Super Licence

Drivers may only compete in Formula 1 if he or she holds a ‘Super Licence’. There is no public list of Super Licence holders and there is often confusion over which drivers are eligible.

In 2015 the FIA World Motor Sport Council announced a new system they claimed would enhance the old structure. It is based on allocating points to results in different championships according to a weighted scale, drivers applying for a Super Licence must collect a minimum level of points over 3 years. This will take effect from the 2016 season.

The Rules

I do not have a copy of the rules. My information is based entirely on FIA World Motorsport Council press releases from December 2014 and July 2015 and the rules as they were in about 2011. These documents state changes have been made to the previous regulations, not that the previous regulations have been replaced, so I assume many of the older rules still apply.

– Drivers must hold a valid road drivers’ licence.

– Drivers must hold a FIA International Grade A competition licence.

– Drivers must be at least 18 years of age.

– “There is a verification of knowledge of the F1 Sporting Regulations / International Sporting Code rules.”

– A Super Licence holder retains it for 3 years even if he or she does not compete in Formula 1. This is to acknowledge the current situation with the lack of testing in F1 (test drivers, etc.).

– Drivers must have completed 300km of testing in a Formula 1 car that is not older than 3 years.

– Drivers must have made at least 5 starts in the F1 World Championship in the previous year, or 15 starts in the previous 3 years.

– Or have previously held the Super Licence and been a regular test driver with an F1 World Championship team in the previous year.

– If none of the above, to gain a Super Licence a driver must amass 40 points over the previous 3 years using the points scale in this download:

FIA Super Licence Points (PDF download)

These aren’t championship points for those series, they are purely points assigned to the finishing positions by the FIA for Super Licence purposes.

– Additionally, the champion of FIA Formula E will be awarded a Super Licence despite the series not being allocated any SL eligibility points.

Formula E

As of the July 2015 WMSC meeting, any driver racing in Formula E (effectively from the start of Season 2 in September 2015) must have accumulated 20 points towards a Super Licence according to the scale in the PDF, or have previously held a Super Licence, or have raced in the series for at least 3 races in the previous season.

My Analysis

I agree the old system needed overhauling. I never agreed with restricting the number of drivers from other series as the old rules did. The new system is much clearer – albeit it takes a spreadsheet to make it clear!

I think LMP1 and IndyCar are undervalued but I understand why GP2 and ‘Future Formula 2’ are at a higher level – you don’t want F1 teams cherry picking talent from the other top series! F1 is maligned enough in their eyes without it acting like a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up ALL the talent. If the idea behind the system is not to rank championships but to get F1 teams to look at GP2/F2 first, then the priority towards the level below F1 makes sense.

FIA Formula 3 is over-valued – it carries the same as LMP1 and IndyCar and more than World Series FR3.5! FR3.5 should be the same or just below GP2, with F3 and GP3 slightly below that. I can follow their logic even if I disagree with it:  If you want GP2 drivers to be the priority, and drivers are only supposed to be in GP2 for 2 or 3 years, you would count the series below GP2 in your SL points calculation. What feeds into GP2? F3 and GP3. Which series has the FIA been pushing lately? FIA European F3!

The intent is clear – move drivers from the FOM-affiliated GP3 over to FIA Formula 3. And if GP2 becomes FIA Formula 2 as seems possible, where does that leave GP3? Will it be killed off?

The positioning of FIA Formula 4 above various national F3 series – including Japan – seems an oddity. My only guess is the same as above, the FIA wants their F4 drivers to feed into FIA F3 therefore let’s give them a helping hand with SL points.

The Single Seater Commission’s attempt to reduce the vast number of junior open wheel ladder series generally and in Europe in particular has already destroyed many F3 series, aiming to create a straightforward ladder. As sad as this is and while I’m all for an open market, I don’t really have a problem with any of this, there are too many series with one or two good drivers and a load of makeweights.

The lack of LMP2 in the structure is a mystery to me and arguably so is the lack of GT racing. A very high number of very good single seater drivers have turned to LMP2 and GT racing. If single seaters want to win them back it should acknowledge them.

DTM is rewarded with a small number of points, reasonably so as a few guys are trying to use it to sidestep their way to F1 the way Paul di Resta did, but the points level is so low as to make it almost impossible. I have no idea why WTCC is included other than it carries the FIA tag- nobody tries to go from WTCC to F1! It looks like a case of ‘me too’ just because DTM has them.

Glad to see IndyCar and Super Formula get points. Even Indy Lights. Theoretically with their great new car the Lights should get many more points than this but it has been a very weak series for a long time so you can understand why not.

Will it work? The only way to check is either wait for 2016, or apply these rules to existing data. That will follow here soon.

Further Reading on This Site

I previously wrote about the old system when I reviewed who was eligible in 2012.

– How would it look if this system was used going into 2015?

(To follow): How are the points shaping up for 2016?

One thought on “Super Licence

  1. Thank you for all your effort my friend.. this is what I’ve been looking for. I love so many types of racing. thank you again. your work is appreciated a lot


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