The FIA has announced plans to review the criteria under which a driver qualified for an FIA Super License, following questions raised in the wake of Max Verstappen’s upcoming appointment to Scuderia Toro Rosso next year.
Verstappen – son of ex-F1 racer Jos Verstappen – will become the youngest Formula 1 driver in history when he takes to the grid at next year’s Australian Grand Prix, aged seventeen. The Dutch youngster has met the criteria for an F1 Super License after completing over 300 kilometres of running in private testing with the Red Bull feeder team.
A Super License is mandatory for all Grand Prix drivers in order to race in Formula 1, and any new driver automatically qualifies if they have met criteria of success in junior motorsport categories and achieved 300 kilometres (190 miles) of running in a Formula One car in accordance with Appendix L of the 2013 FIA International Sporting Code.
These requirements state that the driver must be either the reigning champion in a lower category of motor sport, for example a national or regional FIA-sanctioned Formula 3 Championship, GP3 Series, GP2 Series or Formula Renault 3.5 Series, or must have consistently finished well in these categories. For example, a driver who has achieved a minimum of five podium finishes within the last two years in GP2 will be eligible for a Super Licence.
The Caterham F1 Team’s recent attempts to appoint former DTM racer Roberto Merhi into a race seat at the Italian Grand Prix were unsuccessful in accordance with the rules, as the Spaniard’s Formula 3 Euro Series title from 2011 fell outside the three-year time limit specified in the criteria. The 23-year-old was only permitted to drive in Friday’s opening practice session, with the seat taken over by Kamui Kobayashi for the rest of the weekend.
The FIA has, however, announced that it will review the current guidelines with a view to implement revised guidelines by 2016, after a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in Beijing last weekend.
“A mandate has been given to the FIA Administration to review the qualification and conditions for the issuing of a super licence, in consultation with all parties concerned,” a statement from the FIA reads.
“A proposal will be put forward for WMSC approval in December for implementation in 2016.”
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