The FIA’s Herta ruling won’t put a stop to criticism of F1’s superlicence points

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The Formula 1 superlicence has been around so long it was introduced when motorsport was not under the direct management of the FIA, but instead the Commission Sportive Internationale. The CSI later became the Federation Internationale du Sport Automobile, which was eventually brought until the FIA’s aegis.

The process by which drivers qualify for the precious licence which permits them to compete at the highest level of motorsport has attracted scrutiny well before the latest row over the FIA’s refusal to allow Colton Herta to join the field for the 2023 F1 season.

Driving standards were under intense scrutiny at the front and the back of the F1 grid at the start of the nineties. Charging drivers for the privilege of being able to race in the pinnacle of motorsport seemed like a sensible way of filtering out those who did not have the pace to race against the best. But it attracted criticism, such as when Japanese Formula 300 race-winner Akihiko Nagaya was refused a licence in 1992.

The superlicence idea had its supporters and detractors, and the debate around it evolved with each decade as F1 became ever more professional. In the 2000s, drivers asked for the price of the annual renewal of their superlicence to be cut – despite most of them earning six figures or more per season – and the argument persisted for several years.

Red Bull promoted Verstappen to F1 after one year in F3
In 2015 a points-based system was introduced. It was not to stop slow drivers, but to make sure drivers were adequately prepared for the step up to F1 by requiring they compete in car racing for a certain amount of time before that. It’s popularly described as the FIA’s response to Red Bull putting Max Verstappen in F1 after a single year in single-seater racing.

The threshold number of points needed to enter F1 has always been 40 points. The original points system valued winning the GP2 championship (now F2) at 50 and set a higher tier for a a ‘future FIA F2 championship’ which would award up to 60 points. These were later reduced so the maximum available became 40.

At the top of the superlicence points table is F2, F1’s primary feeder and support series, and subsequently the series has been the undisputed final stepping stone. Of the 22 drivers to have made their F1 race debut since 2016, 15 have come straight from F2 and its predecessor GP2. Five of the remaining seven made it to F1 as a mid-season signing or a one-off stand-in, so only two times in seven years have teams started a season fielding a rookie driver with no F2 experience.

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Drivers now know that making it to F2 is the only realistic route to F1, and they also know that there are few teams in the spec series capable of putting them in a title-fighting position that would then make them attractive to an F1 team. While F2 is the most competitive it has been between teams in years, unreliability has emerged as another factor preventing drivers from getting results to match their abilities.

Formula 2 awards the most superlicence points
The experience of driving an F2 car and how useful it as preparation for F1 is almost the same for the driver who wins the title as the one who comes 15th in the standings, but the current superlicence system enforces a different idea. While it recognises the top three in the F2 points are all likely to be of F1 standard, and thus rewards each of them the full 40 points needed to qualify for the superlicence, fourth and fifth are worth only 30 and 20 points respectively.

F2’s 2022 season is a record 28 races long, so not only is it providing more track time to prepare drivers for F1 than ever before, it also means a single weekend ruined by unreliability is less likely to have a swing on the title battle. At the same time, however, performance inequalities between teams will be felt more greatly. So is finishing fifth in F2 worth more or less than it was a few seasons before?

The current argument about the superlicence centres around IndyCar’s given points value, with its champion also getting 40 points but then second and third place in the standings getting the same as fourth and fifth in F2.

Racing at the front in IndyCar is undeniably an experience that would prepare a driver for F1, and vice versa given both are professional open-wheel series. IndyCar had five drivers going into the final race of a 17-race season in title contention this year, and there was a reward of only eight superlicence points for the driver that finished fifth in the standings.

To come fifth in IndyCar’s own spec feeder series Indy Lights, North America’s equivalent of F2, would earn five points. But every driver in that series is aiming to impress the IndyCar paddock, not F1.

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So there is no threat to F2’s position on the road to F1, and critical analysis of the superlicence points system could strengthen F2 by spreading its own points distribution in a way that is as not as top-centred as it currently is. It’s already the only series in motorsport where coming runner-up delivers the same amount of superlicence points as being champion).

Herta has won in each of the last four IndyCar seasons
But there appears to be little interest in this from those running the championship. In a recent press session F2 CEO Bruno Michel objected to the idea an exception could be made to allow IndyCar star Colton Herta into F1. “There is already some points attributed to the American championships in the overall table of the FIA, to get a superlicence,” he responded. “So I think this has already been taken into consideration.”

