It might be the off-season in Formula One, but rest assured that as ever, the FIA are getting themselves and the sport into a state of hysteria. We wouldn’t have it any other way, would we?
This time around it’s the F1 superlicense that’s the punch-line, with drivers now requiring three years previous car racing experience before racing in the big time, and a total of 40 ‘points’, and to be a minimum age of 18 years old.
We know what you’re thinking; yes, it is the most controversial set of numbers the FIA have toyed with since, well the now infamous ‘double points’ rule last year. This one’s gone down just as well in The Sett.
Here’s ten reasons why the governing body’s latest whim is borderline ridiculous.
1. The most valuable championship – ‘Future Formula 2’ – hasn’t even been established yet.
2. It values all championships differently, creating an unbalanced pecking order. Like trying to rank Football players or your favourite songs.
3. It will saturate the drivers market with drivers banging on the door to be in F1 who can’t take a test/reserve driver position, as a year out of racing will hurt his, or hers, points tally.
4. Speaking of ‘hers’ – amidst the current wave of girl-power energising the support, most notably with Clare Williams and Susie Wolff at Williams, not a single female in top level motorsport is even close to the points tally, Wolff included.
5. The FIA have used the next bullet in the chamber not used against Formula Renault 3.5 to shoot themselves directly in the foot. By neglecting Formula E from their calculations – an FIA commissioned series that’s had doubters against its credibility from the very moment it was announced – they’ve hammered a nail into it’s coffin already.
6. It tends to rub salt in the still open wounds of potentially losing Marussia and Caterham, two teams that arguably relied on ‘pay drivers’ to keep them afloat. This ruling inadvertantly prevents such drivers bringing money in.
Okay, noone wants to see below-par drivers in F1, but we’d rather see that than see two teams and 500+ jobs go.
But no, the FIA are nervy about a quick 17-year old who’s already performed in an F1 car, and is about to embark on three multi-day tests ahead of his race debut in Australia. Now where’s that spade, because heads need digging out the sand.
7. Here’s a thing; Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Jim Clark, Fernando Alonso and Juan Manual Fangio. All World Champions in their own right, but none of these would have made into F1 under Jean Todt’s 2015 ruling. Clark’s tractor might have even given him minus points.
8. In theory, a windfall of cash could see anyone race against the likes of Alice Powell for three years in a 5-car field such as the 2014 British F3 championship, and amass the same amount of points as winning Formula Renault against a larger field that, in the last decade or so, boasted names such as Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz Jr., etc, etc.
9. Removes the possibility of a wildcard teenager that could have the talent, such as when Sebastian Vettel made his debut in 2007 for BMW Sauber at the US Grand Prix, but we’ll never know for sure. Interestingly, Vettel would have qualified for his 2008 seat at Toro Rosso.
10. No more Yuji Ide’s.
(OK, so it’s not all bad)
Spare a thought also for Max Verstappen, who sits at home in the Netherlands as you read this. The record for youngest ever start in Formula One will be in his name come March and, barring any change of plans from the FIA, will forever have it. That’s a bit..strange.