F1'S AGE ROW: Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen can thank his lucky stars the new age limit rule will only be implemented as of 2016 or else he would not be racing for the team right now. Image: Red Bull
LONDON, England - The International Automobile Federation has devised a points system as part of its clampdown to make owning a Formula 1 racing superlicence more difficult.
With Max Verstappen (17), set to debut in F1 one year out of karting, the federation has moved to toughen the licence criteria by ruling that from 2016 an "F1 driver will need to be at least 18, have a road-driving licence and have gained a certain level of experience - and success - in minor formulas".
For instance: Verstappen was third in the 2015 European F3 championship but that would have earned him only 20 points under the proposed superlicence system. Only the champion in European F3, LPM1 sports cars and Indycar would obtain the 40 points necessary to qualify for a superlicence, it has emerged.
NEW RULES FOR SUPERLICENCE
Future GP3 champions, on the other hand, will score only 30 of the 40 points, as will title winners in Formula Renault 3.5, such as Verstappen's 2015 Toro Rosso team mate Carlos Sainz junior.
GP2 champions and title runner-ups however, will score 50 and 40 points respectively, while the most points attainable - 60 - will be in the relaunched Formula 2 series.
Interestingly, the top three finishers in F2 will each qualify for a 2016 superlicence, even though any applicant will need to have spent at least two years in the categories leading into F1.
For now Verstappen legitimately holds an F1 licence despite not qualifying to drive even a normal road car - and he says he doesn't mind.
Verstappen told Finland's Turun Sanomat: "It's no big deal. It's nice to be a passenger while somebody else is driving and I don't like driving road cars anyway."
Asked what it was like to be the youngest F1 driver yet, an achievement unlikely to be matched, given the new rules, he answered: "Nothing. The main thing is that you are able to do a good job. I really don't feel any extra pressure. I just want to do what I do normally and see what I can achieve."
Verstappen's father Jos was 22 when he made his F1 debut with Benetton in 1994.