Kimi Antonelli Could Join F1 Earlier Than Expected

The FIA has changed their rules to accommodate younger drivers. 17-year-olds are now allowed to race in Formula 1 if they have “consistently demonstrated outstanding ability and maturity in single-seater formula car competition.”

This could allow Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli to race in F1 this year. The Formula 2 driver will be turning 18 in late August. This recent news therefore suggests that his F1 entry may come earlier than expected.

Recent reports stated that there was a super licence dispensation request made on behalf of Kimi Antonelli. This request was however not made by Mercedes. Although no confirmation yet, the team seems to have been Williams.

Antonelli has the required 40 points through his championship victories and positions in the standings of the categories he has participated in. However, he does not meet the age limit requirement of 18 years old. He also does not have a valid driving licence for road use, another requirement as per the regulations.

The recent tweaks to the rules should allow the young Italian to make his move into F1 before August.

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What are the changes?

At the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting this week where changes were made to the International Sporting Code (ISC). Appendix L of the ISC indicates the rules for F1 super licences. There are now new changes to be included in Article 13.1.2.

The rule still states that a driver must be 18 years old at the time of their first F1 competition. However, there is now an exception to this rule.

“At the sole discretion of the FIA, a driver judged to have recently and consistently demonstrated outstanding ability and maturity in single-seater formula car competition may be granted a Super Licence at the age of 17 years old,” reads the addendum.

These same changes have been added to the rules for a Free Practice only F1 super licence, which also had an age limit of 18 years.

The only rule that has been revoked is the requirement for an F1 super licence applicant to own a valid road licence.

What does this mean for Antonelli?

Kimi Antonelli can now be granted a super licence despite being 17 years old.

The F2 driver was already in talks to be on the F1 grid in 2025 following Lewis Hamilton’s surprise move from Mercedes to Ferrari. There have since been speculations that Antonelli would be called up to drive for Mercedes in 2025 after just one season in F2.

“It depends on who the number two driver is at Mercedes. If it’s Kimi Antonelli, there’s no doubt to begin with that George Russell will be the number one driver but the worry for George is if Antonelli gets the seat that they’ll be planning with Antonelli.

They’ve invested a huge amount in Antonelli and they’re confident they can make a champion out of him. If Verstappen joined George at Mercedes then you know from the get-go that Verstappen would be the number one driver but with Antonelli, he could still well be the Mercedes guy moving forward.” – Jacques Villeneuve speaking to Crypto Sports Betting.

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However, with this recent news, we could see the Italian in an F1 race sooner rather than later. Rumours suggest that it was Williams who made this special request to the FIA on behalf of Antonelli. It looks as though James Vowles’ team may replace Logan Sargeant mid-season with Antonelli.

Antonelli who will be 17 for two months more has been impressing in F2 this season just as he did in the lower junior categories. The young driver has often been compared to Lewis Hamilton. An early move to F1 may seem rather strange. However, with the talent that Antonelli possesses, it does not seem too far a reach.

There is no official confirmation of his switch to the pinnacle of motorsport. However, the FIA cannot have made this change to the rules with no prompt. All signs point towards Antonelli racing in F1 before late August as things stand.


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