hit that barrier with enough force that the armco barrier deformed far enough to strike the platform on which they were standing, although fortunately it was with relatively limited force. People seem to largely overlook the welfare of the marshals, but incidents like that certainly presented a risk to their lives.

      1. Hey, anon! I agree marshals’ welfare tend to get overlooked, but I wouldn’t put their safety into Max’s account this time: end of the main straight, facing the pit exit lane, a sensitive spot if you ask me, is hardly the place to have a marshal post, especially if we consider that there was no guarding fence for debris. IMHO that risk relies solely on the race direction.

  24. Get rid of the Superlicence system and get the GOAT into F1 allready. Mahaveer Raghunathan 🎉

  25. euronese bluke
    10th February 2020, 6:48

    No “superlicence points system” for team , manufacturer …?

  26. There are only two things the superlicense system does directly.
    On one hand it prevents the likes of Raghunathan, who doesn’t have results to show, of getting a race seat (they can still become test drivers and bring gentleman cash to struggling teams though). On the other it prevents young talent like Verstappen, Button or Räikkönen from being streamlined straight into F1, which might be a waste.
    While it prevents pay drivers with no ability racing in F1, it also prevents talented drivers with no cash from getting anywhere as they need at least one, possibly more seasons at a lower level with competitive teams in order to get the points. On the other hand, somebody with enough cash and average skill can easily find small championship where good equipment and experience allow them to rack up enough points.
    And then there’s the issue of preferential treatment of certain championships. FIA does this to promote their own ladder. Once again this puts cash-strapped youngsters from outside the highlighted areas in more trouble.
    Overall I view the system as unnecessary bureaucracy, although I agree a simpler validation method should probably be in place. However, I can’t imagine a really fair method, as money and politics will always play role and drivers should be judged case by case anyway.

  27. Grand total of 0 benefit from super licence points.

    Like the article says, the only thing that it would prevent is Verstappen entering F1. Verstappen was the greatest thing that happend to F1 since Michael Schumacher did a few years with Mercedes.

    And now we have young guns like LeClerc, those guys capture imagination of the masses. People hear about that and tune in.

    There are also only 20 seats in F1, and teams can hardly keep uncompetitive drivers.

  28. The average standard of F1 drivers today is the best it has been in decades. There are possibly fewer pay drivers in F1 now than there ever have been. Whether the superlicence points system is a factor is hard to tell.

    Of the 2020 lineup, only five drivers did not enter F1 originally backed by Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, or McLaren’s young driver programmes – Räikkönen, Grosjean, Bottas, Stroll, and Latifi. Teams today are struggling less financially than they were five years ago. Force India, Lotus, and Sauber were all relying heavily on pay drivers, whereas now they have other backing.

    I think that the system is not really necessary, it seems like rules for the sake of having more rules. But what we’ve ended up with at the moment is good, so it doesn’t bother me at the moment.

  29. why not scrap it and have a simple system. Team want a driver, fine. they need to be a licensed road driver, demonstrate safety in a test including pitstops, and meet a 107% (or something)rule.

  30. The only purpose ever served by the superlicense points system was to channel young drivers into FIA/FOM-owned and operated series at the expense of other racing categories and organizations.

    Kill it with fire.

  31. Verstappen wouldn’t have been able to come in when he did under the current ruleset even if the superlicence points system was removed – the minimum age to get a superlicence also rose to 18. I think it would have benefitted Verstappen to have waited a year, because he would have needed considerably less time to get up to speed (I feel like he only really got to grips with things this year, 5 years into being in F1), which is frustrating because that’s probably 1/3 of his career spent doing something he could have done in half the time, and thus cut two years off the time he will be at the peak of his powers. More haste, less speed.

    I am in favour of requiring drivers to be age 18 and to have done two years of racing internationally, including at least 80% of an international series in each year. (I’m perfectly OK with world-level karting and non-single-seater series being allowed to count towards this, which also solves most of the counter-arguments of “but [Raikkonen/Button/other great karter with a short pre-car career] couldn’t do F1…”).

    Given the limited opportunities to test, I’d also approve of a driver test day specifically to check candidate rookies (anyone with a F1 contract for the upcoming season plus any “backups” willing to participate, and Liberty funding a handful of drivers that wouldn’t otherwise be there) were able to perform to the necessary level in an actual current F1 car. The rules theory test that is currently required for rookies would be incorporated into this day, followed by a little practice (30 minutes), a short qualifying session (perhaps 20 minutes, split into 2 parts) and a full-length race. A few current/recent ex-F1 drivers could also be present as benchmarks, so that proportional judgments be made. Every team would be required to make one car available and be permitted two, and could swap drivers halfway if the first one in a given car “passed” already. I’d personally want that day to be either connected to the post-season test, or the first pre-season one, and “passing” would be valid for 24 months.

    However, that is not quite the question the poll asked.

    The superlicence points system, to me, unfairly advantages the very rich and those with access to very generous sponsors. This is because when large numbers of people are funnelled into few series, it raises the price of the valid seats. This means those with less money can’t afford the seats, and therefore cannot prove themselves to single-seater racers.

    The main reason there are so few “pay drivers” now is because to be materially helpful to a team’s finances, it’s necessary to bring a ridiculous amount of money – but that doesn’t help the many drivers who get muscled out of decent seats by the rich drivers on the way to them hitting the metaphorical buffers in F2. It also doesn’t help teams, because when $150 million is the “entry fee” for a F1 season, any gap is likely to be too big to be bridgeable by pay drivers – resulting in teams having gone bust (I think it was a contributory factor in Manor’s demise – the people with superlicence points no longer had enough money to bridge the new gap that appeared after they lost the 10th place payments).

    The other issue is that it’s got to the point where practically nobody is self- or sponsor-funding by the time they reach F2 level, so in effect most people in F2 are “pay drivers” by the definition that was used in the mid-1990s (the “golden era” of “pay drivers”), or receiving equivalent funding from driver development schemes (F2 seats now cost £2-3 million). So pay drivers end up not looking like “pay drivers” because at least half of the people they were competing against in F2 were also “pay drivers”.

    It also means all the best drivers race each other further, which makes F1 more predictable, because even the rookies’ standard tends to be known ahead of time. Before this, for anyone who wasn’t clearly hired only for their money, there was legitimate doubt as to how well things would go.

    All this, to remove Formula Renault 3.5 and a few other series from the junior ladder. It feels like a political tool that was made at the expense of the sport.

    (I don’t like the requirement for superlicence drivers to be road licenced either, though I don’t think scrapping that rule will change much of anything. Those who are in line for F1 have so far held a road licence anyway, or planned to get one in time for F1, simply because it makes a ton of things easier to do for F1 drivers. After all, they are not people noted for having much spare time for things like bus queues…)

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