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Andrea Kimi Antonelli

Williams respond to speculation over Imola debut for Antonelli

Kimi Antonelli has been linked with a move to F1 in the near future, with rumours placing him in a Williams seat for the round at Imola later this month.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli
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Williams team principal James Vowles has denied Kimi Antonelli will make his Formula 1 debut with the team later this month at Imola.

On Friday evening, the FIA confirmed they received a request to grant Antonelli a super licence early, as at 17 years of age, he is not yet eligible.

Over the last few months, Antonelli has been linked with a move to Mercedes for 2025 to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton, having been part of its junior programme for several years.

However, recent speculation has placed him in a mid-season move to Williams in place of the struggling Logan Sargeant.

The potential debut has been touted to come as early as the next round at Imola - however Vowles asserted that it will not be the case.

"There was a rumour going around that he'll be in the car from Imola - he won't be in the car for Imola," Vowles told F1TV.

"What we're doing at the moment is evaluating drivers for 2026 and 2025, and what we really want is the right driver pairing for those two years as when you go through a regulation changes you don't want to be changing drivers, so you're looking for the right pairing for that period of time.”

Vowles relaxed over line-up

Antonelli recently got his first mileage in an F1 car under his belt at a private test with Mercedes.

While Vowles recognises the Italian driver's skill level, he declared he is in no rush to finalise its driver line-up.

"There's no doubt that he's got huge skill to him, but he was in an F4 car 20 months ago, that's where he is, it's a very different proposition to most,” he said.

“We've been talking to four or five drivers at the moment for that period of time.

"I'm quite happy to sit back a little bit and wait, more so than that, I have a duty and responsibility to make this car faster first.

“Alex is a championship-level driver, we've got to provide the right car for him to be behind him and we haven't yet, and then that typically unlocks other possibilities in the future."

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