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FIA to be flexible with new super licence system

F1’s governing body has suggested its tough new criteria for the awarding of super licences in 2016 may actually be flexible.

The FIA clamped down on the 2016 qualifying criteria for obtaining F1’s mandatory credential due to the controversial debut this year of 17-year-old Max Verstappen.

But when the strict new criteria was outlined recently, it became clear that champions like Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen would not have been granted their grand prix debuts due to a lack of experience.

A driver like Williams tester Susie Wolff would also be excluded, and even the great Michael Schumacher’s 2010 return for Mercedes would have been thwarted due to his lack of F1 experience in the three previous years.

But according to a report in Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, the FIA has now “admitted that despite the more stringent rules, possible exceptions will be granted”.

The Paris federation reportedly singled out Schumacher’s return as one obvious exception that would be theoretically presented to the World Motor Sport Council for “consideration” under the new rules.

It is believed Renault has also complained to the FIA that its top open-wheeler category, Formula Renault 3.5, has not been granted the status it deserves under the 2016 F1 super licence points system.

So, too, has the European open-wheeler series Auto GP, according to Russia’s Championat.

“We deserve to be there,” promoter Enzo Coloni is quoted as saying.

“We have powerful cars, similar to the Renault world series, so it would be fair to include us in the super licence points system.

“We have requested a clarification of the situation,” he added, “with the support of the Italian federation of motor racing.”