With today’s change on superlicenses, Max Verstappen will likely hold youngest start record for good

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Max Verstappen, the 17-year-old who will debut for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2015, will set a record by nearly two years as the youngest driver to have ever started a Grand Prix once he goes from the lights out at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix.

He’ll eclipse the mark set by another STR driver, Jaime Alguersuari, at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.

And Verstappen will likely have the record for good, with today’s update on FIA superlicense requirements as revealed following the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Doha, Qatar.

All drivers for 2016 will need to be at least 18 years old. So unless a younger 17-year-old debuts later in 2015, Verstappen will have his first place in the Formula One record books for a long time.

Here’s the official update from the FIA:

1- Safety criteria

The following changes have been made compared to the current regulations:

  • There is a valid driving licence requirement.
  • There is a minimum age requirement (18yo).
  • There is a verification of knowledge of the F1 Sporting Regulations/ISC rules.

2- Experience criteria

With the following changes compared to the current regulations:

  • There is the 300km in F1 TCC or TPC_ as a minimum requirement.
  • There is a 2 years minimum running in minor Formulas.

3- Performance criteria

With the following changes compared to the current regulations:

  •  There is a point system requirement, based on the driver results in previous Formulas.

Verstappen’s promotion has been the subject of some consternation throughout the year. But there’s also the argument that if you’re ready, you’re ready, regardless of age.

We shall see how Verstappen delivers in his rookie season next year.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”