Logan Sargeant’s last race? Kimi Antonelli superlicence dispensation sought as Williams rumours swirl

Thomas Maher
Kimi Antonelli and Logan Sargeant, pictured 2024.

The FIA has received a request for dispensation to allow Kimi Antonelli be granted an F1 super licence.

Mercedes’ junior driver Kimi Antonelli is eligible for a super licence later this year, but the FIA have received a request for an early dispensation to be made.

Antonelli, who stepped up to Formula 2 this season, is closing in on turning 18 in August this year – the youngest any driver can be granted an FIA super licence as needed to race in Formula 1.

Kimi Antonelli super licence dispensation sought

While Antonelli has racked up enough points through his championship victories in multiple F4 and Formula Regional series, the Italian cannot be granted a super licence until he turns 18 – based on the rules as they stand.

But PlanetF1.com understands that a dispensation request has been lodged with the governing body, the FIA, to grant Antonelli a super licence before his 18th birthday.

The FIA are understood to be investigating the possibility of granting such a dispensation but, due to the age limit being defined in the regulations, it would need cooperation of multiple commissions if a rule change is required to allow Antonelli to make his debut before August.

The team that has lodged the dispensation request has not been confirmed but PlanetF1.com understands it has not been made by Mercedes – the team for whom he tested at Imola earlier this week with a two-year-old W13.

Antonelli’s highest place finish in Formula 2 so far this season is a fourth place in the Melbourne feature race, but the highly-rated Italian has won five single-seater titles in the past two years.

He has been closely linked with the vacant cockpit at Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton departs for Ferrari, with Antonelli seen as Max Verstappen-esque in his pre-F1 abilities, but he remains a major risk given his unproven track record in the higher categories.

One avenue that could be open to Antonelli is to be slotted in at Williams in place of Logan Sargeant, with the American driver failing to show signs of being able to match or beat Alex Albon after more than a season together.

Sargeant was forced to hand over his intact chassis to teammate Alex Albon at last month’s Australian Grand Prix, a move which could be viewed as indicative of the team not having faith in him to match the performance potential of Albon.

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Williams and Mercedes retain close links, with the Grove-based squad a Mercedes customer and former Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles taking over the team leadership role at Williams.

Rumours coming into the Miami Grand Prix, Sargeant’s home race, suggested the weekend could be Sargeant’s last. While possible, the process of granting Antonelli a dispensation might be a step too far, too quickly.

With the Super Licence Working Group set to examine the request, followed by the Safety Committee, the matter would also require the approval of the World Motor Sport Council – all of which is a process that could take “several weeks”.

Given his extensive testing with Mercedes at Imola, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix would represent an ideal starting ground for Antonelli in F1 but, if dispensation isn’t permitted or takes a while to come through, the Monaco Grand Prix isn’t a likely starting race for the Italian.

If Antonelli does make his F1 debut this season, he won’t be the first F2 driver to get a rapid promotion – Ferrari called up Oliver Bearman for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after Carlos Sainz was hospitalised with appendicitis following practice, with the young British driver finishing seventh on his debut.

Williams did not immediately respond to a request from PlanetF1.com for comment.

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