Toto Wolff worries of ‘talking up too much’ after Mercedes hopeful’s F2 debut

Henry Valantine
Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli made the move up to F2 and made his debut in Bahrain at the weekend.

Toto Wolff has admitted he’s “almost guilty of talking him up too much” when discussing Mercedes prospect Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who made his Formula 2 debut over the weekend.

Wolff has spoken openly about his desire to get Antonelli, who was promoted straight past Formula 3 and into F2 this season, into one of his cars eventually, but his debut weekend in the feeder series did not quite go as planned, with his PREMA team appearing off the pace.

Toto Wolff talks about Mercedes hopeful following F2 debut

Antonelli and his team-mate, Ferrari junior and fellow highly-rated teenager Oliver Bearman locked out the ninth row of the grid at the weekend, which is far below the expectations of the high-performing PREMA outfit in the series.

Antonelli was able to recover to 14th in the sprint race and 10th in the feature race, finishing ahead of Bearman on both occasions on his debut weekend in a new category, but the Italian’s name has already been spoken about as a potential successor to Lewis Hamilton in 2025.

Mercedes team principal Wolff is not looking that far ahead just yet though, with the teenager having only just started out in Formula 2 and looking to make his mark in a new category.

With no shortage of drivers already linked with the soon-to-be vacant drive with the Silver Arrows in 2025, Wolff reiterated the fact he is keeping his options open when it comes to replacing Hamilton, and won’t commit to a decision yet. recommends

The 12 drivers out of contract at the end of the F1 2024 season

F1 schedule: When is the next F1 race and where is it being held?

“Yeah, a championship-winning team 17th and 18th in Formula 2, that’s not at all where they should be,” Wolff said of Antonelli’s PREMA debut to media including after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“I think you can look against a team-mate as one of the comparisons. I think Ollie Bearman is a top driver.

“But I think, like I’ve always said, I’m almost guilty of talking [Antonelli] up too much. We’ll see how the next few races pan out.

“I’m in no hurry for us to take a decision on drivers. I’ve been rushed in a hurry by Lewis, so this time around I’m going to take it easy and evaluating the market.”

Read next: The ‘insanely talented’ McLaren member powering the next generation of stars