Andrea Kimi Antonelli future update given with Mercedes aiming to avoid ‘curveball’

Sam Cooper
Kimi Antonelli

Kimi Antonelli is a highly rated young driver at Mercedes.

Toto Wolff has not ruled out Mercedes youngster Andrea Kimi Antonelli being given the F1 seat in 2025 but has insisted he must first perform well in F2.

Antonelli is only 17 and has already made the big step up from FRECA to F2 but with Lewis Hamilton’s sudden departure, the highly rated young driver is one of the names in connection to partner George Russell at the team in 2025.

Asked about the Italian during pre-season testing, Wolff did not rule it out but also insisted he was still very young and had a lot to learn.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli one of the names in Mercedes’ hat, confirms Toto Wolff

Antonelli has been part of the Mercedes academy since 2018 having been first spotted by now Williams team principal James Vowles and the young driver has already impressed, winning the Formula Regional European Championship last season with Prema.

While some expected a move to F3 was the most likely next destination for him, Mercedes instead opted to throw him in at the deep end with an F2 seat alongside another F1 hopeful Oliver Bearman.

Antonelli’s meteoric rise could accelerate even further should Mercedes opt to give him the F1 seat in 2025 and it is not a possibility that Wolff has ruled out.

“We got that curveball thrown at us with Lewis in the beginning of February,” Wolff told media including PlanetF1.com. “And I want to do the opposite when choosing the driver for next year.

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“It’s clear Kimi has been in our junior category since he was 11 and we have had great pleasure in watching him grow as a young man and growing through the ranks.

“But I also want to take a little bit of pressure off him. He’s 17. He’s won everything he needed to win in his rookie season, but I think he is going to be a Formula 1 driver. He’s going to be a very, very successful driver in Formula 1. But he hasn’t started his Formula 2 campaign yet.

“They had a difficult test in the first days in Bahrain and we shall see how this develops.”

As for when a decision may be made, Wolff said he wanted to wait until the season had started before making the call.

“I want to wait out the first few [F2] races that are actually going to go with Formula 1. There are many very good pilots in Formula 1 available for next year or so and this is all going to come into the equation when deciding on the driver line-up for next year, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.”

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