The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has introduced tough new rules that will mean Formula One drivers must be at least 18-years-old and go through more rigorous testing.

Potential Formula One competitors will have to build up points over three years to get a race super licence under the rules which will start in 2016.

The new rules are part of a clampdown on inexperienced drivers.

Max Verstappen in 2014 became the youngest driver to take part in Grand Prix practice and will drive for Toro Rosso this year at the age of 17. The new season starts in Australia on March 15.

If the rules were enforced this year, Verstappen would not be allowed to take part and the likes of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen would also have had to wait for their race debuts.

New competitors will have a test driving 300 kilometers (185 miles) in a Formula One car at racing speeds over a two-day period.

They will also face an exam on Formula One regulations and have to complete at least 80 percent of two full seasons in championships that feed Formula One.

Drivers score points for a super licence from competing in junior categories, with 40 required in a three-year period before a super licence is granted.

A proposed Formula 2 championship, the GP2 series, the European Formula 3, the World Endurance Championship and the US IndyCar series offer 40 points or more to the winner.

Other championships such as Formula Renault offer reduced points. – Agence France-Presse

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