DECEMBER 17, 2000

Raikkonen's inexperience

FIA president Max Mosley has echoed the thoughts of many F1 insiders by roundly criticizing the decision of the FIA Formula 1 commission - of which he is a member - for permitting the young Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen to have a super licence.

Mosley was outvoted 24-1 on the commission which is made up of all the F1 teams, four race promoters each from inside and outside Europe, a representative from two sponsors, one engine manufacturer, a tire company plus Mosley and F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone. Mosley branded the decision as "irresponsible and potentially dangerous."

He added; Unfortunately the F1 commission doesn't always do as I tell them, despite speculation to the contrary.

"In this case I do not believe that they adopted a defensible position in giving an inexperienced driver like Raikkonen a licence," he said firmly. "It is quite wrong given that we have strict criteria for graduation into F1.

"It is hardly a problem to delay a 21-year old's F1 debut by a year. More to the point, if he's as great a talent as many suppose, if he went into Formula 3000 he could find himself qualifying for a super licence in a matter of months.

"We set out these specific criteria, so why take the risk? The F1 commission has discretion to allow people who strictly don't qualify to have a super licence, but that provision was intended for a situation, say, if Gerhard Berger decided tomorrow that he wanted to start racing again. Obviously it would be reasonable to give him a licence."

Last year Jenson Button received a super licence despite the fact that he did not strictly qualify under the FIA rules which demand a proven record in Formula 3000, CART, Indy Racing League or the Japanese Formula Nippon series. In addition, the winners of the British, French, German and Italian F3 titles are deemed suitable candidates.