Toto Wolff drops major Andrea Kimi Antonelli hint amid ‘best since Max Verstappen’ claim

Sam Cooper
Kimi Antonelli

Kimi Antonelli recently completed two F1 tets.

Toto Wolff has hinted that promoting Andrea Kimi Antonelli to a Mercedes seat for F1 2025 is a major consideration, claiming the benefits would be felt both on and off track.

Antonelli is the most talked-about name in the F1 paddock as he looks to become the clear favourite for the Silver Arrows seat next year. And following recent tests in previous Mercedes F1 cars, Wolff has hinted he is a potential candidate.

Toto Wolff drops huge Andrea Kimi Antonelli hint

The subject of Antonelli came up not by a direct question but instead a reference to Lewis Hamilton and his first race in Italy since news of his Ferrari move was confirmed.

Asked by Sky F1 if that affected the team’s preparation, Wolff went on to suggest that putting an Italian in their car for next year would have added benefits.

“We haven’t spoken about it [Hamilton in Italy] because there are 100 million people that watch every grand prix and then there are obviously the local Italians here,” the Mercedes CEO said. “But I guess for the Italians, it is super exciting to have Lewis Hamilton in red next year. We will get used to the outfits.

“But we’ve got to look at ourselves and maybe there is an option that we shine more with an Italian in our car.”

Bologna-born Antonelli completed two tests in an F1 car recently at Austria and most recently at Imola at the end of April and Karun Chandhok, who was part of the interviewing team with Wolff, said the feedback he heard was Antonelli was the best driver they had seen “since Max Verstappen.”

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“By all accounts the engineers have been very impressed with him,” Chandhok said. “I think we heard [technical director] James Allison yesterday speaking in the press conference saying that it seemed like within a couple of laps, he’d been driving an F1 car for a lot longer than that time. So I think they’ve been super impressed with the job he’s done so far.

“I saw him first-hand, it was earlier this year, he was testing an F1 car and it was devastatingly impressive. Chatting with the engineers and the driver coach Warren Hughes who I’ve known for a very long time was there, they were all unbelievably impressed.

“The line I got from the engineer was he’s the best driver we’ve seen in an F3 car since Max Verstappen.”

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