“Funny” F1 superlicence change supported by Antonelli’s rivals

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A rules change which could allow Andrea Kimi Antonelli to make his Formula 1 debut before he turns 18 has been supported by two of his rivals.

Following a request, the FIA modified its own International Sporting Code to allow 17-year-olds to be allowed to apply for a superlicence if they have “consistently demonstrated outstanding ability and maturity in single-seater formula car competition.”

The move opens the door for Antonelli – the only 17-year-old with sufficient superlicence points – to potentially make his F1 debut before turning in August.

Speaking to media including RaceFans, Sauber junior Zane Maloney, who previously led the F2 championship standings prior to the last round in Monaco, said he supported the restriction being lifted.

“I think if you have the correct development as a driver and you show your talent, I think there shouldn’t be really a limit on the age,” he said. “So I’d say yes, I agree with it.

“But of course, it’s all down to how the driver’s doing, how many mistakes they’re making, and if they look ready for the next step. I think the F1 teams especially are good at judging.”

Despite the prospect of Antonelli stepping up into Formula 1 despite never taking a podium finish in F2 or F3 level, Maloney says he’s been impressed by the aptitude he has demonstrated so far.

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“I know Kimi is in Formula 2 at 17 and he’s done an amazing job and he’s also skipped Formula 3,” said Maloney. “I think 17 is very young, but if a driver has the talent and is showing the capabilities then, in my opinion, they should be in Formula 1.”

Red Bull junior Dennis Hauger shared Maloney’s view that it was good the rules could now allow Antonelli to follow Max Verstappen and become only the second 17-year-old to step up into Formula 1. The FIA introduced its 18-year age limit for F1 drivers in reaction to Verstappen’s debut nine years ago.

“It’s all about the talent and the pace and the lap time in the end, I guess,” Hauger said. “But it’s also a bit funny, of course – they changed it to age 18 after Max and now it’s going back a bit!

“But it’s cool as well. It’s a part of the time, you know. More and more of the future focusing on the younger generations and I think that’s cool as well and it’s cool that they have that focus on it.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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2 comments on ““Funny” F1 superlicence change supported by Antonelli’s rivals”

  1. ”there shouldn’t be really a limit on the age”
    – I disagree with this part, as having at least some form of limit is definitely justified, as otherwise, teams could push for even younger drivers (& could’ve pushed if nothing came after Max entered F1), like 15-16-year-olds if they think they’re ready.

  2. Jojo rules do not gain confidence in Fia.
    They still lack vision and too often react on events. Like changing tires under red flags or showing flags for cars loosing parts or….
    Get your act together Fia and show so vision and some pro active rule adapting.
    Media should not decide the things we talk about!

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