F1’s next Kimi? Teen sensation ‘ticking all the boxes’ at Mercedes

Sam Cooper
Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

Toto Wolff said Mercedes’ young Italian prodigy Andrea Kimi Antonelli is “ticking all the boxes” in his career progression so far.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli is just 16 years of age but has already been turning heads, largely due to his performances in Formula 4 as well as a strong career in karting.

The Italian, born in Bologna just 40km from the Imola circuit, joined Mercedes’ junior driver programme in April 2018 and went on to win the WSK Euro Series and Super Master Series titles in the OK Junior category that season.

He also finished runner-up in the FIA Karting European Championship and secured fifth at the FIA Karting World Championship. In 2020, he stepped up to the OK class, where he again found success with the FIA Karting European Championship and WSK Euro Series titles.

In 2021, he continued in karting before having his first taste of single-seater racing at the end of the season in Italian Formula 4 for the final three rounds with Prema, further impressing with three podiums in nine races.

Antonelli, formerly a member of Rosberg Racing Academy, moved to F4 full-time in 2022 and took the ADAC and Italian titles again with Prema Racing.

His plan for 2023 is another step-up, moving to the Formula Regional European Championship having already claimed the title in the Middle Eastern version of the series.

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Already then he is impressing the boss of a programme that has seen the likes of George Russell and Esteban Ocon come through it but it was not just his ability that was pleasing Wolff.

“Since working together, Kimi has ticked all the boxes,” Wolff told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com, “But not only that, I really like him as a boy, as a personality and he has a fantastic family environment around him that helps him always keep his feet on the ground. He has a great talent and can count on important values ​​that come from his family.”

“Kimi is still in the early stages of his journey and I think he has a bright future ahead of him that will be his if he keeps taking it one step at a time. Besides, it’s just lovely for me to work with him and his father, two people who have the feet firmly on the ground.”

Antonelli is still someway off an F1 race though with the minimum age for a driver now set at 18 years old.