Know the requirements of the super licence to compete in Formula One

Know the requirements of the super licence to compete in Formula One

27-09-2022 18:20

Following the recent case involving Colton Herta and AlphaTauri, the superlicence has once again become a hot topic of discussion within Formula 1. Many agree with the measure that is currently adopted by the FIA, while others no longer see so much use in it.

Any driver who wants a place in Formula One will not only need to be fast or have a sponsor to help him with a lot of money but will also need to prove to the FIA that he has the basic requirements needed. And how do drivers do that? By presenting their super licence. But what is a super licence? It is the highest licence available and is granted by the FIA.

The Federation created the super licence system in 2015, shortly after Max Verstappen's arrival in motorsport's top category. The FIA's main aim was to avoid two situations: first, to prevent too many young drivers from arriving too early in F1; second, to prevent "paying drivers" from getting a spot.

Requirements for the super licence

Therefore, in order to obtain a super licence, drivers need to meet certain requirements, which are:

. Be at least 18 years of age when entering their first Formula One race;

. Already hold a Grade A International competition licence;

. Have a valid driving licence;

. Pass an FIA theory test on the F1 sporting codes and regulations;

. Have completed at least 80% of two full seasons in a single-seater championship;

. To have collected at least 40 points in three years in one of the categories recognised by the FIA;

. Completed 300km in a representative F1 car in a maximum of two days, either as part of an official F1 session or in a test approved by a national motorsport federation.

How are points distributed?

To achieve these requirements, such as 40 points over three years or 80% of two full seasons, there are many ways in which drivers can earn points. The scoring system developed by the FIA takes into account the driver's final position in the championship, as well as in which category they have competed. Formula 2 is the category that awards the most points to drivers who aim to reach Formula 1. Below is a chart published on our Instagram profile showing how points are distributed in each category.

Ver esta publicação no Instagram

Uma publicação partilhada por (@gpblog_com)

Why is a super licence necessary?

The purpose of the super licence is to prevent drivers who do not have sufficient skills from participating in the category, which could undermine the safety that is so prized in Formula 1. However, this does not mean that accidents will not happen. Therefore, drivers can accumulate penalty points if they cause accidents or drive in a dangerous manner, for example. Each penalty point lasts for 12 months. Should a driver accumulate more than 12 penalty points within a 12-month period, they will be banned for one race, while those who receive 5 or more warnings within a season will be punished with 10 grid positions.

Which F2 drivers have a super licence?

Speaking of the drivers of the main access category to Formula One, which of them have the number of points and all the necessary requirements to occupy a seat in the main category, should they find one available? Remembering that the top three drivers in F2 accumulate 40 points in their respective super licenses at the end of the season, allowing them to move up to the next category. Among them is the reigning champion Felipe Drugovich, who has already signed a deal with Aston Martin to become a test and development driver for the team in 2023. Théo Pourchaire and Logan Sargeant, who is being considered to occupy the vacancy left by Latifi at Williams, are also able to drive in Formula 1. Sargeant, however, still needs to finish in the top five to secure his super licence, but with only the Abu Dhabi race left in the season, he is likely to make it. Jack Doohan is another junior driver who has recently had his name mentioned in Formula 1, but even though he has secured the necessary points with his current position in the F2 championship, it doesn't look like the Alpine Academy driver will get a seat in the premier class next year.

Has any driver ever managed to enter F1 without a superlicence?

To date, no driver has been granted an exception to allow them to race in F1 without having a superlicence. Recently, Red Bull pushed hard with the FIA to allow IndyCar driver Colton Herta to race for AlphaTauri in 2023, but with only 32 points earned on his super licence, the Federation rejected the request.

Video player

More videos