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  • Writer's pictureTatiana Žišková

Introduction to Super Formula

Everything you need to know about Super Formula, a prestigious race series in Asia.

As it is written on the official page of Super Formula, this series is:

"The highest and fastest formula race series in Japan. Because there is no difference in the performance of the vehicles, tires, and engines used in the race, the drivers' ability and the team's strategy will lead to victory or defeat. It is second only to F1 in the world, and the "super license" required to ride F1 can be acquired in as little as two years. As a result, it is a category that is attracting attention all over the world, producing famous drivers who are active on the world stage."

As it was already mentioned, many successful drivers competed in this series and later moved up to the highest point in motorsport, such as Formula 1.

Now, let's take a look at how SF works, plus some additional interesting details. The majority of the grid consists of Japanese drivers, however, foreigners are more than welcomed too. Currently, there are four drivers with different nationalities – Liam Lawson, Giuliano Alesi, Raoul Hyman, and Cem Bolukbasi. A few years ago, we would see more foreign names, however, the pandemic situation crucially changed the situation with restrictions.


Super Formula started in 2013 under the official approval of the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF), with the Japan Race Promotion (JRP) as the operating body. It all initially started as the Japanese Formula 2000 series back in 1973. The championship has evolved throughout the years into Formula 2, Formula 3000, and lastly Formula Nippon. Then we have 2013 when it was decided to break away in order to start as the current name, Super Formula. The decision was made mainly to promote global expansion centered on Asia with the aim of becoming a standard formula in Asia. It didn't take a long time to evolve its subcategory/another feeder series - Super Formula Lights.

Points System

When we talk about F1 and SF in terms of the points system, there are slight differences. Same as in F1, only the top ten are awarded points after each race. However, you will see that the points system here is a bit of a tough nut to crack, so I will try to explain it as simply as possible:

1) There are no points for the fastest lap.

2) In Qualifying the top 3 drivers get extra points:

a) pole position - 3 extra points

b) 2nd in qualifying - 2 extra points

c) 3rd in qualifying - 1 extra point

The points system:

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th

20 15 11 8 6 5 4 3 2 1

Still confused? Don't worry. I will do a quick math to show you how the points system worked in 2022. For this purpose, I'm randomly picking a driver with no. 1, two-time SF Champion Tomoki Nojiri:

Fuji Round 1: Q2 – finished 6th– no point

Race1- finished 2nd – 15 points

Fuji Round 2: Q3 – finished 1st – 3 points

Race2 – finished 1st – 20 points

Suzuka Round 3: Q2 – finished 1st – 3 points

Race – finished 2nd – 15 points

Autopolis Round 4: Q2 – finished 1st – 3 points

Race – finished 4th – 8 points

TOTAL after Round 4: 67 points

It is a bit complicated, I know. But once you learn it, you won't forget it so easily. But what in the world of motorsport isn't complicated?

Race Weekend Format

1 race weekend set-up:

SATURDAY - 90 mins FP ; Q2/ groups A and B

SUNDAY - 90 mins FP ; RACE

2 race weekend set-up:

FRIDAY - 90 mins FP

SATURDAY - Q2/ groups A and B ; RACE1

SUNDAY – Q3/ groups A and B ; RACE2

These groups, A and B, are meant for deciding the top 6 drivers from each group, that then advance to Q2, where the pole sitter will be determined.

Speaking of engines, only 2 engines per year can be used without any penalty. If there is a need to use more, naturally a penalty will be applied in a form of 10 places grid penalty.

And about the car body:

"As a carbon-neutral response, the SF23 has a body made by Dallara that maintains the same rigidity and weight as carbon materials. We will newly adopt the biocomposite material of "Bcomp", which has reduced the amount by about 75%. Regarding the body, we have revised the aerodynamics with the aim of creating a car that allows the driver to demonstrate his strength in close quarters combat." - official website information



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