FIA rule change gives wonderkid Antonelli early access to F1


An update to the FIA’s sporting regulations has provided a significant boost to the F1 ambitions of young Mercedes talent Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

Previously, the minimum age requirement for a mandatory Formula 1 superlicence was 18. However, the updated Appendix L now includes a clause allowing "special dispensation" for exceptional drivers to receive a superlicence at 17.

This opens the door for Antonelli to potentially make his official F1 free practice debut - or even race debut - before his 18th birthday on August 25th.

The Italian teenager has been touted as a potential replacement at Mercedes for 2025 for Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton, but is was also rumored earlier this year that Williams had considered running Antonelli in place of Logan Sargeant in the second part of the season.

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"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,” states Article 13.1.2 of Appendix L.

Mercedes has nurtured Antonelli since his karting days, and his ascent through the junior ranks has been nothing short of mercurial.

He secured back-to-back championship titles in the 2022 Italian F4 series and in last year’s Formula Regional European Championship.

His outstanding results, and Mercedes’ support, earned him a promotion directly to the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Prema Racing.

Parallel to his F2 commitments, Antonelli is also undergoing an F1 preparation and driver development with Mercedes that includes simulator work at Brackley and extensive private testing at a variety of tracks with the team’s 2022-spec W13 ground-effect car.

Earlier this year, an enquiry was made to the FIA regarding granting a superlicence to Antonelli despite his under-age status.

The FIA's recent rule change might be a response to this request, paving the way for Antonelli's potential F1 baptism by fire.

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