‘Unfair’ superlicense scheme for ‘F1 capable’ IndyCar drivers RaceFans

Alex Palou says the points system for acquiring an FIA superlicense is “very unfair” on certain series, namely IndyCar.

Last weekend Palou made his Formula 1 debut with McLaren at the United States Grand Prix, and the Spaniard has confirmed he has a superlicense meaning he could be called up to race in F1 .

Palou’s junior career encompassed Formula 2 and its supporting GP3 series (now known as Formula 3), as well as rival Formula V8 3.5 and the Euroformula and Super Formula Lights series which both adhered to traditional F3 regulations at the time.

He rose to the top level of single-seaters in Super Formula, where he came close to winning the title in his only season there, then moved to IndyCar in 2020 and won last year’s title. IndyCar offers fewer superlicense points than F2 – just 90 combined for the top three in the championship compared to 120 for the top three in F2 – and more points can be earned racing in the FIA ​​F3 championship than in Super Formula.

“I don’t think that’s going to change at all,” Palau commented on awarding superlicense points to professional series. “I have my super license, I’m happy, I don’t care what happens.

“But I think it’s very unfair that some series don’t get enough license points. pato [O’Ward] doesn’t [enough points for a superlicence], and he finished third in the championship, fourth in the championship and seventh. A guy like that who does 17 race weekends against people who have ten or 15 years of IndyCar experience – this guy is capable of doing a lot in F1.

“But it’s a rule, so I hope they change it in the future. I also understand that the FIA, they want everyone to go through Europe and other places, but it’s is true that you could get more points by going to a winter series in Thailand and winning that than by finishing fifth in IndyCar I don’t know if that’s fair.

Both Nikita Mazepin and Zhou Guanyu eased their way to superlicences by competing in the fourth-tier Formula Asian Regional Championship once they were already F2 drivers.

“I think the program they have in F2 is good. If you finish in the top three, you get a super license and it should be like that,” Palou added. “But I think they could maybe -be give a little more.”

Palou is one of several IndyCar members who want the superlicense value of this series to increase and says: “We are [not] asking too much” as F2 can retain its top series status even with a points boost for IndyCar.

“I think you should give IndyCar a bit more importance, basically because of the level of the drivers and also the length of our season. I mean, the track time we get is huge compared to an F2 driver. And I’m not saying we’re better, but we’re capable of going out and driving in F1.”

Palou’s rival Pato O’Ward is set to drive for McLaren in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and F1 Young Driver Test tests, while Colton Herta is another IndyCar driver in McLaren’s F1 test programme.

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