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Williams performs down Antonelli discuss, regardless of F1 superlicence request

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Hypothesis about Antonelli being quick tracked into an F1 seat this yr has ramped up within the wake of the Mercedes junior being given further days in testing a 2021 automotive to get him up to the mark in grand prix equipment.

Moreover, it has emerged over the Miami GP weekend {that a} request has been lodged with the FIA for Antonelli to be granted an F1 superlicence, regardless of him not being the minimal 18 years {old} till August.

It’s unclear which staff this request has come from, and whether or not or not it’s for only a follow licence or a full race seat.

Recommendations have pointed to it being Williams that’s trying to consider Antonelli with a view to doubtlessly changing Sargeant if the American doesn’t turnaround his disappointing begin to the marketing campaign.

Talking in Miami on Friday, Williams staff principal James Vowles performed down discuss that he was pushing exhausting for Antonelli, however did admit that Sargeant wanted to up his sport.

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“I do know nothing about what is going on on with the Mercedes checks proper now,” mentioned Vowles.

“We’re wanting, as everybody else is, for the place we wish to be on driver line-up for subsequent yr. And we now have our personal younger driver programme.

James Matthews, CEO of Eden Rock, James Vowles, Crew Principal, Williams Racing

Photograph by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“Within the case of Kimi. I am unable to actually adjudicate on the stage he is at. In case of him coming into the automotive this yr, I’ve at all times mentioned from the start, it is a meritocracy.

“Logan has to earn his seat and for the time being, he has some robust targets the place he has to get a lot nearer to Alex. However there may be nothing on the radar for the time being for changing him.”

Any transfer to get superlicence approval for Antonelli would require help from the FIA’s varied security commissions.

Requested concerning the software for an exemption for underneath age Antonelli, an FIA spokesman mentioned: “We have now acquired this request, and we’re wanting into it. However there is a course of to be adopted and a number of individuals/commissions required to vote and comply with it because it requires a rule change.”

Whereas an Antonelli step into F1 could be thrilling, Vowles mentioned his largest headache for the time being was not the efficiency of its drivers, however getting extra out of its automotive.

“We have now far greater issues to resolve than drivers for the time being,” he defined.

“Alex has finished championship stage drives and, for the time being, he isn’t scoring factors. Essentially, we now have it on us to enhance our automotive going ahead. That is my main concern greater than anything.

“What we do with drivers going into 2025/26, quite a lot of us listed below are simply finding out the place we will be for subsequent yr essentially. And of that there are alternatives on the desk, however it’s far too early to inform.

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW46

Logan Sargeant, Williams FW46

Photograph by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“Within the sense of Kimi, it’s a must to keep in mind it is simply 20 months in the past that he was in an F4 automotive. That is a big, giant step up into an F1 automotive in such a brief area of time.”

For now, Vowles mentioned his job was to do every little thing he might to assist help Sargeant in his activity of getting faster.

“On the finish of the yr [2023], he got here near Alex, which I need him to do. However that development needed to proceed. He needed to be on the level the place he isn’t sitting a tenth behind him, however reasonably difficult him and outqualifying him and outracing him essentially. We’re nonetheless on that journey.”

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He added: “However as I mentioned during, it’s a meritocracy: earn your home now, and he is bought extra work to do.

“However he is additionally one of many high 20 F1 drivers on the planet on the grid and there is a cause for that. Right here in Miami and his residence grand prix, I am placing him on my shoulders and supporting him as a result of that is what we ought to be doing at this level. He is within the automotive. He’ll stay within the automotive and my job right here is supporting him.”

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