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FIA Lowers Minimum F1 Superlicence Age To 17

The regulation was initially enforced following the debut of Max Verstappen, who became F1’s youngest driver at 17, but the lowering of the minimum age potentially enables drivers like Mercedes' protege Andrea Kimi Antonelli to debut in 2024.
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Published on June 16, 2024

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    The FIA has amended its regulations to potentially allow 17-year-olds to obtain a Formula 1 superlicence. The updated Appendix L of the International Sporting Code now allows for a super licence at 17, if the FIA deems the driver has demonstrated outstanding ability and maturity in single-seater competitions.

     

    The rule was initially changed a few years ago following the debut of Max Verstappen, who became F1’s youngest-ever driver at 17 and consequently its youngest-ever point scorer and race winner a season later. Many thought such records wouldn’t be possible after the age limit was raised to 18 but there is now a chance.

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    This paves the way for drivers such as 17-year-old Mercedes prodigy Andrea Kimi Antonelli to debut in 2024. This change comes after discussions to grant Antonelli early entry, despite him turning 18 in August.

     

    Antonelli, supported by Mercedes since his karting days, has rapidly progressed through the ranks, securing titles in the world karting championship, Italian F4 and the Formula Regional European Championship. Currently racing in Formula 2 with Prema, he has shown significant promise, which has bolstered Mercedes' interest in fast-tracking him to F1, partnering George Russell. Especially considering the Brackley outfit’s dilemma to replace Lewis Hamilton, who is set to join Ferrari in 2025.

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    The new regulations also affect the free practice-only superlicence, meaning Antonelli could participate in FP1 sessions before turning 18. This move aligns with Mercedes' strategy to gradually introduce Antonelli to F1, giving him valuable track experience ahead of a full-time race seat.

     

    While there were rumours of an early debut with Williams, replacing Logan Sargeant mid-season, Mercedes principal Toto Wolff has indicated a preference for a measured approach, ensuring Antonelli is fully prepared for F1 competition. The revised rules now allow Antonelli to gain experience in various grand prix weekends, enhancing his readiness for future races.

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