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Is Sargeant's fate sealed after 'Verstappen rule' adjustment?

Antonelli may debut in F1: is Sargeant's fate now truly sealed?

14 June at 13:03

Andrea Kimi Antonelli may debut in Formula 1 if the FIA deems him good enough. Williams made the request to the FIA for this rule change, but chances are slim that Williams will actually end up using Antonelli.

Prior to the Imola Grand Prix, it became clear that Williams had submitted a request to the FIA whether the rules around the super licence could be looked at. This mainly concerned the minimum age of 18, which had been set since Max Verstappen's debut. Williams wanted to know if that rule could be changed.

It all has to do with the situation Williams finds itself in. The team has given Logan Sargeant a new contract, but the American has yet to reward that confidence. Alexander Albon is by far the better driver of the two, and Williams simply needs two drivers to get everything out of the car every week. That Williams inquired about the rule was a direct signal to Sargeant: 'Your time is up.'

Albon has also received that message very clearly in recent weeks. Indeed, team boss James Vowles is openly flirting with Carlos Sainz and has also already held talks with Valtteri Bottas in the middle of hospitality. The team boss revealed at the press conference in Canada that Sargeant is currently showing too little, but it seems too late for that now anyway.

Why Antonelli will not drive for Williams

Indeed, after the Canadian Grand Prix, where Sargeant crashed into the wall twice during the race, ending his race on the second occasion. Since the request to the FIA, it already seemed a matter of time before Sargeant would be replaced, the only question is by whom.

Although the FIA has now changed the rules so that Antonelli could be eligible for a super licence, that is no reason to believe that Antonelli will actually take a seat in the Williams. Indeed, Mercedes is not in favour of the idea of bringing Antonelli into F1 early, preferring to see him spend a year testing in old cars and perhaps competing in some free practices before Antonelli steps into the Mercedes in 2025.

Mick Schumacher seems to be the man put forward to fill that temporary gap at Williams. Schumacher is keen to return to F1 and does have something to prove after his time at Haas. Schumacher is in the picture at Alpine and could move into the spotlight through Williams. Indeed, with Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas, Vowles already has two names on the list for 2025 and it is mainly a matter of waiting to see if Sainz says 'yes' to the team.

This could create a win-win situation. Indeed, Mercedes would be happy for two reasons. Namely, the young talent can still continue his development relatively in the shadows, while the team's reserve driver gets a chance in F1. In addition, Williams has a driver with experience in F1 and is a former F2 and F3 champion. On paper, that looks like an upgrade over Sargeant.