The FIA’s new super licence points system would even have locked Michael Schumacher out of F1. Apparently reacting to the controversial debut this year of 17-year-old Max Verstappen, the sport’s governing body will clamp down hard on the qualifications for the mandatory F1 driving credential in 2016. But as the details of the licence points system for junior categories emerged this week, some calculations show that many of the sport’s top names would have fallen foul of the FIA’s tough new criteria for experience.
Writing in Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, correspondent Tobias Gruner calculated that someone like Nico Hulkenberg, having won F3 and GP2 titles, would have collected almost three times the necessary 40 points for his F1 debut. But Daniel Ricciardo, on the other hand, would have seen his 2011 debut denied, despite collecting experience in Formula Renault, F3 and the World Series. Also locked out of F1 at the very beginning of their careers would have been the highly-respected veterans Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button, who went on to win world championships.
Gruner added: “And since a DTM title counts for nothing, former Force India driver Paul di Resta also would not have got his super licence.”
And if the 2016 system had applied at the end of 2009, the great seven time world champion Michael Schumacher would not have been allowed to return to F1 the following year for Mercedes, Auto Motor und Sport continued. That is because the FIA is requiring even former F1 drivers to have contested at least 5 grands prix in the past season, or 15 grands prix in the previous three years. “Theoretically,” said Gruner, “the record world champion would not have qualified for a super licence.”