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Wolff Antonelli Favored if Verstappen Passes

Wolff: Antonelli Favored if Verstappen Passes

12/04/2024

Toto Wolff would favor Andrea Kimi Antonelli for Mercedes F1 if Max Verstappen does not join the team, positioning the young driver as a potential successor to Lewis Hamilton.

If Toto Wolff fails to secure Max Verstappen, he has suggested that Mercedes F1 protégé Andrea Kimi Antonelli is in “the strongest position” to succeed Lewis Hamilton at the Brackley team in 2025.

Wolff has previously mentioned the young Italian’s candidacy for the Mercedes seat but reiterated that a final decision will likely depend on his performance this season in the Formula 2 Championship.

In one of the most dynamic driver markets Formula 1 has seen in ages, there is no shortage of high-level candidates potentially interested in joining Mercedes next season, with Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Esteban Ocon, and Antonelli all named as main contenders.

But according to Wolff, the 17-year-old Italian driver has an edge.

“He’s definitely a very serious contender for the seat,” Wolff stated.

“I want to see how his F2 season unfolds, and we’ll wait to see what happens with some of the other F1 drivers. You know my priority (Verstappen) but we have time otherwise. I have no doubt about his raw speed, talent, and capabilities.”

“We wouldn’t have supported him from karting up to now if we didn’t believe he had the potential to enter F1 and do it with Mercedes.”

“Many young drivers have shown in the past that it’s possible to make this step.”

Wolff clearly repeated that Mercedes would not rush their decision.

“My feeling at the moment is that I don’t want to rush the decision, because Kimi is among the ideas in our plans for next year. Of course, everything depends on what’s going to happen at Red Bull, but Kimi is in the strongest position, and that’s why we don’t need to rush any other decision.”

“Obviously, some of the other high-level drivers will soon make a decision about what they need to do, but there’s a feeling inside me that tells me not to make the decision too quickly.”

It should be noted that these statements made this week are in complete contrast to the latest rumors from Corriere dello Sport, which suggested that Carlos Sainz might eventually join Mercedes F1 on a one-year contract with an option for another.

Wolff Antonelli Next if Verstappen Deal Fails

Wolff: Antonelli Favored if Verstappen Passes. Wolff: Antonelli Favored if Verstappen Passes

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