Mercedes prodigy takes another step towards F1 with major title win

Sam Cooper
Andrea Kimi Antonelli

Andrea Kimi Antonelli has added another title to his cabinet.

Mercedes’ highly-rated youngster Andrea Kimi Antonelli has taken another step on his journey to F1 with a championship win in FRECA.

The Italian is just 17 years old but is already being talked about as a possible F1 star of the future and has added another title to his glowing list of achievements.

With victory in Zandvoort, Antonelli has sealed the FRECA Drivers’ title with two races still to go in his maiden season.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli takes another step to F1 with FRECA win

Antonelli competes in the series for Prema Racing and has been on a blistering run of form, fishing on the podium in 11 of the 18 races this season.

With victory in the Netherlands, Antonelli has built an unassailable lead at the top of the championship ahead of second-placed Martinius Stenshorne and will arrive at the final grand prix in Germany as champion.

The FRECA title win goes along with the Italian F4 and Formula Regional Middle East Championship crowns he won in 2022 and puts him one step closer to making it to the F1 grid.

A member of the Mercedes academy since 2019, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff previously said they would wait until the end of the FRECA season to decide if Antonelli was ready for the step up to F2.

“I think we will all hope that Andrea can make a great career,” Wolff said earlier this year.

“But there is always the risk that if you create too much hype around a young driver, that he’s not left in peace to do anything.

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“He is in FRECA, he dominated F4 last year in a solid way. He’s won those championships and won in go karting, and he is leading the championship in FRECA.

“We see how FRECA goes, then will take a decision what to do, together with his father and Kimi, what are we doing next year? And in which directions to go?

“But I’m happy that there is an Italian in the starting blocks for a great career.”

Should he eventually make it to Formula 1, Antonelli will be the first Mercedes junior since George Russell to have graduated through the academy and into the sport’s top series.

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