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Williams talking to ‘four or five drivers’ as Vowles offers his take on Antonelli

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: James Vowles, Team Principal of Williams attends the Team Principals Press

Williams’ James Vowles says that the squad are currently in talks with several drivers regarding their line-up for 2025, but the team boss has moved to quash speculation that F2 driver Kimi Antonelli could race for them even sooner, insisting that the focus is instead on improving the car.

It has not been a straightforward start to the 2024 campaign for Williams, with the Grove-based outfit being one of two teams – along with Kick Sauber – yet to score a point.

READ MORE: Albon laments ‘one of my most challenging races’ with Williams as Sargeant offers thoughts on Magnussen clash

They faced an especially tough weekend at Round 3 in Australia, where their lack of a third chassis resulted in Logan Sargeant having to sit out the race while Alex Albon competed in the sole car, after earlier damaging his own chassis beyond repair in a free practice crash.

While Vowles stated that he still “believed” in Sargeant at the time, it has not prevented speculation from mounting over the American’s future, with rumours circulating that the highly-rated Antonelli could step in at Williams as soon as the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 13: Andrea Kimi Antonelli of Italy and PREMA Racing (4) looks on from

Antonelli's name has been mentioned amid speculation about the driver market

This is something that Vowles has denied, and the Briton has suggested that the team are currently thinking more long-term when it comes to their driver pairing in light of impending regulation changes in 2026.

“There was a rumour going around he’ll be in the car for Imola – he won’t be in the car for Imola,” Vowles said during the Miami Grand Prix weekend of 17-year-old Antonelli.

READ MORE: F2 racer Antonelli ‘excited for what’s coming’ after making ‘incredible’ F1 test debut with Mercedes

“What we’re doing at the moment is evaluating drivers for ’26 and ’25, and what we really want is the right driver pairing for those two years, because when you go through a regulation change, you really don’t want to be changing drivers in ’26, so you’re looking for the right pairing for that period of time.

“There’s no doubt he’s got huge skill to him, but he was in a Formula 4 car 20 months ago. That’s where he is, it’s a very different proposition to most. We’ve been talking to four or five drivers at the moment for that period of time, and I’m quite happy to sit back a little bit and wait.”

Vowles insists Antonelli ‘won’t be in the car for Imola’ – and gives update on Williams chase for Newey

One of the reasons that Vowles is content to play the waiting game is to ensure that the team can focus on making improvements to their car, as they look to work their way forwards through the field.

“More so than that, I have a duty and a responsibility to make this car faster first, because Alex is a championship-level driver,” he explained.

READ MORE: Our writers share their views on where they’d love to see Adrian Newey next after his Red Bull departure

“We’ve just got to provide the right car for him, to be behind him. We haven’t yet, so my main focus is there, and that typically then unlocks other possibilities in the future.”

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