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Antonelli's Mixed F1 Debut in Austria with Mercedes

Antonelli’s Mixed F1 Debut in Austria with Mercedes

18/04/2024

Andrea Kimi Antonelli faced snow but ended successfully in his initial F1 test in Austria with Mercedes.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team director, named 17-year-old Antonelli as a potential replacement for Lewis Hamilton, who is moving to Ferrari next season.

Antonelli has been affiliated with the Mercedes Junior Team since 2018 and moved from the Formula Regional European Championship to Formula 2 for this season.

Earlier this month in Suzuka, Wolff confirmed that Antonelli would take the wheel of an F1 car for the first time at the Red Bull Ring, home of the Austrian Grand Prix. He was supposed to test an F1 car in Imola two weeks ago, but logistical issues caused the planned session to be canceled.

While current testing rules allow teams to run 2022 F1 cars – the first designed to comply with the current ground effect regulations – Antonelli drove the W12, the 2021 Constructors’ World Champion.

The test was carried out as part of the Heritage program, which maintains and operates older cars for use in marketing-related activities.

Mercedes had rented the Red Bull Ring for two days, but the first was disrupted by unexpected snowfall, forcing the team to suspend its planned schedule.

“Hello guys, first day done in an F1 car. It was an amazing experience. I loved every second,” Antonelli said in a video posted by Mercedes on its social media last night.

“And yes, the first day did not go as planned. Unfortunately, we had some snow, so we couldn’t really drive. But yes, the second day was dry and we managed quite a few laps in the end.”

“And yes, it was really a lot of fun. I want to thank the whole team for all the hard work and I’m excited for what’s next.”

In the statement released by the team, he added:

“It was an amazing experience, it was really great to feel the power and the downforce. I loved every second. It was really a lot of fun and I want to thank the whole team for all their hard work.”

“We did some simulation work and addressed some important things before the day. It was really helpful because once on the track, I knew what the team wanted over the radio.”

After covering about 500 km in the hills of Styria, he now focuses on Formula 2, where he is currently ninth in the standings after the first three rounds.

“I learned a lot over these two days, things that will be very useful when I return to F2. But I have to keep working and keep improving as well.”

Antonelli's Mixed F1 Debut in Austria with Mercedes
Antonelli's Mixed F1 Debut in Austria with Mercedes

Antonelli’s Mixed F1 Debut in Austria with Mercedes. Antonelli’s Mixed F1 Debut in Austria with Mercedes

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