Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

Canadian F1 pair Stroll and Latifi to race under American licenses

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1’s two Canadian drivers, Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi, will race under licenses issued by the USA this year after Canada’s national sporting authority resigned its mandate from the FIA.

ASN Canada FIA, the body which organises motorsport in Canada, voluntarily resigned last December. Former president Paul Cooke and vice-president Roger Peart, both in their eighties, decided they could no longer dedicate the requisite effort to the ASN. This left Racing Point’s Stroll and Williams driver Latifi, the latter making his F1 debut this year, unable to obtain licenses in their home country.

However the FIA International Sporting Code permits ASNs to issue licenses to foreigners. Representatives of the drivers’ teams confirmed to RaceFans that the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States have issued licenses for Stroll and Latifi to compete in the 2020 F1 season.

Any recognition of the drivers’ nationalities during race weekends, for instance during podium ceremonies, will remain unchanged, as the code states: “All Drivers, irrespective of the nationality of their licence, participating in any FIA world championship competition, shall retain the nationality of their passport in all official documents, publications and prize-giving

RaceFans understands arrangements are being made by the FIA to appoint a substitute Canadian national sporting authority by the end of March – too late for licence issuance for 2020. This development is not expected to affect the running of June’s Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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37 comments on “Canadian F1 pair Stroll and Latifi to race under American licenses”

  1. Farcical.

    Also the whole license system.

    1. There is some irony in the two most unworthy F1 drivers of the field having no national authority to give them licenses. Some poetic justice of sorts.

      1. Yeah and yet, these trust fund babies get it handed to them. Again.

        1. Y’all just jealous we Canadians have money! Sorry, just joking. Sorry. Didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings.
          Sorry again!

          1. But we don’t have all that much money. We are really good at debt issues, and apologies of course, eh!
            Sorry if you have already heard this.

          2. Jealousy or not is not the issue here. The issue is that there are two people on the grid who don’t deserve to be on merit/talent whilst others who do, don’t make it to F1.

            I know it’s a tricky and muddy discussion though because all drivers needed more than just talent to climb the ladder. Guys like Perez, for example, bring a lot of money to the team whilst a kid like Verstappen had his dad with the money and connections, for example, to get his son into a very privileged situation. Etc. Etc. I get that. However, what’s not tricky or muddy at all imho, is that both Stroll and Latifi are just flat-out unworthy.

            As for the money/privilege. Sure, there is some jealousy involved on a personal level (whilst also fully realizing that as a white male growing up in the west I myself am a privileged person by definition). But in general, my experience is that you can’t really build on people who just get everything handed to them in life.

  2. So, does that indicate the Canadian motorsports organisation is/was little more than a two-man operation? I mean, looking at it, all credit to these two men, must have been a lot of time and effort spent by them, though perhaps not on the ‘bus-factor’, but also, another sign that the FIA and it’s member organizations is/are hardly as professional as we’d want. And, yeah, volunteers for a lot of things is hard to find.

    1. @bosyber – very good point. I too came into this thinking there was something more complex to Canada’s withdrawal – maybe a policy dispute, or whatever. Welp, no, it’s just two dudes who’re too old.

    2. @bosyber but is this stuff anymore than a rubber-stamping/money-collecting operation these days?

    3. yes, basically it was a two-man operation, with a few women in support roles. these men did an admirable job taking the sport from virtually nowhere in the 1960s to today with two Canadians in F1. although, this is what also allowed certain factions in corporate-based french & eastern canada to dominate the Canadian scene versus the drivers in western provinces. and, in essence, resulting in what are two pay drivers rising to the top & representing Canada internationally.

    4. Does seem an insane situation, yet apparently true.

    5. It sounds like the reason my swimming club shut down a few years back – it was run by two people, who decided after one stressor too many that they were too old to do this, and nobody was in a position to pick up the responsibilities at short notice. Fortunately the FIA system means that either more volunteers can be found for the NSA or a different NSA found, and in either case resume collaboration at that point, and that alternative arrangements can be found (in theory, I think a different NSA could ask permission to step in and run Canadian events needing FIA recognition if that is needed, so even if it takes a year or so, it’s not necessarily a big problem).

      (I’m worried that the underlying cause for “we’re too old for this” might not be motorsport-related. Most motorsport-related arguments can be resolved one way or the other, but had that been so, I suspect something would have been said. Which makes me worried that it might be a health/family crisis on which privacy is desired… those are often more difficult/impossible to sort out).

      1. i believe the situation in canada was more complicated than what you described with the swim club. it had developed over the years along the lines of an unofficial patronage/spoils system being in place between the local clubs, the competitors and the ASN. it was definitely not an entirely merit-based egalitarian system. which is even more difficult to step in & continue to run on a business as usual basis.

  3. Distancing themselves from F1 methinks.

  4. How’s so…, they just resigned its mandate from the FIA?!!! Why? What was the issue? And what’s the substitute authority for, if they wanted resign from the body? It’s quite intriguing, isn’t it…?

    1. The FIA doesn’t have branches of their own in participating countries. Instead, they tie up with the national motorsport authority of each country, such that each of them benefit mutually. In this case, the motorsport authority of Canada has withdrawn from that tie up. Per the article, this was because the two people involved couldn’t put in the necessary effort required, and it implies their age as being a factor.

      1. Yeah, but couldn’t they just find 2 successors like literally any other organization ever would do? It’s just a really weird story to me.

