Opinion: F1 Should Eliminate The Super Licence System – WTF1

Opinion: F1 Should Eliminate The Super Licence System

Getting an F1 seat is pretty tough already, and the FIA’s dated and confusing super licence system makes it harder still.

The super licence system awards drivers points based on their performance in FIA-recognised racing categories. 

Once they score 40 (over three consecutive seasons of racing), drivers are then eligible to race in F1. The aim behind this is to prevent cash-rich no-hopers from walking into F1 and taking up seats. 

But as each series is given a different number of points depending on how the FIA views it, the system becomes very subjective – and it risks keeping good drivers out!

IndyCar is a great example of a series currently getting screwed over by the FIA. 

Unless you win the IndyCar championship, you currently get fewer points for finishing in the top 10 of IndyCar than you do for the equivalent position in Formula 2.

This would be fine if IndyCar was a lesser competition than F2 but as ex-F2 championship runner-up turned IndyCar racer Callum Ilott said on Twitter: “Indy takes the cake: Average level of competition, races almost twice as long, no tyre saving so full attack whole time, physically draining, and much more variety of tracks.”

Colton Herta is currently a casualty of the system. Despite being a seven-time IndyCar race winner, he doesn’t qualify for a potential F1 seat at AlphaTauri next year as it stands due to his lack of super licence points. 

Instead of limiting potential drivers with a system designed to keep them away from F1, the FIA needs to keep things simple.  

From karting all the way through to F2 and IndyCar, the cream usually rises to the top in motorsport, making it fairly easy to separate the good drivers from the bad. 

So instead of faffing around with an artificial and biased grading system, drivers should simply be able to climb through the ranks, impress team principals and advisors, then take an F1 seat if they’re considered good enough. 

Commentator David Croft is always banging on about F1 being home to the best drivers in the world, so it’s about time the FIA made it easier for that to be true. 

Do you think the super licence system is pointless? Let us know in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “Opinion: F1 Should Eliminate The Super Licence System

  • Richard Jackson says:

    Kinda skipping over the point of the super license system mentioned right in the third paragraph.

    If one is allowed to pay to the top they become a legitimate safety hazard to others on the track.

    For that reason alone I wouldn’t do away with it altogether, but would definitely revisit the obvious imbalances around other race series – Indicar etc

  • So basically you are saying one thing then saying it should not be that way….. The superlicense point system needs to be reviewed, lots of F2 drivers get the best equipment because they have more money, some just dont have the talent. Yes F2 is a standart car series but the team knowledge matters, this is why we have the same teams on top every year. And thats why even some deivers on top teams cant cut it, but they might be lucky enough to get the full 40 points qnd get a place im F that they dont deserve, lets face it F1 has at least 2 drivers racing because of deep pockets, nothing new, some teams even léft better drivers on the side because others had more money, and winning the F2 championship doesnt mean you are the greatest talente there.. Davide Valsechi… won it.. he was not a ubber talent, he was like a swiss clock. Rethink the superlicense points allocstion but dont get rid of it.

  • Scrapping the system would be a mistake unless for some bizzare reason you want to open the door for sub-Latifi pay drivers. The answer is to merely tweak the scoring. It’s been a known fact for a while that the system undervalues Indycar. Normally this is all a moot point because F1 teams favour their own feeder system anyways and turn their noses at Indycar drivers even when they do qualify but Herta is an exception, drawing F1 interest even though he is not a championship driver.

  • No, F2 is the official feeder series. If every country starts having their own racing series then it will create a big mess of which winner gets to be selected for F1.

    Indycar drivers should be allowed or encouraged to try out in F2 and get selected for F1 if they do well enough.

    Callum Illot says average competition is tougher but he has no chance of winning against LeClerc, Russell, Piastri, Lewis, etc. Even finishing second doesn’t guarantee a F1 seat. So F2 is a lot harder to win just because of the world class quality of drivers there.

    Herta hasn’t even won an Indycar championship. Why should he get priority over someone like De Vries anyway?

    • Japanese SuperFormula already is on near parity with F2.
      Having other series valued as highly as F2 can give talented F2 champions and front runners somewhere to go that won’t erode their value, while the sparse 20 seats in F1 are already firmly occupied.

      If Formula E was valued higher, DeVries himself might not need to soak up three different teams FP1 outings just to stay relevant.
      Consider that. A World Champion in Formula E (and F2), soaking up drives in multiple different cars, very probably because of the points value.

      There is plenty of F2 talent in Indycar right now. If it was a ‘lesser series’ than F2, one would expect them to dominate, as well as the former F1 drivers in the series.
      They are certainly competitive, but they have not over run the series.
      I think that alone speaks to its competitive value.

  • Oppinions of Herta (or the validity of a points system that came about due to the controversial choice of the current world champion) aside, I think its reasonable to put IndyCar on points parity with F2 and SuperFormula.

    There may be justification for the points system, but the value of the various series seems absolutely arbitrary, if not blatantly biased towards Euro-centrism.

  • Zareth DeTullio says:

    Don’t fail to recognize that success in f3 and f2 isnt strictly without financial backing.
    This is exactly how you get latifis in F1.
    Do you see anyone in Indy racing because dad said so?
    The european feeder series are arguably more of an issue.
    Sure you need to meet the criteria and attract a team, but the super license is doable in time and then money talks.

  • Speciouspunter says:

    I have more than a few questions here. First the whole thing of being denied points as the IndyLights series did not have enough competitors to grant full points. How in any way shape or means can that be put on the drivers head? It was clearly out of his control.
    Second and with a bullet. If SL points are in fact given on merit (as FIA alleges they are) should their not in fact be a metric in place for at least the sophomore level drivers in F1 to be re evaluated as to said granting of points and a mechanism to revoke the SL or at least make them re qualify for the license? Ages ago when we had a lot more cars on the grid the qually percent rule was king, fall outside the envelope, you don’t race, why not apply that to the SL? Give anyone a chance and if you are outside the performance envelope, well down to the minors you go. The failure of the SL is not so much in how you get one, moreso it is once you get one it is carved in stone. Sure you get penalties but there is no mechanism to revoke the license other than life threatening and dire circumstances. The most you will get is a race ban. Bring back meritocracy and if you are not performing up to snuff your media spinners don’t get to make the excuse, your license is now under review and if you cannot up your game, find other employment.

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