What Is an F1 Super Licence? [Requirements & Costs]


To legally drive most vehicles, you need the corresponding permit—a rule that also applies in Formula 1, where the document you need is fittingly called the F1 super licence.

So what is an F1 super licence exactly, and how do you get one?

We tell you all about it in the chapters below!

What Is an F1 Super Licence?

The FIA Super Licence (its official name) is the most sought-after driving certification in motorsports as it grants holders the privilege to drive in Formula 1 since it proves they have demonstrated “outstanding ability in single-seater Formula cars”.

After all, it takes immense talent, steadfast determination, and immaculate skills to handle the fastest racing cars on the planet with engines that roar at over 1,000 hp.

To earn the coveted F1 licence, aspiring drivers have to meet the applicable criteria:

  • They are at least 18 years of age by the time they start competing in F1;
  • They already hold FIA’s International Grade A competition permit;
  • They already hold a regular driving licence issued by their jurisdiction;
  • They have passed F1’s knowledge test regarding sporting codes and regulations;
  • They have completed 80% of two seasons in FIA-approved tournaments;
  • They have accrued 40 points over three seasons in FIA-endorsed series.

An F1 super licence must be renewed yearly by paying a certain fee, which is dictated by the driver’s success the previous year, and no other requirements apply.

However, F1 drivers whose licence has been expired for longer than three years will have to race 300 km in a modern F1 car over two days before they apply for renewal.

Note: Frequent infractions result in a certain amount of F1 super licence penalty points, and racers who accumulate 12 penalty points in any 12-month period receive a one race ban—a system necessary to reduce the risk of costly and/or fatal F1 accidents.

photo source: twitter – Sebastian Vettel holding his first FIA Super License

Also read: 24 Fast Formula 1 Facts and Stats That Will Surprise You

How Do F1 Super Licence Points Work?

Getting the points necessary for the FIA Super Licence is undoubtedly the most demanding requirement since it involves coming on top in fiercely competitive FIA-approved races.

Furthermore, as listed in Appendix L of FIA’s International Sporting Code, drivers will earn a different amount of points depending on the series’ importance:

FIA Formula 24040403020108643
FIA Formula 3302520151297532
FIA Formula E30252010864321
FIA WEC LMP13024201612108642
Formula Regional European Championship25201510753210
Japanese Super Formula25201510753210
FIA WEC LMP220161210864200
Super GT GT50020161210753210
Formula Regional Asian Championship18141210643210
Formula Regional Americas Championship18141210643210
Formula Regional Japanese Championship18141210643210
IMSA Prototypes1814108642100
FIA WTCR1512107532100
International Supercars1512107532100
NASCAR Cup1512107532100
Indy Lights1512107532100
W Series1512107532100
Euroformula Open1512107532100
Japanese Super Formula Lights1512107532100
FIA Formula 4121075321000
FIA WEC LMGT Pro121075321000
Asian Le Mans Series Prototypes10864200000
FIA WEC LMGT Am10864200000
IMSA GTLM10864200000
National F3 Championship10753100000
Indy Pro 200010753100000
NASCAR National10753100000
Toyota Racing Series10753100000
International GT3 Series6420000000
FIA Karting World Championship Senior4321000000
FIA Karting Continental Championship Senior3210000000
FIA Karting World Championship Junior3210000000
FIA Karting Continental Championship Junior2100000000
source: Appendix L of FIA’s International Sporting Code

As you can see, the FIA endorses 35 different racing competitions that contribute а specific amount of F1 super licence points based on the driver’s final qualification. 

For instance, while the karting senior world champion adds 4 points to their tally, the Formula 4 first-placer earns 14 points, whereas the Formula E champion gets 30 points.

Also read: Why Do F1 Drivers Get Weighed After a Race?

How Much Does the F1 Super Licence Cost

How Much Does the F1 Super Licence Cost

Unlike a standard driving licence, maintaining an FIA Super Licence costs a pretty penny!

Recent reports put the base cost of the F1 licence at almost $20,000. However, when it comes time for the annual renewal, drivers will have to pay additional thousands of dollars for each championship point they scored for the past season.

For example, per a 10-year-old report, the extra costs were $1,300 for every championship point scored—an amount that has most likely increased to $2,000 by now.

Basic maths then tells us that the F1 world champion may be required to pay a seven-figure fee—an ostentatious amount that raises a lot of eyebrows at the very least.

So that’s one downside to becoming one of the greatest F1 drivers in history, which one could argue they can afford with the mammoth salaries they earn.

Bottom Line

Are you tempted to give professional racing a shot now that you know what is an F1 Super Licence?

You could, but it takes an inordinate amount of time, effort, money, luck, and talent to become an F1 driver, and for most aspiring racers out there, getting and using an F1 licence remains a pipe dream.

That said, you can always drive go-karts or virtual F1 cars!

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