        1. @jeffreyj @plylyp Unfortunately it’s a common problem in small voluntary organisations. While the FIA is anything but small, a lot of the NSAs run on fewer staff than one might expect given their workload.

  5. However the FIA International Sporting Code permits ASNs to issue licenses to foreigners.

    Any recognition of the drivers’ nationalities during race weekends, for instance during podium ceremonies, will remain unchanged [, ]drivers, irrespective of the nationality of their licence, participating in any FIA world championship competition, shall retain the nationality of their passport

    Man, this just feels a bit like flags of convenience in shipping.

    Anyway, it’s not like this is among the top ten things to worry about in F1, so keep calm and carry on racing.

    1. @phylyp, it’s not exactly uncommon for drivers to have raced in F1 with a licence from a different country to where they were born. Rindt is a famous example, using an Austrian licence even though he was a German national, but you can look through the history books to find numerous examples of drivers racing under a licence issued by a different country (just look at Nico Rosberg switching from Finnish to German licences during his career, and even racing under both licences in the early part of his junior career).

      Right now, we have three drivers on the grid now who were born in one country but, being dual nationals, identify with a different nationality and use a licence from a different country. Max Verstappen uses a Dutch licence but was born in Belgium, Albon identifies as Thai, but was born in London and Grosjean was born in Geneva, but races with a French licence: Stroll, as it happens, could easily do the same as he is a Canadian-Belgian dual national.

      At least, in their cases, it was rather less sensitive than the case of Eddie Irvine – he was officially classified as a British national, having been born in Northern Ireland, but used a licence issued by the Republic of Ireland. In his case, some venues, believing him to be an Irish national because his licence was from the Republic of Ireland, flew the Irish Tricolour when he finished on the podium, which ended in his family being issued death threats by Ulster paramilitary forces.

      1. I agree, and I’m not picking on these two drivers, in particular, it’s just that this article gave me a convenient venue to express this long-held (but not something I’m overly bothered about) opinion of mine.

        I’m totally fine with a dual-national picking one (or both!) countries to get a license from.

        It just feels weird that someone who is identified as a particular national based on their passport (and thereby FOM signage at the event) is actually running under a license issued by some other unrelated country, for no other reason than it being permitted by the FIA.

        Nice anecdote about Eddie Irvine!

      2. I remember when Robert Doornbos’s nationality was shown as Monegasque on FOM graphics, because he raced under a Monegasque licence. It was changed the next year, but I don’t know if he was still using the Monegasque licence then. Was that just an error correction, or has the rule about which nationality a driver appears under changed?

    2. Only three-quarters of the world’s countries (144) have a FIA-affiliated NSA. For people in the other quarter of the world’s nations, the “ASN permits issue of licences to foreigners” is a necessity. Sometimes there can be valid reasons for a driver not using their ASN of their passport(s) for licence purposes – for example, if they are trying to become citizens of a country with a long process for getting one of their own passports, or their own NSA is objecting to something the FIA would allow that is affecting the driver’s application.

      Of course, it is also helpful for situations like this – nobody seriously expects Lance and Nicholas to take over Paul and Roger’s duties (we just hope someone who can build on their good work does), so they shouldn’t lose out on what could otherwise be sorted out in the background.

      1. (And I should clarify that I meant only 144 countries have a sporting, or combined sporting/touring, NSA. Some countries may have only a touring (road car) NSA – Armenia is an example).

  6. I mean I know Canada must be pretty embarrassed being represented by those two clowns on the world stage. But sheesh, to actually dismantle the entire national governing body just so your flag won’t be associated with them is next level, man….

    1. @jeffreyj

      Argghhh! You beat me to it.

      Any governing body that was represented by those two clowns would throw in the towel

    2. Exactly, haha.

      Wouldn’t think it far from the truth either, as it’s not realistic a country can’t come up with replacements for the retirees.

  7. What’s this all aboot, guy? I suppose they’re still going to keep on racing under the Canadian flag, though. Seeing the US flag featuring besides their names on the world feed TV-graphics instead would be weird.

    1. Yes as it says in the article above, the drivers retain the nationality of their passport.

      1. @robbie I should’ve read that part more carefully, but a good thing.

    2. Yes – it just means a different group of people will be doing the paperwork and administration regarding their racing documentation.

  8. WOW! What a wonderful news! Best news ever!!!

    *turns sarcasm off*

    What? Really?
    Couldn’t care less…
    Liberty could have already established shady Mario Kart Island in the middle of nowhere for such purposes, and to launder money.

    To the more important topic – is one-per-season pair of underwear already mandatory?!

  9. [The President and Vice-President of] ASN Canada FIA, the body which organises motorsport in Canada, voluntarily resigned last December. … This left Racing Point’s Stroll and Williams driver Latifi, …unable to obtain licenses in their home country.

    So why haven’t the corporations behind the these two drivers got some of their staff to carry on the work of administering the Canadian part of the FIA? If they played their cards correctly this could be done without affecting the planned head count and budget cap. Maybe there’s even one or two people from within the respective F1 teams that would “jump” at the opportunity to do such a prestigious job.

    1. @drycrust – very interesting suggestion, nicely done.

  10. Any impact to the GP? Probably not because $

    1. And because there’s provision, so far as I know, for a different NSA to ask permission to run the event on behalf of the original NSA if it was truly necessary.

Comments are closed.