Drivers can now be granted an F1 super-licence even if they only have three-quarters of the required points, under a new FIA ruling.
Previously, super-licences would only be granted to those drivers who accumulated 40 points under a weighted system based on their achievements in junior categories.
But after the FIA revealed earlier this year that the system would be reviewed due to the disruption caused by the global health pandemic, which reduced a number of 2020 campaigns, they have now issued a number of tweaks, outlined in their International Sporting Code.
Rather than the full 40 points, drivers can now be granted a super-licence if they have scored 30 points from the various championships and are “judged at the sole determination of the FIA as unable to qualify” normally “due to circumstances outside their control or reasons of force majeure”.
Any super-licence requests by drivers attempting to meet this criteria will require approval from the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, as reported by Motorsport.com.
A driver can score 30 points by finishing fourth or higher in Formula 2, or by winning the Formula 3 championship.
The FIA also confirmed they will account for the disrupted 2020 calendar by allowing drivers to discount the year and gain points across a four-year period, if required.
“Should the three-calendar year period immediately preceding the date of the application include the calendar year 2020, the FIA will consider the highest number of points accumulated in any three of the four calendar years immediately preceding the year of the date of the application,” the updated appendix reads.
There is also an updated concession for drivers to maintain a super-licence through free practice running, even if they are not racing in categories to accumulate enough points.
Drivers will meet the criteria if they have “been granted a super-licence (excluding Free Practice Only super-licence) and, prior to application, have previously completed at least 100km during a free practice session of an FIA Formula 1 World Championship competition in any of the previous three years.”
Among the drivers for whom the new ruling will remove any lingering doubts about whether they will be eligible for a super-licence are Yuki Tsunoda, Callum Ilott and Nikita Mazepin, all of whom have been linked with F1 seats for 2021.
Mick Schumacher already holds a super-licence, while Robert Shwartzman was also eligible in any case due to his achievements in Formula 3 and the Toyota Racing Series.