Dan Ticktum's hopes of securing an F1 superlicence this year may have hit a major roadblock after it was revealed that the Asia F3 Winter series in which the Red Bull junior is competing may not be eligible to distribute superlicence points.
Ticktum is missing just five points to reach the required total of 40 that would allow him to be granted a superlicence, which in turn would permit the 19-year-old to test or race in F1.
The young Brit - who was on Toro Rosso's provisional shortlist last season while he was competing in the European F3 championship - entered the Asia F3 Winter Series this year, hoping to snatch the five points he needed to qualify for F1's precious credential.
But according to the FIA, a change of status in 2019 means that the limited three-race Asian F3 Winter Series may no longer qualify as a superlicence points-awarding series per the FIA's Appendix L regulations which states that a series must take place over five race weekends and on three different circuits
"All championships listed in the table are eligible for superlicence points, should the criteria defined in Appendix L be met," explained FIA safety director Adam Baker.
"As in previous years, the criteria in Appendix L include the number of weekends over which the championship is held.
"Any championship which does not meet the Appendix L requirements will unfortunately not be eligible for superlicence points."
While Ticktum's hopes of obtaining a superlicence in 2019 may have been crushed, the flip side is positive news for Daniil Kvyat and rookie Alexander Albon.
The pair will form Toro Rosso's line-up in Melbourne, but Red Bull was eager to have Ticktum as a possible back-up solution later in the season in case Kvyat or Albon fail to meet expectations.