Despite having consistently shown impressive pace, Herta and his Andretti Autosport team underperformed this year and he slumped to 10th in the points. But he is among an illustrious list of 21 drivers since Indy car racing’s creation in 1905 to have claimed seven wins within his first four seasons in the championship.

If Red Bull had laid eyes on Herta earlier, maybe one or two years ago, would it have put him in F2 to strengthen the chance of him securing a superlicence? That’s extremely unlikely – you would have to look hard to find a driver who would put a successful professional career on pause, let alone leave one of the top teams in open-wheel racing to do so, to race in a junior series. If a proven IndyCar driver wants to go to F1, they do not expect an intermediary step should be necessary.

However Michel supports the current system. “For me, it’s a quite simple answer that’s been said by almost everybody. There is a rule, there are tables and we apply the tables. And that’s exactly the same if you ask me if Formula 3 drivers who has been finishing fifth or sixth in the championship can have a superlicence. In the table they cannot. And I think that’s the way it has to be.”

He insisted there is no agenda against American drivers. “We have a lot of American drivers in F3 at the moment, we have Logan [Sargeant] in F2, and we all hope that there will be American drivers coming into F1,” said Michel. “Whether they come from our championships or whether they come from Indy for me is not an issue at all, as long as they have enough points to get their superlicence.”

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Herta did not have enough points for a 2023 superlicence, despite being one of only five drivers to have been in the top 10 of the IndyCar standings every year under the current superlicence points-earning period, and the FIA has already rejected the idea of a workaround to allow him into F1. When Red Bull were appealing for such a move, it prompted 2019 F2 champion Nyck de Vries to say that a snowball effect of a dispensation would be to “almost kill and jeopardise the ladder” of series on F1’s support bill.

Nyck de Vries, Williams, Monza, 2022
De Vries defends the F1 superlicence points system
But De Vries’ experience arguably shows the shortcomings of the current system. He had to win a world championship in Formula E (a series which took several years to be fully integrated into the superlicence points table) before he was even considered for an F1 seat. He went through F3 predecessor GP3 and F2 after he already raced in the F2-rivalling Formula Renault 3.5 series.

Although it was widely respected as a series and the final step before F1 for many drivers, notably Red Bull’s many juniors due to Helmut Marko’s misgivings over F2 predecessor GP2, Formula Renault 3.5 ended following the 2017 season, Renault having removed its backing at the end of 2015. The superlicence system questionably ranked it below the FIA European F3 championship and level with GP3, the champion only earning half of the superlicence points of the yet-to-exist F2 championship and 60% of that year’s GP2 champion.

After some criticism, including from F1 drivers, its points tally was increased to 70% of GP2’s, but the writing was already on the wall for the series.

That’s not the only example of outside scrutiny of the superlicence points system leading to change, as a few years later the FIA had to backtrack on plans to diminish the Formula Renault Eurocup’s points in order to favour its own Formula Regional European Championship. The latter series began its 2019 season with 10 cars, while the Eurocup – which used identical Tatuus T-318 chassis – had a grid of 22 from the off.

Red Bull, the team usually most eager to put inexperienced drivers into F1, has already had two high profile misses for drivers it planned to place at Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) but was unable to due to them missing the magic 40-point mark needed for a superlicence. Retrospectively it’s hard to tell if the system stopped two F1-worthy talents then, as both Dan Ticktum and Juri Vips have improved as drivers in the years since and would now have had stronger claims further down the line to be in F1 had both not been dropped by Red Bull due to problems of their own making.

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But they were undoubtedly against strong opposition at the time their reputations were at their peaks. Herta has had to go against an IndyCar field with greater strength and depth en route to 10th in the standings this year than he did when he finished third just two years ago.

Magnussen reached F1 through Formula Renault 3.5
The question of how much value a position in any series holds is an argument that will be had and has to be had every year, because that’s how drivers convince sponsors and future employers of their abilities. There’s more to a driver’s career than their superlicence points tally, but the way the FIA has worked since 2015 has set up not only a reliance on being in F2 before F1, but to be in any series that has a healthy superlicence quota.

Among junior single-seater series, namely the ones that could claim to feel hard done by the FIA on this topic (and there’s more series than drivers that can say that), it’s been remarked that if you support the FIA superlicence, then it will support you. Criticising your allocation, or any other aspect of the system, is a no-gain move no matter how strong your case is unless you get some significant support from across motorsport.

