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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 17:02 GMT
Mosley urges F1 licence re-think
Kimi Raikkonen in his Sauber
Raikkonen is on probation early in the season
Formula One's driver-licensing system needs an overhaul in the wake of inexperienced Finn Kimi Raikkonen being allowed to drive this year.

That is the view of motorsport boss Max Mosley, who believes that Raikkonen should never have been granted the necessary "superlicence".

The 21-year-old Finn, who has competed in just 23 single-seater races in his career, is on probation for the early part of a season starting in Australia on 4 March.

He will be racing for the Swiss Sauber team this year, who are convinced he is a star of the future.

It did seem to me that if you have criteria, you should follow them
  Max Mosley
FIA president

Raikkonen's application for a superlicence was passed by the FIA World Council, the sport's legilsative body, with little opposition apart from Mosley.

"It is known that I am the one who voted against (Raikkonen) having a superlicence. Everyone else voted in favour," Mosley said in an interview with Australian Grand Prix organisers.

"I would say that... probably our super-licence system is in need of an overhaul because there are very clear rules about how you get a superlicence.

"You have to have won a Formula Three championship or you have to have had certain success in Formula 3000 - it's all very clear."

Raikkonen won the British Formula Renault Championship in 2000. But this is of a lower level than F3 and is not counted as suitable qualification for an F1 licence.

Mosley said the "exception rule" was there to allow - in exceptional circumstances - drivers with great F1 experience to make a comeback in the sport.

'Good driver'

This happened with former champion Alain Prost in 1993 after he took a sabbatical in 1992.

"That was the reason for the exception, and the exception is now used in Raikkonen's case to give him a licence.

"There is no question that he is obviously a very, very good driver and... he will have done about 4,000 kilometres in a Formula One car before he gets to Melbourne.

"On top of that he is on probation for the first, I think it's three or four races. But it did seem to me that if you have criteria, you should follow them.

Max Mosley
Mosley feels that things need to change

"Having said all of that, I think he will do a very good job and I'm confident that he will be quite safe and probably very successful."

Sauber's decision to give Raikkonen the drive is part of a growing trend among F1 teams to employ inexperienced drivers.

This was given added impetus by Jenson Button's sparkling debut season in 2000. Button, a former karting rival of Raikkonen's had only two seasons of car racing behind him.

He, too, was awarded a superlicence under the exceptional circumstances rule. Unlike Raikkonen, though, he had competed for a year in F3.

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See also:

29 Jan 01 |  Motorsport
Sauber on top in testing
26 Jan 01 |  Motorsport
Sauber snaps up unknown designer
24 Jan 01 |  Motorsport
Sauber reaffirm faith in Raikkonen
08 Dec 00 |  Motorsport
Schu issues young driver warning
07 Dec 00 |  Motorsport
Sauber hand Raikkonen drive
25 Oct 00 |  Motorsport
Sauber to take risk on Finn
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