Dark
Light
Dark
Light
Antonelli Mercedes F1 Successor

Antonelli Eyed as Hamilton’s Mercedes Successor for 2025

22/02/2024

Speculation mounts as Andrea Kimi Antonelli is considered for Lewis Hamilton’s coveted Mercedes seat in 2025, marking a bold leap from FRECA to F2.

What if Andrea Kimi Antonelli was named Lewis Hamilton’s replacement at Mercedes in 2025?

The hypothesis is still very distant… but the Italian, FRECA champion, who will make the big leap to F2 this year (skipping F3), is seen by many as the new prodigy of the sport.

Mercedes holds the Prema driver in high esteem – as evidenced by his direct move to F2.

But to already make him the successor of the most victorious driver in F1 history, isn’t that more harmful than beneficial?

Toto Wolff is aware that he must manage expectations around his 17-year-old driver. So, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the Mercedes director said in the Bahrain paddock. First F2, and then maybe F1…

“We were faced with a bad surprise, with Lewis at the beginning of February (unexpected announcement of his move to Ferrari).”

“And I want it to be the opposite when I choose the driver for next year: I want to anticipate, not be surprised.”

“It’s clear that Kimi has been part of our junior program since he was 11 years old and we’ve had a lot of pleasure watching him grow as a young man, climbing the ranks of junior formulas.”

“I also aim to alleviate some of the pressure on him. At 17, he has clinched every possible victory in his debut season and is on track to join Formula 1. His potential suggests he will not just be any driver; he’s poised to be exceptionally competitive. However, his Formula 2 journey is just beginning.”

“He had some difficult trials the first few days in Bahrain and we will see how it evolves.”

So, is Toto Wolff waiting to see how Antonelli performs in F2 before making his decision for 2025? When will we know the successor of Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes?

“I want to wait for the first F2 races that will take place with Formula 1. There are a lot of very good Formula 1 drivers available for next year and all this will come into the equation when deciding on drivers for next year, but it’s not close to happening.”

Vowles closes the door on Antonelli’s arrival at Williams

Another solution would be to train Antonelli at Williams, in 2025… As Mercedes did in the past with George Russell.

But James Vowles, the boss at Grove, doesn’t seem so enthusiastic. Not least because Williams already has two other junior drivers in its program, with Zak O’Sullivan and Franco Colapinto, who will also be competing against Antonelli in F2 this year.

“From my point of view, I have no doubt that Kimi will be in F1,” James Vowles emphasized.

“He did incredibly well in FRECA. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be at Williams. I believe in investing in youth. But I will select drivers who are part of our organization, on merit. I’m fortunate to have two juniors in F2 and one in F3 myself. In fact, I also have one in FRECA, and another who will join F4 before the end of the year.”

“So we are starting to put in place a reasonable program to develop the next generation of drivers. In Toto’s case, he’s in the position one hopes for. He’s one of the best teams on the grid, if not the best, with a range of options at his disposal.”

“From my point of view, it’s about seeing what will happen in the future. Alex [Albon] is under contract for next year and Logan [Sargeant] is also under contract with us, as well as other junior drivers; so it’s just about seeing how things unfold over the next six months.”

Nevertheless, Vowles certainly holds the Mercedes Italian prodigy in high regard…

“When we talk about an 11-year-old junior driver, we don’t know at all if he’s going to be incredible, or maybe good, great, or average.”

“But with him, we could see very early on in F4 that he was developing exceptionally well. So much so that we wondered what could possibly explain it…”

Antonelli Mercedes F1 Successor. Antonelli Mercedes F1 Successor. 2025 Antonelli Mercedes F1 Successor

Newsletter

Go toTop