Akshita Patel

REPORTS: Lewis Hamilton Alleged Replacement To Get His Hands On F1 Car In Mercedes Test Program!

Mercedes remains without a second driver for the 2025 F1 season after Lewis Hamilton jumped ships in the historic driver transfer of the century. The most successful driver of this generation opted out of his two-year extension contract to embrace a new challenge with the iconic red team.

While Lewis Hamilton gears up to relive his childhood dream, Mercedes found themselves with limited time to hunt for a potent second driver. Moreover, with options scaling down on the drivers market, Toto Wolff is planning to train a 17-year-old kid in a Formula One car this month.


Kimi Antonelli Set To Test W12 In Mercedes TPC Program!

Andrea Kimi Antonelli F2
Andrea Kimi Antonelli F2 Source: FIA Formula 2

At just 17 years old, Italian teenager Kimi Antonelli has already established himself as one of the most promising young drivers on the racing circuit. Highly touted as the next Max Verstappen in the making, Kimi remains part of Mercedes’ junior program. After dominating F3, the teenager made his debut in F2 earlier this year and barely missed out on a podium finish in Melbourne. That being said, with the F2 calendar on a break until May, Antonelli has some spare time to test an F1 car for the first time in his career. As per reports, Kimi Antonelli is expected to drive Silver Arrows 2021 challenger W12 as a Testing of Previous Cars program. Kimi could get behind the wheels of an F1 car at Red Bull Ring sometime around mid-April.

Notably, the testing program marks a significant moment in Kimi Antonelli’s professional racing career. Ever since Lewis Hamilton vacated his seat at Mercedes, the Italian teenager has been touted as a front-runner replacement candidate. Even team principal Toto Wolff admitted to keeping tabs on Kimi’s progress. However, Wolff does not want to burden a 17-year-old with the pressure of expectations. He wants Antonelli to carve out his own path and grow at his own pace. The kid won’t be eligible to debut until he turns 18 in August later this year. Moreover, with a bare minimum of F2 experience, the German outfit has reservations about putting the teenager in Hamilton’s shoes. Overall, the upcoming Testing program will be a testing phase for Kimi Antonelli as he navigates his way up the ladder.

Toto Wolff Shortlist Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz As Preferred Second Seat Candidates

Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari Max Verstappen Red Bull
Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari Max Verstappen Red Bull Source: FirstSportz

Besides Kimi Antonelli, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is scouting the paddock to find a like-for-like replacement. He confirmed having eyes on Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and Red Bull champion Max Verstappen. While Sainz is a free agent next year, Verstappen is signed until 2028. However, given the political crisis in Red Bull, Verstappen’s stance is subject to change.

All things said and done, Toto Wolff expects to reach a conclusion by summer this year. Mercedes has had a lot of stake since Lewis Hamilton’s departure announcement. Toto Wolff has to pacify sponsors, stakeholders, and company leadership to reinstil trust as to why the Silver Arrows still have it to compete and win a championship without the seven-time world champion presence.

Follow Sports News International for more news and updates about Mercedes and your favorite F1 team