Category Archives: Formula E

New F1 Licence Rules Could Rule Out Future Champs

The FIA World Motor Sport Council held their annual meeting in Mexico City last week and announced key changes to the way the Formula One Super Licence will be awarded. Incredibly the new criteria, had they always been in place, would have prevented all but one Formula One World Champion since 1997 from entering the sport when they did.

The changes, to be introduced at the start of next year, rank drivers’ achievements in lower categories using a points system. A driver must have enough points to apply for a Super Licence, the licence required to drive an F1 car during a Grand Prix Weekend. The proposal had been made earlier this year, but amid complaints of how certain categories were ranked, the FIA made some adjustments.

From next year onwards, in order to be granted a Super Licence, a driver is required to (among other things) have accumulated 40 points in the three previous years according to the points system below.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
FIA F2 40 40 40 30 20 10 8 6 4 3
GP2 40 40 30 20 10 8 6 4 3 2
F3 European 40 30 20 10 8 6 4 3 2 1
WEC LMP1 40 30 20 10 8 6 4 3 2 1
IndyCar 40 30 20 10 8 6 4 3 2 1
FR3.5 35 25 20 15 10 7 5 3 2 1
GP3 30 20 15 10 7 5 3 2 1 0
Super Formula 25 20 15 10 7 5 3 2 1 0
WTCC 15 12 10 7 5 3 2 1 0 0
DTM 15 12 10 7 5 3 2 1 0 0
Indy Lights 15 12 10 7 5 3 2 1 0 0
National FIA F4 12 10 7 5 3 2 1 0 0 0
National F3 10 7 5 3 1 0 0 0 0 0
FR2.0 10 7 5 3 1 0 0 0 0 0
CIK-FIA Senior 5 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
  • The Formula E champion will be automatically awarded a Super Licence despite 2nd, 3rd, etc.  effectively meaning nothing

I decided to examine the points system and see how it would have affected the current F1 drivers. While it makes no difference now since they already have Super Licences, the list of drivers that would have been ruled out is surprising!

The changes were sparked by Toro Rosso’s signing of 17-year-old Max Verstappen, a boy with only one year experience racing cars. So I was expecting it to rule out a lot of younger drivers. But the list of drivers ruled out included race winners, and world champions! Of the current F1 grid, the following drivers had fewer than 40 points when they entered the sport:

Sebastian Vettel
Kimi Räikkönen
Fernando Alonso
Jenson Button
Felipe Massa
Daniel Ricciardo
Marcus Ericsson
Carlos Sainz Jr
Max Verstappen
Will Stevens

Looking back another two seasons and you can add Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil, Kamui Kobayashi, Jean-Éric Vergne, André Lotterer, Max Chilton, and Giedo van der Garde to that list.

I could have gone on, but I decided to just focus on notable drivers from the past. Two legends of the sport, Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli would also have needed more experience before racing in F1. Most surprising, however, both Michael Schumacher and Mika Häkkinen also fell short of the 40 points, even when you replace their achievements with today’s equivalent.

All in all, this means that the only world champion since 1997 who would have qualified under the new regulations is Lewis Hamilton. In fact he would have 88 points, and could have entered a year earlier.

This all begs the question, is the new system necessary? Some of the best drivers in the history of the sport are on the list. There have been very few bad, or dangerous drivers in the past. The only one I can think of in recent years is Yuji Ide, who was stripped of his Super Licence after only four races after numerous crashes. Amazingly, he would still have gotten a Super Licence under the new rules! So who are they trying to stop from entering the sport?

The points system does not just apply to Formula One. A similar licence for Formula E is being introduced next season which affects the current drivers! In order to be awarded an ‘e-Licence’, a driver must have 20 points in the previous three years, OR have taken part in three ePrix in the last season, OR have previously held a Super Licence.

By my calculations this means that six of the drivers from last season are not allowed to race next season! Don’t worry, Yuji you’ll be alright since you had a Super Licence in the past.

Oliver Turvey, Simona de Silvestro, Matthew Brabham, Marco Andretti, Katerine Legge, and Antonio Garcia will not be allowed eLicences next season under the new rules. Turvey and de Silvestro raced at the end of last season and may have expected to continue into next season. Turvey had two solid points finishes in London, yet according to the FIA he is now too inexperienced to race a Formula E car.



Five Reasons to Watch Formula E

History will be made this weekend when 20 fully electric race cars will start the world’s first ever ePrix. The new Formula E racing series will showcase future technology which could eventually be applied to road cars. According to the FIA Formula E website the goal is “to improve the image and perception of electric vehicles and to encourage more people to buy and use them”.

Formula E is also a chance to expand motorsport’s fan base. You don’t have to be interested in green technology to enjoy FE. Here are five reasons to watch Formula E:

1- It’s coming to a city near you

Formula E will take place on city streets travelling to at least 8 different countries in the inaugural season. Chances are you’re not too far away from one. Tickets for the first race in Beijing have already sold out and if you’re lucky enough to live near Long Beach you can go to your local event for free!

The events won’t simple be a race that comes and goes. Each city will have musicians performing in entertainment areas where fans can also meet the drivers and drive simulators. What’s more, later this year there will be a motor show at the events to showcase the race cars and electric road vehicles.

2- Single day racing

If you live in one of the host cities this might please you. In order to minimize disruption, all track action will happen on the same day.

Most motorsport events take place over an entire weekend with qualifying happen on a separate day to the race. For spectators this means a lot of travel from hotels to race tracks each day and for fans watching at home it means you can’t see everything in one sitting. A lot of weekend sports, such as Formula 1 and Golf have a noticeable rise in viewing figures on the final day of each event. Most people just care about someone winning and don’t want to wait around.

3- You can make a difference!

In football the fans, or so-called “12th man”, can be a good moral boost. Playing at home is usually an advantage as you have the majority of the crowd cheering you on.

In Formula E you can help your favourite driver in a notable way. Support your driver using fan boost and it may help him or her win! Before each race the three drivers with the most votes will be given a special five second boost. For those five seconds their motor will be more powerful and it could help them get past another car.

4- Watch drivers change cars

These electric cars are completely new -the technology is new. Batteries are heavy and range is still the biggest issue when it comes to electric cars. As a result each driver will get two cars to use during every race. A mandatory switch must happen in the garage and races could be won or lost at the switch.

The car switch will be interesting to watch. How quickly can someone unbuckle, remove the steering wheel, jump out, run to a fully charged car, and get strapped in? It might be a slow process at the start but expect it to get quicker later in the series.

5- Experienced drivers in the same cars

This weekend you can watch Prost and Senna race live against each other. Not the Prost and Senna of the late 80’s and early 90s, but the next generation. It will be nice to see the names together on timing screens again.

The Formula E field boasts an impressive lineup. All but four have driven a Formula One car before and over half have raced in F1. A lot of talented drivers have been forced out of F1 due to lack of sponsorship, and Formula E looks like the place for them to go.

These are some great racers -such as Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld for example, and all will be racing in spec cars. Every car this year will have the exact same components so driver skill will play an important role.

The first race will take place this Saturday in Beijing and I’m excited to see how it goes.