Former Red Bull junior driver Patricio ‘Pato’ O’Ward has criticised the current FIA Super License points requirements, saying his fourth and third-place finishes in the 2020 and 2021 IndyCar standings should be more than enough to justify his ability behind the wheel of a race car.
Now signed with McLaren‘s IndyCar project, O’Ward recently completed the end of season Formula 1 test at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit. Despite his strong testing pace and his IndyCar performances, O’Ward still doesn’t meet the 40 point threshold required to secure an F1 Super License, with the Mexican driver currently 10 points short.
“For me it’s ridiculous that someone who finished third and fourth in the IndyCar series doesn’t get 40 points for the super license. I think many drivers would agree with me,” O’Ward told Motorsport-Total.
“At the end of the day you depend on whether people want to give you something or not. And if they don’t, that’s a shame, you’ll just have to wait another year and get ten more points I guess.”
O’Ward’s Formula 1 Dream
Despite being committed to his IndyCar program, O’Ward openly admits that his ultimate dream would be to race in Formula 1.
“At the moment I only have one focus, and that’s called IndyCars,” O’Ward continued.
“Who knows whether Formula 1 will be an option or not. If it comes, I would take it 100 percent. Any driver in my position would do that because it’s Formula 1.
“I used to watch this and dreamed about it. And the dream you have as a child will never go away.”
What are the current Super License requirements?
There are six main requirements a driver must meet in order to be eligible for a Formula 1 Super License. They are as follows:
- The driver must be 18 years of age.
- The driver must have a valid driving license.
- The driver must hold a Grade A competition license.
- The driver must pass a theoretical test on various Formula 1 regulations.
- The driver must have completed at least 80% of two full seasons of any of the FIA sanctioned single-seater championships.
- The driver must have accumulated at least 40 Super License points over the course of three consecutive seasons.
Super License points are awarded across several categories of racing, with drivers eligible for points right from their karting days, with more competitive championships such as Formula 2 yielding a greater number of points.
Points are also awarded for free practice appearances, on the caveat that a driver has already accumulated 25 points or has made a certain number of appearances in Formula 2.
The current requirements surrounding the Super License are a byproduct of Max Verstappen’s phenomenal rise through the junior formula ranks, which saw him make his F1 debut at the age of 17.
Given the fact that the Dutchman is now the reigning F1 World Champion, it does cast a light on whether or not the Super License points system in place is required to begin with.