F1 News: FIA Announces Huge Rule Change Which Could Influence Mercedes 2025 Signing

The FIA has amended the Formula 1 super licence rules to allow 17-year-old drivers to race, potentially accelerating the career of promising young driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli and influencing Mercedes' team strategy.
May 4, 2024; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mercedes driver George Russell (63) during the F1 Sprint Race at Miami International Autodrome. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2024; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mercedes driver George Russell (63) during the F1 Sprint Race at Miami International Autodrome. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The FIA has revised its International Sporting Code, lowering the age requirement for the Formula 1 super licence. This revision follows a request from an unnamed Formula 1 team to reconsider the age criterion, which, until now, required drivers to be at least 18 years old to hold a super licence.

Under the newly amended rule, the FIA permits a 17-year-old to participate in Formula 1 races, provided they demonstrate "outstanding ability and maturity in single-seater formula car competitions." This change marks a pivotal shift from the traditional stance, further nuanced by the removal of the necessity for super licence applicants to hold a valid road driving licence upon their first application. The FIA stated in section 13.1 of Appendix L To The International Sporting Code:

"The driver must be at least 18 years old at the start of the event of his first F1 competition. At the sole discretion of the FIA, a driver judged to have recently and consistently demonstrated outstanding ability and maturity in single-seater formula car competition may be granted a super licence at the age of 17 years old."

The adjustments shine a spotlight on Andrea Kimi Antonelli, a promising talent in Formula 2 and a leading figure in the Mercedes junior lineup. Born on August 25, the 17-year-old—who has met the requisite 40 super licence points—can now potentially make his Formula 1 debut before celebrating his 18th birthday, provided he receives the FIA’s nod under this new age dispensation. This development could not only fast-track his career but also place him at the forefront to potentially fill Lewis Hamilton's seat at Mercedes in 2025.

The rule change stems back to a precedent set in 2015 after Max Verstappen joined Toro Rosso (now Visa Cash App RB) in Formula 1 at just 17, prompting the FIA to impose an initial age limit to ensure drivers had adequate maturity and experience. However, this latest amendment points towards a more flexible and talent-focused approach by the FIA, assessing maturity and prowess over age.

Speculation mounts on which teams advocated for this rule change, with whispers pointing towards Williams—now under the guidance of James Vowles, a familiar face to Mercedes’ strategy team.

As the 2025 Formula 1 season edges closer, all eyes will be on how these new regulations influence team strategies and driver selections, potentially unveiling Formula 1’s next prodigious talent on the world stage ahead of schedule.


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Lydia Mee

LYDIA MEE

Lydia is the lead editor of F1 editorial. After following the sport for several years, she was finally able to attend the British Grand Prix in person in 2017. Since then, she's been addicted to not only the racing, but the atmosphere the fans bring to each event. She's a strong advocate for women in motorsport and a more diverse industry.