FIA Super Licence
The FIA Super Licence is a qualification allowing the licence-holder to compete in the Formula One World Championship as a driver. The licence is issued to drivers who have met a criteria of success in junior motorsport categories and achieved 300 kilometres (190 mi) of running in a Formula One car.
To qualify for an FIA Super Licence the requesting driver must already be the holder of a Grade A competition licence, and additionally meet the requirements of the 2013 FIA International Sporting Code, Appendix L. These requirements state that the driver must be either the reigning champion in a lower category of motor sport, for example Formula 3 (British, Italian or Japanese championship, or Euro Series), Formula 2, or GP2 Series (formerly known as Formula 3000), or must have consistently finished well in these categories. For example, a driver finishing in the first three positions five times within the last two years in GP2 will be eligible for a Super Licence.
Additionally, drivers who have competed in the IndyCar Series are eligible for a Super Licence if they finished within the first four places of the driver's championship. This allows drivers from the United States domestic series to move into Formula One without first taking part in other FIA sanctioned events. Under exceptional circumstances Appendix L also allows the FIA to award a Super Licence to a driver who does not meet the normal criteria if a vote reveals unanimous agreement by the members, and provided that the driver has completed 300 kilometers of testing at racing speeds in a current car.
Cost of licence
The FIA makes a profit in the business of Super Licence by making it mandatory for the licence-holder to pay an annual fee. According to a report on the BBC, the cost of a super-licence rose by an average £8,700 in 2009, and there was an extra charge of € 2,100 per point earned in 2008 - up from €447 per point in 2007. In 2010, Lewis Hamilton would pay £242,000 for his licence for the season.
Reducing the cost of the Super Licence represented a significant policy shift for FIA's then-president Max Mosley, who wrote to Formula 1 drivers in February 2009 suggesting that they "race elsewhere if they were unable to pay for their super-licences." After Mosley met with representatives from the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) on March 23, 2009, the FIA issued a statement: "Following a very positive meeting between FIA President Max Mosley and representatives of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA), a proposal will be made to the World Motor Sport Council to revise super-licence fees for drivers in the 2010 championship".
In November 2012, however, FIA announced they would again increase the cost of the super licence. According to McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, the proposed increase would lead to a basic fee of €10,000 ($12,800) for the super licence plus €1,000 ($1,280) for each world championship point. 2009 Formula 1 World Driver's Champion Jenson Button objected, and expressed his position that all current F1 drivers should pay the same flat fee for their Super Licence:
Personally I don't feel that we should be paying different super licence fees for different drivers and different point situations. I mean, when you get your licence to drive on the road, because you do more miles you don't pay more for it, do you? And you don't pay more for a licence in any other category because you've got a better car or whatever, so it should be a flat fee.
Nationality of drivers
The nationality that appears on the racing licence is the same one that appears on the driver's passport. This is not necessarily the same as the country issuing the racing licence. A Frenchman living in Germany can race with a German licence, but the nationality displayed would still be French. In order to race as German, the driver would need to have German nationality as well. Drivers with multiple citizenship choose their "official" nationality.
- "FIA Formula One World Championship Regulations".
- "International Sporting Code, Appendix L". FIA. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- "F1 set to cut super-licence fee". BBC. March 24, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2013. "The Grand Prix Drivers' Association, which represents the majority of F1 drivers, had expressed its discontent at a hike in fees in 2008."
- "F1 set to cut super-licence fee". BBC. March 24, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2013. "The decision to reduce the licence cost is a big turnaround for Mosley who, in February, wrote to Formula 1 drivers to suggest they race elsewhere if they were unable to pay for their super-licences."
- "F1 set to cut super-licence fee". BBC. March 24, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2013. "A number of other issues were discussed and the FIA has agreed to meet representatives of the GPDA on a regular basis to maintain what promises to be a constructive dialogue."
- "F1 drivers to pay more for their FIA super license". yallaf1.com. November 6, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2013. "F1 drivers will also have to contribute, with Eason saying the cost of their super license is facing “massive hikes”."
- "Motorsports Governing Body FIA Increases License Fees For F1 Drivers' Super License". SportsBusinessDaily Global. November 6, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2013. "Whitmarsh shows understanding for FIA's "idea of increasing its revenue" in that manner."
- "Button wants flat super licence fee". ESPN F1.com. November 6, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2013. "Jenson Button believes all drivers should pay the same amount for their super licence to race in Formula One."
- Witte Meier, Roman (November 5, 2012). "Royalties: When success is expensive". Motorsport-total.com. Retrieved February 17, 2013. "When I won the World Cup because it was just really expensive. I had to pay about a million euros, if I remember rightly," said Jenson Button, who won the title in 2009."
- "Motorsports Governing Body FIA Increases License Fees For F1 Drivers' Super License". SportsBusinessDaily Global. November 6, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2013. "When I won the title, it became really expensive. I had to pay pay an estimated €1M ($1.28M), if I remember correctly."