IndyCar drivers have been vocal in their criticism of the FIA for failing to budge on Herta, but the reaction in other series has been more akin to de Vries’. But the leadership of F1 and more importantly the FIA has changed since the current system was put in place. Backing down over Herta would have risked undermining the entire superlicence points system, but the reigniting of intense public scrutiny on the superlicence may change the way FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, his drivers’ commission, and even F2 promoter Michel, think about this issue in the future.

Current superlicence points allocations

Formula 24040403020108643
FIA Formula 3302520151297532
Formula E30252010864321
WEC (LMP1)3024201612108642
Formula Regional European championship25201510753210
Super Formula25201510753210
WEC (LMP2)20161210864200
SuperGT (GT500)20161210753210
Formula Regional Asian Championship18141210643210
Formula Regional Americas Championship18141210643210
Formula Regional Japanese Championship18141210643210
IMSA prototypes1814108642100
WTCC / WTCR1512107532100
International Superstars Championship1512107532100
NASCAR Cup Series1512107532100
Indy Lights1512107532100
W Series1512107532100
Euroformula Open1512107532100
Japanese Super Formula Lights1512107532100
FIA National F4 championships121075321000
WEC GT Pro121075321000
Asian / European Le Mans Series Prototypes10864200000
WEC GT-Am10864200000
IMSA GTLM10864200000
National F3 Championships (GB3)10753100000
Indy Pro 200010753100000
NASCAR National (Xfinity Series)10753100000
Toyota Racing Series New Zealand10753100000
International GT3 Series6420000000
FIA Karting World Championship (senior)4321000000
FIA Karting Continental Championship (senior)3210000000
FIA Karting World Championship (junior)3210000000
FIA Karting Continental Championship (junior)2100000000

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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34 comments on “The FIA’s Herta ruling won’t put a stop to criticism of F1’s superlicence points”

  1. Colton Herta didn’t perform well enough to earn an FIA super license.

    This whole brouhaha was started by a bunch of people trying to defer attention away from their own issues.

    1. Yep, you’re right, that’s definitely the problem.

      I mean, the system as it is now would have prevented us from having many underperformers in F1. People like Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikonnen, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button. All definitely shouldn’t have been allowed debuts in F1, as clearly they were underprepared and a menace to all around them for years to come. We should absolutely not look at the system as insufficient of determining who should be in F1 and who not.

      1. If all of those drivers mentioned had had to do an extra year or two in junior formula, would that have been so terrible?
        Regardless, the system wasn’t in effect then, so arguing it in hypothetical retrospect is rather pointless.

        All Herta has to do is do one year of F2, prove he’s up to scratch in those conditions, and there’ll be teams begging him to stick around (in Europe).
        It’s not like he’s 45 years old…. He’s got an extra year in him to do it, if he really wants to be in F1.

        The system isn’t broken – he just hasn’t been successful enough in it, or done it the way that most efficiently leads to F1.
        I guess F1 isn’t that important to him, after all….

        1. Would it have harmed them? Maybe, maybe not. Would it have prevented us from getting a better show? 100% for sure, yes. 2015 Max Verstappen was amazing to watch, most overtakes of the season, FIA rookie of the year, etc. He made 2015 a better show to watch for everyone. Kimi’s first year was great, as was Button’s. Alonso was at Minardi, but even he showed some good stuff that year.

          Yes, hypothetically, they would have all probably made it to F1 years later, but it wouldn’t have been to anyone’s benefit in any measure. Hell, it might even have prevented their success in certain seasons. Perhaps Max wouldn’t have been able to fight for a WDC with two or three years less of F1 experience in 2021. Perhaps Kimi would have had a bad season in Formula 3 and dropped off of the radar and not gotten a race seat. There’s several F2 champions that never got a chance due to no seats being available at the right time, so any time a seat is available to a driver and he’s denied by a flawed points system to take that seat, he’s losing an opportunity.

          1. Continuing the hypotheticals, then – if they hadn’t entered F1 when they did, nobody would know any different would they?
            They would have entered when they entered (or not) and that would be all there is to say about it.
            Everything else is speculation.

            Anyone who misses out now due to not having enough points is in exactly the same position. Get the points and then the opportunity arises.

        2. If all of those drivers mentioned had had to do an extra year or two in junior formula, would that have been so terrible?

          Depends as just because the door opens once doesn’t guarantee it will open again.

          Those drivers all got the right opportunity open up at the right time. If they hadn’t been able to take that opportunity and had to wait there’s no guarantee they would have been given the same opportunity again.

          And look at the knock-on effects.

