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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Mercedes would not wish to “spin” Antonelli’s thoughts over F1 likelihood

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The Brackley-based squad is on the hunt for a brand new team-mate for George Russell in 2025, and group boss Toto Wolff has hinted at the opportunity of the squad going “daring” in its selection.

That comment may very well be a reference to it steering away from going for an skilled hand and as a substitute taking a threat on slotting in its protege Antonelli.

The highly-rated Italian, a two-time European karting champion, has made a shocking impression within the junior classes, successful the Italian and ADAC F4 titles in 2022 and the Method Regional European Championship final 12 months.

These successes have prompted Mercedes to maneuver Antonelli as much as F2 in 2024, and skip F3 solely, the place he’ll proceed with the Prema group.

Whereas there may be little doubt that Antonelli has what it takes to finally make the soar to F1, the important thing consideration for Mercedes might be whether or not or not he might do it with the German producer as a place to begin.

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Though a lot will rely upon how shortly Antonelli can adapt to F2, Wolff doesn’t wish to begin fuelling discuss that the teen may very well be a contender to take over from Hamilton, who will be joining Ferrari for 2025.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Prema Racing

Picture by: Dutch Picture Company

Requested concerning the prospects for Antonelli, Wolff mentioned: “Kimi has been with Mercedes since he was 11. He is been within the junior programme, and his junior profession was very profitable.

“I feel most necessary at this stage is that he concentrates on F2. I feel if we begin to spin his thoughts or unleash rumours within the media on to him, that is not going to assist his F2 marketing campaign.

“He is simply stepped out of karts a number of years in the past, and he isn’t even 18. So I might somewhat not begin any hypothesis about Kimi going into F1 at this stage.”

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Wolff has made clear that Mercedes is in no rush to type out who it can decide to interchange Hamilton, particularly as a result of the obvious candidates like Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris have already dedicated elsewhere so they’re unavailable.

“It isn’t one thing I wish to be rushed to,” he mentioned. “I suppose that a number of contracts have been signed a number of weeks in the past that we might have checked out. That will have been fascinating, however the timing right here bit us a bit.”

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