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FIA Rule Change Paves Way for Kimi Antonelli’s Historic F1 Debut at 17

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FIA regulation adjustment paves the way for Kimi Antonelli's potential early Formula 1 entrance

A change in FIA policies might allow Andrea Kimi Antonelli to start his Formula 1 career sooner than anticipated.

Mercedes' young talent, Andrea Kimi Antonelli, might have his first Formula 1 race before reaching the age of 18, following a modification in FIA regulations.

The young Italian, aged 17, is being considered one of the top contenders to take over Lewis Hamilton's position at Mercedes in the upcoming season, even though this year marks his debut in the Formula 2 series.

Recent confidential trials involving former Mercedes F1 vehicles have fueled speculation that the team is grooming Antonelli for a premature entry into grand prix racing.

Rumors grew even stronger after it was revealed that the FIA had been asked to provide Antonelli with a super license through an exceptional exemption at the beginning of May.

There were rampant speculations that Antonelli might take over Logan Sargeant's position at Williams for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. However, James Vowles, the team's principal, rapidly refuted these claims.

Nevertheless, the FIA has recently adjusted the regulations, paving the way for Antonelli to make his Formula 1 debut at just 17 years old.

It doesn't automatically imply that Antonelli, who will not celebrate his 18th birthday until August, will participate in an entire race weekend. Instead, a team might choose to only have him compete in a practice session.

Appendix L's Article 13.1.2 within the FIA International Sporting Code has undergone revisions. The current version states: "The FIA reserves the exclusive right to issue a Super Licence to any driver who, at the age of 17, has shown exceptional skill and consistent maturity in single-seater formula car races, based on their recent performances."

Antonelli has surpassed his Prema teammate Oliver Bearman, who made a notable first appearance in F1 with Ferrari at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and is presently in sixth place in the championship, trailing the series frontrunner Paul Aron by 32 points.

Mercedes' chief, Toto Wolff, has suggested that their preferred choice is to elevate Antonelli to a primary seat for the upcoming season, after dismissing the possibility of acquiring departing Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz.

"Wolff praised Carlos Sainz for his excellent performance but emphasized that their team is currently pursuing a new direction, aiming to innovate their approach. He noted that Kimi Antonelli will significantly contribute to this strategy, as stated during the Canadian Grand Prix."

"We haven't made a final call about next year, but we didn't want to keep Carlos hanging, as he also needs to make his own decisions, and that's only right."

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