          With Raikkonen for example had he not had the Sauber drive in 2001 we wouldn’t have got him at Mclaren in 2002 and if whoever they had put in the car to replace Hakkinen for 2002 was performing well we may well have lost out on Kimi in the McLaren for that period. And given where the other top teams of the time were with drivers we’d most probably missed out on seeing Kimi in top cars fighting for wins/championships at the time we did.

          1. Is there something fundamentally ‘better’ about Raikkonen than any other person who might have taken his place?
            Perhaps someone even more exciting/talented/likeable/whatever may have enjoyed those opportunities instead, and you would be commenting about how great it was that they got in when they did and not that Raikkonen guy who wasn’t quite ready yet.
            It’s pointless trying to hypothesise an alternate history. What happened happened because it was able to happen at the time. No different under the super licence rules either – whoever is eligible is eligible, and whoever isn’t – isn’t.
            If Herta wants to do F1, he’s more than welcome – when he has enough points.

            For a bunch of people who’ve spent the best part of a year complaining about how the FIA ‘changed the rules’ for a special circumstance, there sure are a lot of calls here for the FIA to change the rules to accommodate a (not so) special circumstance.

        3. The system isn’t broken – he just hasn’t been successful enough in it, or done it the way that most efficiently leads to F1.
          I guess F1 isn’t that important to him, after all….

          Indeed so.
          For comparison, look at Zhou. He moved thousands of miles from home to be in the European driver setup.
          In fact, it seems the first time his family had been able to visit him for several years was the weekend he got flipped, slid upside down along the track, bounced through the gravel and stopped upside down between a barrier and the catch fence.

          How much does Herta want the chance? Not as much as Zhou it would seem.

        4. The system isn’t broken

          The system is unnecessary to begin with, and it was broken from the start. Testament of that is the fact it was designed from the go to kill off successful series that were not part of the FIA ladder. FR3.5 was flourishing, provided great racing and had great talent until the FIA valued it an entire level lower than it deserved, after which it died in no time.

          It was and is perverse.

      2. Wonderful reply!

      3. At this point I almost want that they gave Herta a seat, so he could spin and crash and slump below P10s finishes. Then we could accept that he s not worth the candles wasted on this debate

    2. @proesterchen

      Colton Herta didn’t perform well enough to earn an FIA super license.


      Colton Herta has been one of the most impressive drivers in Indycar the past few years. He has driven brilliantly and shown himself to be an exceptional talent with a lot of raw speed.

      The only reason he hasn’t had better results is because he’s driving for the 4th best team and even then he’s regularly dragged the car higher up the field than any of his team mates, One of whom has 10 F1 podiums to there name.

      Simply saying that Herta hasn’t performed well enough & doesn’t deserve an F1 seat is like saying that Fernando Alonso doesn’t deserve an Indycar seat as he hasn’t performed well enough to earn enough Indycar license points which of course ignores that Fernando (Like Herta) hasn’t had the car to allow him to perform any better than he has. Put Alonso in a Red Bull & he’d likely be a championship contender just as Colton Herta would be if he was in a Penske or Ganassi in Indycar.

      1. Roger, it is correct to say Colton Herta didn’t perform well enough for his race results to qualify him for the FIA’s nitpicking superlicense criteria (as proesterchen was saying). However, it is also correct to say he performed well enough to show he is quite capable of handling a single-seat racing car, racing at high speeds, showing all the qualities expected of a top flight driver, and if another team wants to put him in one of their cars, I don’t see what the problem is.

    3. Definitely. The rules might be dumb but were there for years. Herta could have won the point on Indy or even try to get them in alternative ways.

  2. The FIA needs to figure out if the purpose of the Superlicense program is to protect it’s home-grown feeder system or if it is there to ensure the grid is made up of drivers who can handle F1 in terms of both the on-track action as well as the off-track action. If it is the former then they might as well just stop pretending that other series can gain points. If it’s the latter, then they should think harder about the point distribution system.

    But to be honest, if we look at the current IndyCar situation, what driver who is a top contender year after year for an IndyCar championship is going to want to move to F1? It is really only someone like Villeneuve who totally dominated the series and was looking for something to challenge him. But the way IndyCar is now with the parity between the cars, it would be hard to find someone who is so dominant. And would they want to give up fighting for championships (and the money that comes along with that) for a move to F1 where unless they are in one of the top 3 teams they have no shot of that? That is just as unlikely as one of the top three teams pulling in someone from IndyCar into their car. The most plausible scenario is that they go to a midfield team and have to fight for fluke race wins for a few years before they even have the chance to fight for a championship again.

