FIA changes rules for free practice-only Formula 1 superlicense
The FIA has revised the Appendix L to the International Sporting Code, especially the rules relating to the awarding of driver superlicenses to drive in Formula 1's official free practice sessions. The young drivers will now have additional requirements to be fulfilled.
According to the new ruling, the drivers will have to compete in at least six FIA Formula 2 Championship events to apply for a FP-only superlicense or the driver has to have 25 license points from the previous three years from any FIA-regulated championships.
Along with the new requirements, the usual rules relating to age, experience in a F1 car and knowledge of the International Sporting Code and F1 Sporting Regulations stays on. For any subsequent re-application, the driver must complete a full F2 season or must have 25 points accumulated in any FIA-regulated series in the three years.
The full regulation:
5.2 Qualifications for Free Practice Only Super Licence
5.2.1 The driver must be the holder of a current FIA International Grade A licence.
5.2.2 The driver must be the holder of a valid driving licence when he applies for a Free Practice Only Super Licence for the first time.
5.2.3 The driver must be at least 18 years old at the start of the event of his first F1 race weekend.
5.2.4 a) The first time he applies for a Free Practice Only Super Licence, the driver must have completed 6 events of the FIA Formula 2 Championship or have accumulated at least 25 points, during the previous three-year period. In addition, the driver must successfully complete a question session regarding the most important points of the International Sporting Code and of the F1 Sporting Regulations.
b) For all successive Free Practice Only Super Licence requests, the driver must have completed a full season of the FIA Formula 2 Championship, or have accumulated at least 25 points, during the previous three-year period. In addition, the F1 team concerned has to certify, through the F1 Super Licence application form, that they have held a briefing with their driver about the most important points of the International Sporting Code and of the F1 Sporting Regulations.
5.2.5 The driver must be judged by the FIA to have consistently demonstrated outstanding ability in single-seater formula cars. The F1 team concerned must show that the applicant has driven at least 300 km in a representative Formula One car(1) consistently at racing speeds, over a maximum period of 2 days, completed not more than 180 days prior to the application and certified by the ASN of the country in which the test took place.
5.2.6 The driver will be on probation for a period of 12 months, during which the Free Practice Only Super Licence will be held provisionally and subject to review at any time.
(1)TCC or TPC as defined in the F1 Sporting Regulations
Among the drivers who took part in various free practice sessions throughout the 2017 season, only Force India's Alfonso Celis Jr wouldn't be allowed to take part under the new regulations. Meanwhile, Toro Rosso's Sean Gelael would be allowed, given his experience in GP2 and F2.
Elsewhere, even though Force India/Mercedes' George Russell did not have the F2 experience since he was racing in the GP3 Series, but his 25 points from European F3 stint was enough to get him the license under the new regulations.
Whereas for Haas/Sauber/Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, his re-application wouldn't have seen any issues after his GP3 title win in 2016, while Renault's Sergey Sirotkin's prior GP2 experience would have helped him with his re-application.