Mercedes, Kimi Antonelli
Credit: Mercedes-Benz AG

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is ramping up his quest to find Lewis Hamilton’s replacement as Max Verstappen seemingly rejected the 150 million euros deal earlier this week in Miami. With Carlos Sainz also reportedly heading to Audi, Wolff’s options are extremely narrow.

Meanwhile, Toto Wolff is expected to lock in a second driver by the summer break, and his best bet momentarily remains junior F2 protege Andrea Kimi Antonelli. The 17-year-old recently drove an F1 car, the W12, for the first time and had a great session. However, with age likely to be a barrier, Mercedes has apparently filed a plea with FIA to make an exception for Antonelli.


FIA Confirms Receiving Mercedes Request To Relinquish Age Bar For Kimi Antonelli!

Mercedes, Kimi Antonelli
Source: Susie Wolff via Mercedes F1 Team’s Twitter

Andra Kimi Antonelli, popularly known as the next Max Verstappen in the making, is a Mercedes junior Italian driver who made his F2 debut this year with Prema. Ever since Lewis Hamilton confirmed vacating his seat by the end of the year, Kimi has been touted as a potential replacement candidate. Accordingly, the teenager tested an F1 car for the first time in his racing career last month. He took W12 for a spin at the Red Bull Ring and reportedly had a great session. However, his promotion to F1 is currently halted due to the age barrier. Kimi is 17 years old and won’t be turning 18 until August this year. And the minimum age bar set by FIA to claim F1’s super license is 18 years.

Hence, to fast-track Kimi Antonelli’s F1 debut, Mercedes reportedly submitted an official request to the FIA to make an exception for the junior protege. FIA confirmed the same to Sportskeeda and is believed to be reviewing all possible scenarios. Notably, the Silver Arrows plans to put Andrea in Logan Sargeant’s Williams seat from the Imola GP onwards. His short stint would be treated as an audition round to claim the ultimate Silver Arrows seat in 2025. However, the rule exemption is easier said than done. All authorities from their respective departments need to grant permission to make Antonelli the youngest driver to debut in F1’s history after Max Verstappen. Not to mention, if FIA goes on to approve the German manufacturer’s request, Logan Sargeant will lose his seat as he will be sacked immediately.

Max Verstappen Rejects Toto Wolff’s 150 Million Euros Offer!

Toto Wolff, Max Verstappen, Christian Horner

Reacting to rumors of Mercedes allegedly offering him a 150 million euro deal, Red Bull driver and three-time World Champion Max Verstappen said money is not the ultimate decision-making factor for him. His primary goal is to win races, and performance is what matters most.

And currently, he finds no reason to leave Red Bull. While Mercedes’ offer is flattering, Max Verstappen is committed to serving RB and also confirmed that Adrian Newey’s departure will have no impact on his future with the team. “If I earned more and I would drive on the track for 6th or 5th place, I would be quite grumpy at the end of the day,” said Verstappen.

Stay tuned to Sports News International for more such updates about your favorite F1 team.