Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Formula 2, Prema, Imola, 2024

Antonelli won’t make Formula 1 debut at Spanish GP after FIA opens door

Formula 1

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Andrea Kimi Antonelli will not step up to Formula 1 immediately after the FIA changed its rules to allow drivers younger than 18 to compete.

All 10 F1 teams have confirmed unchanged driver line-ups for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Mercedes junior driver had been tipped for an early move into F1 after the FIA relaxed its rules for issuing superlicences last week. He was previously ineligible to race in F1 until he turns 18 in late August.

However the FIA made changes to the International Sporting Code allowing it to grant dispensations for 17-year-old drivers whom it considers suitable to enter the series. It also removed the requirement for drivers to hold road car licences, which Antonelli cannot qualify for in Italy until he turns 18.

While no team has indicated it was behind the request to the FIA to allow Antonelli to compete, he is under consideration by Mercedes for promotion to the seat Lewis Hamilton will vacate at the end of the season. He has been tipped to take up a place at one of their customer teams before then.

Williams is considered the likeliest target as their driver Logan Sargeant has largely failed to impress since making his debut in the series last year. Sargeant has only scored once in his first 31 events and has never out-qualified his team mate in a grand prix qualifying session. He was benched at the Australian Grand Prix after Alexander Albon crashed in practice, leaving the team with only a single intact chassis.

However Williams has confirmed Albon and Sargeant will be its drivers again this weekend. The next round of the championship in Austria is a sprint event, meaning Antonelli would only have a single hour of practice before qualifying if he makes his debut there.

Antonelli made his debut in F2 this year after winning the Formula Regional European and Middle East championships last season. His Prema team mate Oliver Bearman will participate in this weekend’s grand prix, as he is due to take over Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas for the first practice session.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “Antonelli won’t make Formula 1 debut at Spanish GP after FIA opens door”

  1. I would like to announce that I’m also not going to take part in the Spanish GP. I know, it’s a shock for everyone.

    1. My condolences, I am sure this must be a difficult time for you and your family. Just know that I am rooting for you, and I am firmly convinced that you will one day win the Spanish Grand Prix.

    2. So sorry to hear that. We had high expectations!

    3. Dusty, who is your manager? This is outrageous; he’s obviously dropped the ball again. I strongly suggest you rely on your own initiative. For instance, create a ‘Driving’ CV with all the shopping trips you’ve made over the years, in which vehicles, and if you were able to save on fuel and tyre wear, and if you were able to shorten the distance of your trip by cutting corners (note: the return journey cannot be included in this statistic). Send this CV to all 10 team managers plus Signore Andretti (you never know!). The best of luck!

  2. If they are going to ditch Sargeant (and I personally wish they would) I wouldn’t expect it to happen before the Summer break.
    If he can grab a podium before then he should be safe…

    1. Actually super good 1-off results won’t save a driver who’s otherwise performing horribly, having a good race every 20 races isn’t good enough, see ricciardo at monza 2021.

      1. I expect Albon to destroy anyone that he is paired with, including Sainz, whom I rate.

        1. So, Albon is better than Leclerc and basically only Max could keep pace with Alex? I think Sainz would easily best Albon, but I like Albon much more. Let’s hope they’re paired together so we can see what actually happens.

      2. An Sionnach
        20th June 2024, 6:10

        I agree that Sargeant isn’t doing the business. It’s not just the mistakes he needs to iron out, there’s no speed or promise there at all. I was for him getting a fair go. He’s had that now and it’s baffling that he’s still here when so many talented drivers have no chance of getting in. Zhou needs to go, too. He did at least show some promise, but he balanced his inability to keep the car between the lines with extreme slowness in Canada. Without these two, and with two more teams, F1 would be a lot better.

        1. It’s more that Sargeant doesn’t improve that is going to see him leaving F1. Zhou was doing very well but this year he is crashing a lot! It’s probaly the car as Bottas has trouble to get any performance out of the car.

          1. Zhou was slow last year too, and half of the prior year. He hasn’t improved at all.

  3. Clear-cut matter the whole time, so hardly news-worthy.

    1. notagrumpyfan
      19th June 2024, 17:18

      Things change; this was the CotD just over a months ago:

      It’s totally pointless to even ask for something the FIA most certainly won’t grant in any case, given how particularly strict they’re about the superlicence rules. People should know better than to expect certain things from them, especially after the rejection in Colton Herta’s case since no force majeure situation had affected his points-gaining ability and no provision criteria – or previous precedent, for that matter – even exist for the minimum age requirement under which a dispensation could be handed in the first place, so a waste of time to even bother.

      The age limit came in for a reason. And as no justifiable reason exists for an exemption with this particular requirement, if it didn’t matter anymore, it should get dropped altogether or dispensations be granted to everyone who reaches the minimum points amount before turning 18, which other drivers in a similar situation would most certainly also start to ask for, to avoid double-standard treatment.

      Ultimately, it’s totally pointless to ask or even think about this matter. A valid driver’s license is another requirement for a super license since 2016, meaning it would also get ignored as 18 is the minimum in most countries, including Italy.

      This whole matter shouldn’t even have come up in the first place and as his readiness to compete in F1 from next year is already questionable, he most certainly wouldn’t be mentally ready to compete in F1 during this season and thus would only cause inconvenience for any team by holding them back excessively, probably even more than Nicholas Latifi in 2022. So this whole rush with him is totally pointless in the first place, as he has plenty of time to compete in F1 from 2026 onwards. Continuing in F2 until next the end of next year should be the only intention in any case.

      1. The point here was solely about him competing in the upcoming round, which was never going to happen in any case rather than anything else, so referring to my COTD is irrelevant & off-topic.

        1. Your charming opinions are so noted.

          1. Jere seems incredibly sensitive when it comes to anything related to Antonelli for some reason.

  4. Stephen Taylor
    19th June 2024, 18:02

    Unless Williams can guanrantee themself Sainz for next year there is no point putting Antonelli in the car . If Antonelli were put the car when Sainz is not signed up then that could really put Williams in a sticky spot if an Antonelli loan to Williams and it goes badly. Also Keith by saying Antonelli is under consideration by Mercedes rather than expected to join that you are a little less convinced than other journalist that Antonelli or a you just a just someone who really likes to wait for official confirmation on these things? I have to say my gut feelings are he won’t be in the Williams until after this Spain-Austria-Britain triple header at least. I think it would be think changing the driver in the midst of triple header would not be ideal. My personal opnion is that although I would be prepared Andrea Antonelli to prove me wrong I personally do not feel putting him in a Merc next year is a good career move.

    1. I like the cut of your jib, sir.

  5. Stephen Taylor
    19th June 2024, 18:03

    Expected.

  6. Kimi in the Williams for Hungary or Spain, he turns 18 at the next GP so why ask for rule change.

    1. What next GP? He turns 18 on the Dutch GP race day, but I agree about asking for a rule change in the first place.

  7. Andrea Antonelli to join Alexsa nder Albon at “Williams”, to then be known as Four A’s Racing Team.

    1. The Quadruple A’s has more of a ring to it.

      1. Well picked up
        Quite so!
        Quadruple A’s has a more sonorous ring to it, and more room for freedom of expression.
        F.A.R.T.. is somewhat limited, possibly sitting only on one note, as it were.

        1. FART? Team Fernando Alonso & Ruki Tsunoda or Formula Albono Antonelli Racing Team? We could get some FACS checked if Alonso and Sainz teamed up or some controversy if FA and GR teamed up.

  8. Has this guy even gotten a podium in F2 yet ? in one of the best cars of the grid ? Ermm.

Comments are closed.