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Andrea Kimi Antonelli

Why the door is now wide open for Antonelli at Williams

A recent change to the F1 regulations by the FIA has opened the door to Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

Antonelli Monaco F2
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes' teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli is officially allowed to move to Formula 1, following a significant change to the regulations by the FIA. 

Several Formula 1 promoters have spoken out many times about the fact that there needs to be more young talent in the sport, although a lack of this has been seen. 

One reason may have been the "Verstappen rule" that was put in place, after Max Verstappen made his debut in Formula 1. This prevented drivers younger than 18 from entering the pinnacle of single-seater motorsport.

Recently, there has been talk of super-talent Antonelli. The 17-year-old Italian skipped Formula 3 last winter and stepped straight into a Formula 2 car. 

It is an incredibly rare leap, catching the attention of many. In F2, however, Antonelli does not have it so easy, as he has not even been on the podium in the past 10 races. The Italian is sixth in the championship, but he is already quite far behind championship leader Paul Aron. 

In addition, Mercedes is letting Antonelli test some of its older F1 cars, the youngest of which was the 2022 W13. There, he seems to be making quite an impression, making him the favourite to replace Lewis Hamilton in 2025.

So he could become George Russell's team-mate, but Williams is also keeping a close eye on Antonelli. They also see him as a potential option, even as early as this year.

Adjustment of regulations

In early May, it was announced that the FIA had received a dispensation request for Antonelli. This appeared to come from the Grove-based team, as they were reportedly unhappy with Logan Sargeant's performances. 

Prior to the recent regulation changes, it was impossible for Antonelli to replace Sargeant prior to his 18th birthday, which happens to be the race day of the Dutch Grand Prix. He already has the 40 required super license points in his pocket, though, so he won't have to worry about that.  

Lately, however, there have been some changes to the regulations. "Only with the approval of the FIA may a driver who has recently demonstrated constant skill and maturity in single seater competitions be granted a super license from the age of 17," the rule is now stated in the updated version of the FIA's Sporting Code. 

In addition, a line has been crossed out that a driving license is required, something else Antonelli does not yet have in Italy.

First of all, it is very remarkable that the international motorsport federation is doing this, but at least it is good news for Antonelli. This modification allows the young Italian to obtain a super license before he turns 18 by FIA approval. 

This would allow him to drive free practice and Grands Prix as early as the next race, although it is still unclear exactly what Mercedes and Williams' plan is for the teenage star.

In any case, it is likely that the super-talent will still be in action during various free practice sessions this season. After all, Formula 1 teams are required to field a rookie driver in two free practice sessions.

The question remains whether Antonelli will make his debut this season as Sargeant's replacement. In any case, the FIA is opening the door wide for the young Italian superstar, so there is a good chance we will see him in Formula 1 in the near future.

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