FIA outlines new Superlicense requirements

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Towards the end of 2014, the FIA established that it would be implementing a new protocol for how it determines who can get an F1 Superlicense.

It’s not officially known as the “Max Verstappen rule,” but with the 17-year-old Dutchman set for his debut in two months, he’ll likely be the last 17-year-old for some time.

On Tuesday, they’ve revealed the details in full.

Prior to today’s announcement, drivers would have needed to fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

  • Made at least 5 Grand Prix starts the previous year, or 15 over the past three years
  • Have previously held a Superlicense and been regular test driver for a team over the past year
  • Have been classified, in either of the last two years, in the first three in the final classification of: F2, International F3 Trophy, GP2, GP2 Asia or Japanese Formula Nippon; in the first four in IndyCar; or current champion of F3 Euro Series, principal national F3 championships (Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Japan), World Series by Renault
  • Be judged by the FIA to have consistently demonstrated outstanding ability in single-seaters but with no opportunity to qualify, at which point they’d need to drive at least 300 km in a current F1 car over two days

That has now changed. The new details include being 18 years old, completing a question & answer session regarding the International Sporting Code and F1 Sporting Regulations, completed at least 80 percent of two full seasons in a championship outlined in Supplement 1 of the regulations, drive at least 300 km, and at fulfilling least one of the two new criteria:

  • Made at least 5 Grand Prix starts the previous year, or 15 over the past three years
  • Have accumulated at least 40 points during the three years preceding his or her application

Championships that count towards the points structure include any of the Formula Renault 1.6 or 2.0 International Series, Formula 3 National Championships, Formula 3 European Championship, Formula 4, Indy Lights, IndyCar, GP2, GP3, Super Formula, World Series by Renault, FIA WEC (LMP1 only), and a future Formula 2 championship.

The table of points is outlined with finishes from first through 10th place, and is revealed as follows:

  • Future F2: 60-50-40-30-20-10-8-6-4-3
  • GP2: 50-40-30-20-10-8-6-4-3-2
  • F3 Europe, WEC LMP1, IndyCar: 40-30-20-10-8-6-4-3-2-1
  • GP3, World Series by Renault: 30-20-15-10-7-5-3-2-1 (points to ninth)
  • Super Formula: 20-15-10-7-5-3-2-1 (points to eighth)
  • Formula 4, National Formula 3: 10-7-5-2-1 (points to fifth)
  • Formula Renault: 5-3-1 (points to third)

The takeaway here is that GP2 and F2 rank much higher in the points system than GP3 and WSR, which have seen a number of graduates in recent years.

It also is meant to discourage the likelihood of F3 drivers making it to F1 straight from F3, without at least a year in either Super Formula or GP3/WSR first.

The full regulations, changes of which can be found starting on page 21, are linked here.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”