Williams demand major F1 rule change to allow teen prodigy who’s tipped to replace Lewis Hamilton to race this season

WILLIAMS have asked the FIA to grant Mercedes whizkid Andrea Kimi Antonelli permission to race this season.

The Italian, 17, has been tipped to break into F1 next season but the sport’s rules say a driver “must be at least 18 years old”.

Rookie Andrea Kimi Antonelli is at the centre of a special plea

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Rookie Andrea Kimi Antonelli is at the centre of a special pleaCredit: Getty
Antonelli could even replace Lewis Hamilton next season

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Antonelli could even replace Lewis Hamilton next seasonCredit: Getty

SunSPORT understands that the request has been made by Williams’ boss James Vowles, who worked with Antonelli at Mercedes.

It means he could replace Logan Sargeant, who has been prone to a number of high profile mistakes.

American Sargeant, who is competing in his home race this weekend in Miami, was hooked out of the Australian GP earlier this year.

Williams handed his car to teammate Alex Albon after the London-born Thai racer smashed his own car up.

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Antonelli is currently racing in Formula 2 and has also been tipped to fill the void left by Lewis Hamilton next season.

He could be given his chance to impress in F1 with Williams as a replacement for Sargeant until the end of the season.

That will allow Mercedes enough time to establish whether he is capable of driving for the Silver Arrows alongside George Russell next season.

Antonelli recently tested for Mercedes at the Red Bull Ring in Austria and then in Imola.

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However, he will need special FIA dispensation to race in F1, effectively on loan at Williams.

Meanwhile, McLaren boss Zak Brown says Adrian Newey’s shock decision to quit Red Bull is the “the first domino to fall”.

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He said: “Given everything that’s gone on since the start of the year and knowing Adrian pretty well, and he’s a very high-integrity individual, I’m not surprised he’s moving on.

“I think the stuff that’s going on there is a bit destabilising. He’s probably the first domino to fall, my guess is not the last based on the resumés that are flying around.

 “And as far as McLaren is concerned, I’m very happy with all the work the men and women at McLaren are doing.”