Brown: Whole F1 superlicense system 'needs to be reviewed' by FIA

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McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown says Formula 1's Superlicence system deserves to be reviewed in light of the controversy surrounding IndyCar star Colton Herta's eligibility to race in F1.

Red Bull is keen on handing Herta a drive with AlphaTauri in 2023 as part of Alpine's efforts to recruit Pierre Gasly.

However, the Andretti Autosport driver is 8 points short of the 40 points required to be granted a Superlicence by the FIA, mainly due to the latter underscoring a driver's IndyCar results.

And that has led Red Bull to lobby the governing body for a special privilege, arguing that Herta's track record in IndyCar more than justifies him being given a free pass.

But several F1 teams, including Mercedes and Ferrari, as well as F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali have expressed their opposition to the FIA granting an exemption to Herta.


While all signs currently point to the governing body rejecting Red Bull's request for special treatment, in Monza last weekend, Helmut Marko remained hopeful that the issue would be resolved in favour of Herta.

"We don’t have an answer yet," Marko said told SpeedCity Broadcasting. "It will be around… latest the end of the month. We are still hopeful."

Earlier this summer, Herta enjoyed a private test with McLaren at Portimao as part of the American's testing contract with the Woking-based outfit.

McLaren would be required to release Herta from his contract with the team to be able to join AlphaTauri, but Brown is in favour of the FIA showing a bit of flexibility regarding a special situation, or else it should undertake a full review of the superlicence process.

"So Mohamed [Ben Sulayem], the new president, he’s doing a lot of reviewing of things that he’s inherited and I think the whole licensing system needs to be reviewed," Brown said, speaking to RACER at last weekend's IndyCar finale in Laguna Seca.

"I get that the rules are what the rules are, and the rules shouldn’t be broken. But I question whether just because they’re rules that are in place now, that those are the correct rules.

"Someone of Colton’s caliber or Pato’s (O’Ward) caliber or half the field here are Formula 1 capable. So no one’s sure yet where the ruling’s going to come down.

"But I think if someone like Colton, who has won a lot of IndyCar races, isn’t eligible for a Super License then I think we need to review the Superlicense system."


Brown pointed to the fact that several F1 drivers would not have been eligible to race in F1 had the current system been in place in the past.

"I think you take a look at the whole thing, but certainly where IndyCar sits, if you can win, what is it, seven races…
"The rules were written before my time, so I wouldn’t want to speculate how they came up with those rules.

"I don’t think Max Verstappen would’ve been eligible for a Superlicense. Kimi Raikkonen wouldn’t have been eligible for a Superlicense. So you can go back and, look you’ve got a couple guys that are world champions that wouldn’t have got their license in today’s environment.

"We’ve had Colton in our car and he did a great job in two days of testing. So the guy can drive a Formula 1 car, no mistake about it."

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