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F1 Prodigy Antonelli May Debut Before 18

Russell Backs Antonelli for Early F1 Start

23/06/2024

George Russell supports Andrea Antonelli’s potential early debut in Formula 1, emphasizing skill over age.

Last week, the FIA revised its regulations to allow drivers under the age of majority to still make their F1 debuts as holders.

In 2015, when Max Verstappen made his F1 debut at 17 years and 166 days, the FIA changed its rule: no one could start in F1 without having their driving license and being 18.

However, the Federation has reversed this decision: while the 18-year rule remains, the FIA, at its discretion, can grant an exception by awarding a Super Licence to any driver who has “recently and consistently demonstrated exceptional ability and maturity” in single-seaters.

Of course, this change is not a coincidence: Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who will be 18 only in August, could soon make his debut as a holder at Williams F1, taking over Logan Sargeant’s seat. Even if it will not be this weekend in Barcelona.

However, is making an F1 debut before turning 18 too soon? Isn’t it a poisoned chalice?

For George Russell, who may have Andrea Kimi Antonelli as a teammate next year at Mercedes F1, age should not be judged, but rather driving talent.

“Each driver is different. And if you look at Max, if you take Kimi (Andrea Kimi Antonelli) as an example now, these guys have a very good team around them; Kimi with the Mercedes team, all the preparation, the testing he does.”

“Max was in a very privileged position with his father, a former F1 driver, and he knew what it took to get there.”

“You saw Ollie Bearman’s work in Saudi Arabia: thrown into the deep end, he did an excellent job. So, you know, everyone is different. I think it depends on the individual.”

Maloney and Hauger support the rule change

Do young drivers support this rule change?

Zane Maloney, the Sauber protégé who was leading the F2 championship before Monaco and is over 20, does this rule change create even more competition when seats are already scarce?

“If you develop properly as a driver and show your talent, I think there should be no age limit.”

“But of course, it all depends on the driver, the number of mistakes he makes, and whether he seems ready for the next step. I think F1 teams are particularly good at judging.”

“I know Kimi is in Formula 2 at 17 and he has done a remarkable job, but he also skipped Formula 3. Yes, 17 is very young, but if a driver has the talent and shows his capabilities, then in my opinion, he should be in Formula 1.”

Dennis Hauger, the Red Bull protégé, feels the same as Maloney: it all depends on the talent. The stopwatch more than the ID card.

“It’s kind of funny – they moved to 18 after Max and now they’re kind of going back!”

“But it’s cool too. It’s part of the times, you know. The future is increasingly focused on younger generations and I think that’s cool too.”

F1 Prodigy Antonelli May Debut Before 18

F1 Prodigy Antonelli May Debut Before 18. F1 Prodigy Antonelli May Debut Before 18

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