Super Licence Points – What Does It Mean in 2016?

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F1 drivers have required a super licence to compete for many years, but in early 2015 the FIA announced that they would introduce a new system for drivers to qualify for the necessary super licence.  AUTOSPORT covered the revised details here.  This system comes into force for the 2016 season, and in the story about Rio Haryanto taking the final seat on the grid some have questioned how the rookie drivers for this year have qualified.

Late last year over at F1Fanatic, they kindly published a list of who had scored enough points over the last three years to qualify for a super licence this year.  From their list, there are only 34 drivers who have the requisite number of points (40) to automatically qualify. Some of these have retired, and some have already competed in F1 and are unlikely to return.

Points Driver
140 Andre Lotterer
105 Stoffel Vandoorne
100 Scott Dixon
90 Benoit Treluyer
90 Marcel Fassler
79 Loic Duval
75 Esteban Ocon
73 Felix Rosenquest
70 Will Power
68 Sebastien Buemi
68 Anthony Davidson
68 Helio Castroneves
62 Kazuki Nakajima
60 Oliver Rowland
58 Alex Lynn
50 Felipe Nasr
50 Raffaele Marciello
50 Tom Kristensen
46 Jolyon Palmer
43 Alexander Rossi
43 Antonio Giovinazzi
42 Sergey Sirotkin
42 Brendon Hartley
42 Mark Webber
42 Timo Bernard
41 Nyck de Vries
40 Fabio Leimer
40 Sam Bird
40 Allan McNish
40 Marvin Kirchhofer
40 Neel Jani
40 Marc Lieb
40 Romain Dumas
40 Juan Pablo Montoya

Now as you can see most of the current F1 grid isn’t on the list, that is because they haven’t been competing in the qualifying series in the last three seasons.  However as existing super licence holders they are allowed to retain them.  Jolyon Palmer has the necessary points to qualify, but the two Manor drivers (Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto) appear to have insufficient points, Wehrlein has just 16 points while Haryanto is better off with 20.

Importantly for drivers who get a test role in an F1 team, they can hold onto their qualifying points for three years before racing.  This would potentially allow Wehrlein to count the points he gained from being 2nd in Euro F3 and 4th in FIA F3 Euro in 2012 (potentially 40 points), as he was and F1 tester for Mercedes in 2014 and 2015.

Haryanto has also had sporadic F1 tests, starting with Vrigin in 2010 then Marussia in 2012 and Manor in 2015.  This may allow him to count super licence points earned back to 2010 (three years to earn the points and three years grace), he could potentially get 7 points for coming 5th in G3 in 2010 and 3 points for coming 7th in GP3 in 2011.  This still wouldn’t give him sufficient points to gain a super licence, so the FIA must be allowing him a licence on the basis that he has held one for testing for so long.

The impact this may have is on the choice of nominated third drivers for teams this season.  Should a freak gust of wind blow again in pre-season testing, McLaren will be OK as Stoffel Vandoorne has sufficient points, but other teams may not be as well prepared.  Force India are the only other team to have a test driver listed on the Forix site.  Alfonso Celis did test last year, so may possibly be in the same boat as Haryanto in being able to retain a super license, but for some of the other teams it may be harder to find a qualified driver at short notice.  Most of the development drivers have only ever driven simulators, so will not be ale to argue for the same dispensation, and there are very few young drivers with the requisite number of points.

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Yeti

The system starts this year, so anyone asking for a super licence must qualify according to the rules. To obtain a (new) super licence, one must have enough points. For one who already has a super licence, these points do not apply. Just having a super licence in the past three years is enough. As is stated in the rules: “The FIA’s International Sporting Code sets down the rules for how drivers can earn points to obtain an F1 licence. From this year drivers must be at least 18 years old and hold a valid road driving licence. They must… Read more »

MIE

But did Wehrlein and Haryanto need a super licence to test last year, or are they only needed for racing? If you need the super licence to test, then why is there the dispensation that a driver with a test contract can keep his points for a further three years?

Yeti

Don’t think you need one for testing. Except for free practice as that is in a race weekend. But starting from this year, you need 40 points to apply for a super licence but if you obtain one (or already have one), you can race within three years after obtaining that licence without the need for gaining more points. Wehrlein already had a super licence because he was reserve driver and Haryanto probably applied for a licence last year because of his test.

Paul KieferJr

So, why did the teams bypass the best ones and settle for the ones that shouldn’t have even been considered?

Shocks&Awe
Forrest

I’ll tell you what super licence points mean, jack squat! The FIA is already making exceptions to their unnecessary, knee-jerk reaction rule in the first year of its existence. The super licence points rule was more about pushing young drivers out of rival feeder series(i.e. Formula Renault) and into Bernie owned GP3 and GP2.

I just want to see what would happen in the future if Haas ever wants to hire a race winning Indycar driver who doesn’t have enough points, or if McLaren/Honda want to sign a successful Super Formula driver out of Japan(I’m not referring to Vandoorne).

Negative Camber
mini696

What? No Pastor?

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