Mercedes, Toto Wolff, Kimi Antonelli

Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli has been making waves since his karting days and has been widely referred to as the next Max Verstappen in the making. The 17-year-old teenage protege made his F2 debut for Prema this year and has been decent so far.

However, with Lewis Hamilton vacating his seat at Mercedes in 2025, Kimi Antonelli was floated as a potential replacement candidate. Those rumors gained momentum as the Silver Arrows reportedly went to FIA to seek a rule exemption that could fast-track Kimi’s F1 debut. But team principal Toto Wolff was quick to dismiss the speculations.


Toto Wolff Dimisses Kimi Antonelli’s Williams Move In Imola!

Toto Wolff Mercedes PA 1
XPB/Press Association Images.

F1 rumors market was rife last week as Mercedes reportedly sent an official request to FIA to relax the age barrier for F1’s super license so that a 17-year-old junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli could fast-track his F1 debut with Williams by as early as Imola GP this year. However, Silver Arrows team principal Toto Wolff dismissed the rumors while talking to at Miami GP. Wolff said the alleged plea for rule exemption did not come from his team. And they do not plan to fast-track Kimi into F1 just yet. While the Brackley-based team has a lot of faith in Antonelli and his talent, Wolff wants the kid to follow the due diligence and naturally make his way upward through F2.

Toto Wolff further confirmed that Mercedes will no put Kimi Antonelli in Lewis Hamilton’s seat in 2025 as he fears a burnout of the teenager with heavy expectations and extra spotlight. “This is not something that Mercedes wants. These rumors have gotten their own spin,” said Wolff. Not only that, the team principal stated that factually incorrect rumors are causing distraction from other issues within the team. Their priority right now is to fix the car, W15, and turn it into a competition-worthy machinery. And as far as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement is concerned, Wolff confirmed that a decision is unlikely until a couple of months from now. “Everything else we see panning out on the driver market, it’s not going to happen in the next few weeks or a couple of months,” Wolff future added.

Kimi Antonelli Tests W12 At Red Bull Ring Ahead Of Rumored Mercedes Promotion

Mercedes, Kimi Antonelli
Credit: Mercedes-Benz AG

While Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff bluntly denied Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s imminent F1 debut, the 17-year-old’s recent test at Red Bull Ring sent contradictory signs. Kimi tested team’s W12 car at Red Bull Ring earlier this month which also happened to be his first time driving an F1 car. Moreover, Antonelli’s test went well and he apparently left the team impressed.

However, Toto Wolff continues to remain non-committal to out going Lewis Hamilton’s replacement at Mercedes just yet. He is sorting out his options as of this writing with Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz being very much on his radar. But due to several complexities, a deal is getting delayed. And hence, Wolff will be unable to lock a deal before the summer break.

Stay tuned to Sports News International for more such updates about your favorite F1 team.