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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

It isn’t going to occur.

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Antonelli is being evaluated by Mercedes as an possibility to interchange Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton for 2025, dovetailing a Formulation 2 marketing campaign at Prema with non-public testing within the Brackley group’s earlier F1 automobiles.

However in current days, the 17-year-old Mercedes protege has also been mentioned as an possibility to interchange Williams’ Logan Sargeant this 12 months if the Grove-based squad decides it desires to modify drivers.

That concept ramped up on Friday after it emerged that the FIA had acquired a request for dispensation, understood to be from Williams, to grant the Italian teen the required superlicence to compete in F1 earlier than he reaches the minimal age of 18.

Antonelli doesn’t flip 18 till the tip of August, fuelling hypothesis that he was being ready for an F1 debut earlier than the summer season break.

However talking to Autosport, Wolff has utterly dominated out that concept, saying there isn’t a curiosity from Mercedes in altering its unique plans for the teen.

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“The dispensation was one thing that wasn’t introduced up by us and we now have actually said from the start that that was not one thing we now have pursued,” Wolff mentioned.

“I do not know the place this perception comes from that Mercedes was eager on pushing that ahead. Kimi wants to focus on his F2 marketing campaign and he is aware of that.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli drives Mercedes W12

“All the things else is simply rumours, which proceed to spin round and which are factually incorrect. He is an F2 driver for Prema, that’s what he is doing, and that is what we’re all concentrating on.”

Wolff burdened that Mercedes would stay cautious to not burn Antonelli by selling him too early, given his fast rise by the junior sequence and his lack of expertise.

“Simply 15 months in the past, he was in an F4 automobile,” he mentioned. “Now we have nice perception in Kimi, his skills and in addition his future.

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“However there’s a trajectory which we have to observe with diligence, slightly than making an attempt to dream about leaping from sequence to sequence in a means that’s actually not helpful for him.

“I believe a champion just isn’t going to be distracted by any of this. However actually, at the very least it distracts me as a result of everyone’s asking me: ‘What about Kimi and driving in Imola?

“This isn’t going to occur. This isn’t one thing that Mercedes desires. These rumours have gotten their very own spin. Let’s do Formulation 2. We as a group have a lot of different points to resolve.”

Wolff made clear that Mercedes had by no means expressed any curiosity in fast-tracking Antonelli into F1, and instructed that the dispensation request was one thing finished by a 3rd get together.

“I believe that this dispensation might be one thing that acquired some traction as a result of increasingly folks flirted with the thought,” he mentioned. “But it surely’s actually nothing that we now have ever pushed from our aspect.”

Wolff mentioned Mercedes was proud of the progress Antonelli is making, evaluating favourably to Ferrari’s highly-rated Jeddah debutant Oliver Bearman in F1 thus far.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Mercedes testing at Imola

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Mercedes testing at Imola

Photograph by: Davide Cavazza

Final month, he additionally accomplished a maiden F1 take a look at with the 2021 Mercedes W12 on the Purple Bull Ring, adopted by an Imola take a look at within the newer however trickier-to-drive 2022 W13.

“It is utterly on the trajectory that we anticipated,” Wolff mentioned about his protege’s progress.

“There are simpler days, there are more durable days. I believe between the 2 drivers and the group, they should kind out just a few points, but it surely’s not sudden. And the testing goes very nicely and we’re simply approaching it calm and picked up.

“That’s what we now have deliberate earlier than the season, a strong F2 marketing campaign and testing for Mercedes, and we’ll proceed to only do that. All the things else is only a distraction for all of us.

“We’re tremendous proud of George [Russell]. He’ll proceed to be a driver on this group. And all the things else we see panning out on the motive force market.

“It is not going to occur within the subsequent few weeks or a few months.”

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