    1. Leroy: “The FIA needs to figure out if the purpose of the Superlicense program is ….”

      Exactly! Hiding behind the argument “those are the rules” doesn’t make them look good.

      1. You’ll see if any of this was an honest critique of the existing superlicense points allocation if and when the people lobbying for Colton Herta to be given a superlicense despite not qualifying for it start working on changing the rules.

        I’m not holding my breath.

  3. Good post & while rejecting an exemption for Herta was right, I agree with the general IndyCar’s SL allocation should be higher than presently.
    FIA understandably prefers prioritizing the highest lower single-seater categories.
    BTW, RB could’ve promoted Vips when he was with them had they wanted & already for last season despite him being below 40 as he got exempted from the standard minimum SL-point amount requirement over force majeure when COVID heavily disrupted his planned 2020 SF program.

    1. I would argue that Indy Cars SL allocation should be higher than F2 and possibly even Formula E higher than F2.

      F2 is full of F1 hopefuls where Indy has many top tier drivers already competing, plus F2 kicks you out when you win. There is a lot more depth in the Indy car top 10 than F2 top 10.

      I think Aussie V8Supercars should probably be earning some SL points too, at least on par with DTM, W series etc. That would have made Scott McLaughlin eligible for a drive.

  4. Let’s also note that a driver has to essentially pay millions of dollars for F2 while an Indycar driver gets paid to race. Another reason a guy like Herta (or many other drivers) would prefer Indycar over F2 if the points evened out.

  5. Having worked in similar European sports organisation bodies I can tell you this is not about anti-Americanism or anything like that. It’s just about control and consolidation of power. These bodies work like personal-theifdoms for their inner leadership circle. Things like safety, governance etc are all just treated as administrative functions. F1 is the jewel in the crown for them and they need to use its leverage to consolidate their power over the rest of motorsport. The fact that there are highly competitive series’ in the US, with large audiences and fan-bases that are not under the control of the FIA is inconvenient for them. They’re not going to do anything that lends credibility to them.

    1. Ah, that’s why Indycar is the only series besides Formula 2 whose Champion automatically and directly qualifies for a superlicense.

      “Large audiences and fan-bases?” What is this, the early 90s? Indycar has such a large fan base it’s afraid to run races during football (!) season. Are you blaming the FIA for that, too?

  6. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    28th September 2022, 15:45

    Multiple F1 world driver champions arrived in F1 in a way that would not qualify them for a F1 superlicense today, including Lauda, Mansell, Button, Alonso, Raikonnen and obvious Verstappen.

    Max with age, no driving license, 1 year single seater is maybe most extreme but also Raikonnen was very young for that time and had 1 year of single seaters. Niki Lauda effectively was a pay driver till he delivered results.

    The idea behind superlicense is to keep F1 save however driving safe is not a requirement, you could get a F1 superlicense after a year F3 and F2 being top 3 in both years and with haven gotten a race ban for 12 penalty points each year, you would still qualify for a superlicense.

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      28th September 2022, 18:29

      yet at the same time, Stroll or Mazepin do qualify for an F1 seat. One of them is an European F3 champion, which I, with all due respect for the talent that that series used to contain, don’t rate as highly as Indycar at all, entered F1 at age 18, with no experience in either GP# or GP2 and has been mediocre ever since. The other was a straggler with a single decent F2 campaign under his belt, and proved to be wholly unsuited to F1.
      It’s ridiculous
      I don’t quite think herta is a future champion, but he is far more worthy of a chance in F1 than the likes of Mazepin

  7. The whole super licence system is simply not fit for purpose, The changes made in 2015 just to stop another Max Verstappen were completely unnecessary.

    I just do not get why so many fans are trying to defend this ridiculous system as it currently is. Do any of these ‘fans’ truly believe that Colton Herta is unsuitable for F1? Just admit the system is wrong and unneeded and has done zero to stop drivers like Nikita Mazepin who are far worse than Colton Herta get an F1 race seat.

    Maybe these ‘fans’ are just interested in F1 and think every other category is below it and therefore no driver in anything other than F1 or it’s feeder series are good enough. It’s a silly mindset.

    Colton Herta and several other drivers in Indycar are plenty good enough for F1 and are frankly better than a few of the drivers who have been on the F1 grid the past few years.

    Like in F1 if your not with a top team you are going to have a harder time finishing high up in the standings and that is the only reason Colton Herta doesn’t have the points under this silly unnecessary and deeply flawed super licence system.

