Mercedes, Kimi Antonelli
Credit: Mercedes-Benz AG

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has extra work on his desk this F1 season courtesy of Lewis Hamilton’s abrupt move to Ferrari for the 2025 season. As Wolff was informed at the last minute, he was left with a limited window to recruit a second driver for the impending vacant seat.

That being said, Mercedes has a few experienced drivers on the potential list, including Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. However, Toto Wolff is also inclined towards the prospect of signing a 17-year-old Italian protege who just debuted in F2 this year. But what makes the teenager a strong candidate to replace seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton at Brackley?


Toto Wolff Reveals Why Kimi Antonelli Could Fit Into Mercedes’ Rebuilding Phase!

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Lewis Hamilton

Eight-time constructors champions, the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team managed to attain only a single win in the past two years. To further add to the misery, the team’s most trusted and successful driver, Lewis Hamilton, left the Silver Arrows in a lurch to live his childhood dream at Ferrari. Despite the drivers market being fiercely active, team principal Toto Wolff is struggling with options. Apparently, Wolff is facing a conundrum as to whether to go for a rookie driver with long-term potential or an established driver with a proven track record. The rookie option in question is a 17-year-old protege Kimi Antonelli. After raking F3 for a couple of seasons, the Italian teenager debuted in F2 this year. He is widely known as the next Max Verstappen in the making, owing to his fearless driving skills.

Meanwhile, for Mercedes, Kimi Antonelli makes sense since, as a rookie, he won’t be under pressure to compete for wins straight away, with the team struggling with current ground effects regulations. When Toto Wolff was quizzed about the same, he said it’s one of many perspectives the team’s taking into consideration this year. He admitted that Silver Arrows are in the rebuilding phase after having witnessed an unprecedented downfall after a decade-long dominance. Therefore, putting in a young driver in the second seat with less pressure to fight for victories immediately could help. But on the flip side, Wolff is also inclined towards adding an experienced driver who could potentially dig themselves out of the current dire state. Overall, Wolff confirmed that he is in no rush to sign a driver for the second seat and would sort all available options in due time.

Kimi Antonelli To Drive An F1 Car For The First Time This Week!

Mercedes, Kimi Antonelli
Source: Susie Wolff via Mercedes F1 Team’s Twitter

As a part of the Testing of Previous Cars program, Kimi Antonelli is scheduled to drive W12 at the Red Bull Ring later this week. Notably, Antonelli would be getting his first taste of F1 cars, and Toto Wolff is keeping an eye on this. “I’m really keen and happy to see him in a Formula 1 car,” said Wolff.

Toto Wolff revealed how Kimi Antonelli’s life would come full circle at Mercedes. He first met the promising racer at a karting session ages ago. And to now see him driving an F1 car is nothing but a proud moment for the Mercedes boss. “To witness that development into a Formula 1 driver is something that I’m really proud of,” added Wolff.

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