As Red Bull’s Liam Lawson prepares for the second round of his Super Formula campaign, he has called for the Super Licence points on offer in the category to be raised to level of Formula 2.
Lawson is looking to follow the same path which former Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly did, that being to use Japan’s top open-wheel racing series, Super Formula, as the base to earn a seat in Formula 1.
And Lawson made a stronger start than even Gasly did in his campaign that landed him a future Toro Rosso seat, Lawson pulling off the rare accomplishment of winning his very first race in Super Formula. Going for the title then is not an unrealistic thought.
Lawson already has his Super Licence which permits him to compete in Formula 1, with 40 serving as that magic total for a driver. 25 Super Licence points are awarded to the Super Formula Championship winner, 20 to the runner-up and 15 for P3.
However, Formula 2, recognised as the highest FIA junior category on the road to F1, offers 40 points for a driver that finishes in the top three positions of the championship.
The only other category which offers that amount is IndyCar for the title winner, but Lawson believes that Super Formula deserves to achieve parity with the points that F2 is offering.
“If you don’t have one [a superlicence], the way it is structured at the moment, you have to do Formula 2 just because it offers so many points,” Lawson told Autosport.
“I wish they offered the same number of points here, 40 points, because then I think a lot more people would do it.
“This championship should be what F2 is to be honest. With how the cars are and the way the teams operate, it is much closer to Formula 1.”
Super Formula needs more F1 prospects like Liam Lawson
Since Super Formula is not a common stop for F1 team-affiliated youngsters looking to make that breakthrough, it is understandable that the FIA tries to pump the greatest rewards into its traditional route to F1, that being Formula Regional, Formula 3 and F2.
But, with Lawson having made a strong start to the 2023 Super Formula campaign, heading into the second round P2 in the standings, he could really put that series on the map for fellow aspiring young drivers and their backers to make Super Formula the next destination.
If Lawson can continue to operate in those top positions, then he has every chance of perhaps landing an AlphaTauri seat for F1 2024, which would see him follow in the footsteps of Gasly who was runner-up in the 2017 standings and debuted with Toro Rosso later that year.
Lawson already has his Super Licence, the New Zealander having finished P3 in last season’s F2 standings, but for young drivers who do not, he could well highlight Super Formula as an accessible path to F1, and push the FIA towards upping the Super Licence points on offer.