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FIA relaxes superlicence requirements again in wake of pandemic

by Ida Wood

Photos: Formula Motorsport Limited

The FIA has relaxed the requirements to earn a superlicence to race in Formula 1 for the second successive season due to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Last October it was decided by the FIA Safety Commission that the eligibility criteria for the superlicence would be extended from three years to four to cover off the lack of points-scoring opportunities some drivers had in 2020.

The application of that meant if 2020 landed in the three years a driver would take results from for a superlicence application, they could instead take their highest-scoring three years of the last four.

That ruling has been extended to now be applicable to 2021 as well, as determined in last week’s World Motor Sport Council meeting, and the same logic is being used for other FIA racing licenses.

“An update of International Drivers’ Licence Regulation was approved,” read the notes from the WSMC meeting.

“Under the revised updates to Grade B, Grade A, Super Licence, e-Licence and Supplement 1 regulations there is an allowance for the reduced sporting activity in 2021 due to COVID-19, to enable competitors to make up for a disrupted season, and to provide measures which are adapted to travel and quarantine restrictions. The proposed change is to allow competitors to count their best three of four calendar years when the period includes 2020 or 2021.

“It was also agreed to update several articles of the drivers’ licence qualification regulations in order to clarify the qualification criteria for each grade. It is also proposed to align the terms used in these articles with the International Sporting Code.”

The superlicence change will be applied under a ‘2020 or 2021’ basis as the maximum allotted time period to earn points is still four years, but doesn’t rule out drivers applying for a 2022 licence making a pre-pandemic year one of their dropped ones.