    It’s like saying that Alonso or Vettel aren’t good enough for Indycar because been in poor teams isn’t letting them earn enough points to finish in the top spots to get a certain amount of Indycar licence points.

    If somebody has talent and everyone can see that, Give them a test & if they show good ability during that test and a team wants to sign them based of that they should be allowed to sign them. It should be about ability rather than earning points that try to force everyone down a set F1 ladder series route.

    1. Colton Herta and several other drivers in Indycar are plenty good enough for F1

      Several Indycar drivers performed well enough to qualify for a superlicense.

      Colton Herta is not one of them.

    2. The whole super licence system is simply not fit for purpose, The changes made in 2015 just to stop another Max Verstappen were completely unnecessary.

      So, we scrap all those superlicence rules and allow a brilliant young driver in next season.
      He’s just 15 so that’s MV record kicked into touch and beyond. He’s from this side of the pond, so the US complaints would continue.

      He’s still in school. Maybe the rules do have a reason to exist.

  8. There needs to be a better way of awarding a super licence because doing it the way they have been since 2015 isn’t really the best indicator of driver ability.

    Colton Herta didn’t finish 10th in points this season because he doesn’t have the ability to have done better. He finished 10th in points because that’s just where the car he was given was pace wise. In 2020 when he had a more competitive car he finished 3rd in points as a rookie and even in a good car that isn’t easy to do for a rookie as shows the level of ability the guy has.

    Using only the final standings just isn’t a true indicator of ability given how just like in F1 the team you are driving for has a big bearing on that.

    It should be about the individual drives, The raw speed and the level of ability that a driver shows. If a driver has those things and is able to show them in an F1 test then he should be allowed an F1 race seat because ability should be all that matters. If your good enough then your good enough regardless of what this silly points system says.

  9. Do you also need a certain number of points to compete in F3 and F2? Otherwise the best funded will have an easier route to F1.

    1. on the other hand, without a super license system, the best funded have an easier route to F1 regardless of their driving ability or lack there of. at least now there is a lowest common denominator…

  10. It’s a disgrace. A laughable disgrace that a driver with the experience of Herta was denied entry. The rules must be followed but the rules are clearly ridiculous.

  11. This comes across as a perfect example of rigidly sticking to an approach in the face of an issue that said approach wasn’t designed for. Like when they hung onto the ridiculous engine tokens, which were created on the assumption all the manufacturers would turn up in 2014 with similar engines, for as long as they did despite one manufacturer being miles ahead of all the rest and the tokens just locking in a disadvantage.

    The Super Licence points system was designed mainly to block uncompetitive but well-financed (Nikita Mazepin and Nicholas Latifi said hi) or inexperienced drivers from F1. It later acquired a second purpose, which it’s far more effective at, and that’s to consolidate the route to F1 within the FIA’s own championships.

    That it blocks experienced, obviously quick, experienced, professional single-seater drivers from a major series as well isn’t what it was designed for. That’s an unintended side-effect, and one that I’d look at and think ‘ah, maybe we can use some discretion here’. But it seems the response is ‘that’s the rule’, despite this not being what the rule exists to do.

    So we end up with Jehan Daruvala (no offence, just a convenient example), who Red Bull seemingly don’t want to promote despite him being in their Junior Team, having grinded his way to a Super Licence because he’s in the FIA ladder driving Premas and Carlins. And Colton Herta, who they do want, unable to get one because he’s in a competitive, professional series against experienced, professional drivers.

    I think from the comments I may be in a minority, but it just seems a bit… ‘computer says no’.

  12. The snarkiness of some of the posts is hilarious. Let’s not lose track of the fact that, the average fan on Racefans didn’t ask for Herta to be given an F1 seat, Red Bull management asked F1 because they think Herta is good enough to have a seat in one their four cars.

    1. Is that supposed to prove something? Have you recently looked at the long list of people Dr. Helmut Marko has at one point or another thought good enough for a seat in a Red Bull/Toro Rosso/Alpha Tauri/HRT?

      Hell, they have one guy at Alpha Tauri confirmed for his third year because of his passport. And the other is thought so highly of they threw him out of their #2 car, would rather have a middling pay-driver continue to occupy that seat, and in fact, are actively trying to dump him on the competition.

      Dr. Marko has done two things right: He got Seb early on and pounced on the opportunity to get him back when BMW didn’t take up their option and he got Max when he was on the market and moved him up to Red Bull at the perfect time.

      Does anyone think that Colton Herta is on the same level as those two?

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