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Antonelli set for early F1 debut amid Sargeant's uncertain future

Antonelli set for early F1 debut amid Sargeant's uncertain future
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Former head of a Formula 1 team, Gunther Steiner, speculates that Logan Sargeant may be dismissed from his role before the 2024 season ends.

Former head of a Formula 1 team, Gunther Steiner, speculates that Logan Sargeant may be dismissed from his role before the 2024 season ends.

In a surprise move, the FIA has approved the entry of young drivers like Kimi Antonelli into Formula 1, abolishing the previous minimum age requirement of 18 years.

Now, 17-year-olds who have "consistently demonstrated outstanding ability and maturity in single-seater formula car competition" are eligible for a super license.

The decision will be made "at the sole discretion of the FIA," as stated by the Paris-based federation.

This development might be seen a continuation of reports that the Mercedes-linked Williams team sought permission from the FIA to allow Antonelli to participate in official Formula 1 events while he is still 17.

Antonelli, a rising star from Italy, is widely expected to succeed Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2025.

His manager, Toto Wolff, is reportedly keen to provide him with hands-on Formula 1 experience sooner than 2025.

James Vowles, team principal at Williams and an ally of Wolff, recently acknowledged in Canada that Sargeant's position is increasingly precarious.

"We need more from him, really, to be able to save his seat in that sort of circumstance," he noted.

With the new rules allowing 17-year-olds to participate immediately in free practice, Antonelli might soon replace Sargeant, possibly within this season.

"I think he (Sargeant) will have to leave at the end of the year," Steiner commented on the Red Flags podcast.

Regarding a potential mid-season change, his opinion was more reserved.

"First and foremost you try to work with the people you have," Steiner explained. "Of course, at some point enough is enough and people ask themselves 'Why are we doing this to ourselves?'"

"If he experiences a few more races before the summer break like the one in Canada, it could be that another driver will be in his cockpit after the (summer) break."

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