Toto Wolff denies dispensation request ahead of reported Antonelli/Schumacher comparison test

Michelle Foster
Andrea Kimi Antonelli is a Mercedes junior

Andrea Kimi Antonelli is a Mercedes junior

Toto Wolff has refuted suggestions Mercedes requested dispensation from the FIA for Andrea Kimi Antonelli to be allowed to race before he’s 18, adamant he won’t be in F1 this season.

This comes as Auto Motor und Sport reports that the Italian will take part in a “comparison” test against Mick Schumacher next week at Silverstone.

‘Everything else is just rumours, which continue to spin around’

On a day when he was on the sidelines, Antonelli found himself making headlines in Miami on Friday when an unnamed team requested dispensation from the FIA for the 17-year-old to be allowed to compete in Formula 1 before he turns 18.

The sport has a minimum age of 18 years and Antonelli will only hit that milestone on the Sunday of the Dutch Grand Prix.

This led to speculation it was either Mercedes or Williams with a rumour doing the rounds that Miami could, if the FIA say yes, be Logan Sargeant’s last race in Formula 1.

Wolff, though, says it wasn’t him.

“The dispensation was something that wasn’t brought up by us and we have certainly stated from the beginning that that was not something we have pursued,” the team boss told Autosport.

“I don’t know where this belief comes from that Mercedes was keen on pushing that forward. Kimi needs to concentrate on his F2 campaign and he knows that.

“Everything else is just rumours, which continue to spin around and that are factually incorrect. He’s an F2 driver for Prema, that is what he’s doing, and this is what we’re all concentrating on.”

He added: “I think that this dispensation is probably something that got some traction because more and more people flirted with the idea. But it’s certainly nothing that we have ever pushed from our side.”

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He went on to make it clear he doesn’t want Antonelli stepping up into Formula 1 this season, with the Italian having already skipped Formula 3 to jump from Formula Regional European Championship into Formula 2 with Prema.

“Just 15 months ago, he was in an F4 car,” Wolff continued. “We have great belief in Kimi, his abilities and also his future.

“But there is a trajectory which we need to follow with diligence, rather than trying to dream about jumping from series to series in a way that is certainly not beneficial for him.

“I think a champion is not going to be distracted by any of this. But certainly, at least it distracts me because everybody’s asking me: ‘What about Kimi and driving in Imola?

“This is not going to happen. This is not something that Mercedes wants. These rumours have gotten their own spin. Let’s do Formula 2. We as a team have lots of other issues to resolve.”

Wolff’s comments come as Auto Motor und Sport’s Tobi Grüner reports Mercedes will run the teenager and reserve Mick Schumacher at Silverstone next week in what he dubbed a comparison test.

“Mercedes will compare Antonelli and Mick Schumacher in F1 test at Silverstone next week,” he wrote on X. “No plans for early F1 race debut as Toto Wolff doesn’t want Antonelli to get burned.

“As for Williams, they’re interested but “only if they can keep him for at least 2 years.”

The test will mark Antonelli’s third outing in a Formula 1 car having put a 2021 Mercedes W12 through its paces at the Red Bull Ring before driving a W13 at Imola.

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