MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 11: Logan Sargeant of United States and Carlin (6) looks on from the pitlane during the Round 13:Monza Feature race of the Formula 2 Championship at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
How Sargeant could finish sixth in F2 and still get a super licence
A closer look at the super licence regulations and Sargeant's Formula 1 hopes
Formula 2 driver Logan Sargeant is currently in the running for a seat at the Williams’ F1 team for 2023.
Despite looking like the team’s most likely choice, the American driver doesn’t have a super licence yet, which he would need in order to secure a Formula 1 seat.
Currently, Sargeant has thirty super licence points, but only a driver’s highest three results in the past four seasons count towards it. When the points for 2022 are applied, the three points Sargeant scored in 2018 will no longer be valid. So he’s virtually on 27 points, and will need to finish fifth in Formula 2, which affords 20 points and would bump him past the required 40.
At least, that’s what everyone has been saying. But a closer look at the rules shows that Sargeant could finish sixth and still make it to 40 points. The key to this happening hangs on an interesting facet of the super licence rules: penalty points.
As per Article 13 of Appendix L to the FIA International Sporting Code, a driver can score two additional super licence points by completing an FIA championship without scoring any penalty points (provided that such a system exists in the championship).
Sargeant is the only full-time Formula 2 driver this year to not score any penalty points, and if he keeps that up for one more round he’ll secure an extra two points for his super licence tally.
If he then finishes sixth in the championship, which normally gives 10 points, he’d receive 12 and his total would go to 39. That’s one point short, but Sargeant is participating in Free Practice 1 in Austin. If he completes more than 100km in that session, he’ll be awarded one point, exactly what he needs to secure a super licence.
So while everyone is saying that Sargeant needs to finish fifth to get his super licence, he could actually finish sixth and still get the points needed. That being said, Formula 2 is so close that the task won’t be much easier.
Formula 2 standings
Sargeant is currently third in the Formula 2 standings, but there’s still one round where he could drop below sixth place.
In any given Formula 2 race weekend there are a maximum of 39 points available: two for pole position, ten for winning the Sprint, 25 for winning the Feature, and one point per race for the driver with the fastest lap.
By that math, there are 13 drivers that have a shot at finishing in the top six. Bearing in mind that Drugovich has already locked in the championship and that Pourchaire is in a comfortable second, that leaves nine drivers in the fight for third, and two more in the battle for sixth.
The odds of a driver securing all 39 of the available points at Abu Dhabi aren’t high, and if you factor that in, then there are about five drivers who have a realistic shot at beating Sargeant to third place.
Sargeant currently holds third place by nine points over three drivers. Jack Doohan, Jehan Daruvala, and Enzo Fittipaldi are all on 126 points to Sargeant’s 135. If all three of them manage to jump ahead of Sargeant, he would drop to sixth place in the standings.
As previously established, sixth would likely still be enough for a super licence. But Sargeant’s Carlin teammate, Liam Lawson, is currently just three points behind the top six. Along with several other drivers, he poses a threat to the top six finish that Sargeant would need.
So we’ve established that it’s within the realm of possibility that Sargeant won’t secure the points he needs to drive in Formula 1 for 2023. While he’s allegedly Williams’ number one pick at the moment, they’ll need a backup plan.
Williams’ team principal Jost Capito has said that there are other drivers in line for the seat that Nicholas Latifi is vacating. The main names in contention are Mick Schumacher, Nyck de Vries, and Nico Hulkenberg.
Capito has also said that the driver announcement will come shortly after Abu Dhabi, the final races of the year for both Formula 1 and Formula 2. Likely, they’re waiting to see if Sargeant gets the required super licence points. If he fails, they’ll have a backup driver ready to go.
Feature Image Credit: Getty Images
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