FIA makes it harder to qualify for an F1 Superlicense
In order to qualify for an FIA Superlicense, from now on, you're going to need to be at least 18 years old. That means that if he hadn't already qualified, 17-year-old Max Verstappen – who will become the youngest driver ever to compete in F1 when he starts this coming season for Scuderia Toro Rosso – would not be eligible. It also means that he'll likely continue to hold the record as the youngest driver ever to start a grand prix in perpetuity.
Toro Rosso has a history of starting young drivers: Prior to Verstappen's controversial signing, Jaime Alguersuari was the youngest at 19 years and 125 days when he started the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. Daniil Kvyat was also 19 when he started last year's Australian Grand Prix – as was Fernando Alonso, for that matter, at the 2001 running of the same race with STR's predecessor Minardi.
The age restriction isn't the only new criteria the FIA has put in place, however. Qualifying candidates will also need to have proven their abilities through victory in other formula racing series. The new system works on points awarded according to a defined system, and F1 hopefuls will need 40 of them to qualify. Drivers who finish first or second in GP2 or win the F3 European Championship, the LMP1 class of the World Endurance Championship or the IndyCar title can make the lead. First, second or third in a future F2 championship would also do the trick, but anything less than that and it'll need to be backed up by other success.
Additional qualifying series include GP3, Formula Renault 3.5, Japanese Super Formula or any FIA-sanctioned national F4 or F3 series all count towards the points needed to gain a superlicense, but you'll need to do more than just win one of those championships to qualify. The inclusion of Indy (despite not being sanctioned by the FIA) and the WEC, however, open the criteria to a broader array of accomplished circuit racers.
The long and short of it, though, is that even if Verstappen were old enough, he still wouldn't have accrued enough points to qualify for a Superlicense. Good thing for him and his team that he already did before they changed the rules.
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