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Kimi Antonelli set to take to the track for maiden Formula One test with Mercedes

Written by Caitlyn Gordon, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Credits: Jakub Porzycki

Lewis Hamilton shocked the motorsports world back in February, when it was announced he would be leaving Mercedes after 11 years, and crossing the English Channel to join Scuderia Ferrari for 2025, leaving the most sought-after seat up for grabs.

The news subsequently started a hot debate of who could be taking the vacant cockpit, alongside George Russell. 

Many names have been thrown into the mix including Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, and Esteban Ocon. However, out of those top names, 17-year-old Kimi Antonelli has emerged a hot favourite for the seat. 

Credits: ACI Sport

The Italian only recently graduated into Formula 2, skipping out F3 entirely after dominating four different championships. He excelled in ADAC F4, Italian F4, FRMEC, and FRECA amassing a total of 31 wins during his time across these series. 

His fantastic performance, specifically his 2023 FRECA season, where he clinched the championship in Zandvoort with two races to go, secured his seat with PREMA in F2 for 2023, partnering alongside Ferrari protege Oliver Bearman.

The news regarding Hamilton caught Toto Wolff off guard, leaving him with the big decision of filling the massive void left behind by the seven-time champion. 

Just days after the confirmation, Antonelli’s name began to circulate around the paddock, even though his maiden F2 campaign hadn’t even started yet. Despite this, the junior was quickly becoming a top contender for the seat.

After three rounds of the Formula 2 season, Antonelli sits ninth in the standings with 24 points. Suffering from a difficult weekend in Bahrain, the Italian went on to secure his first front-row start in Melbourne, where he was in contention for a feature race victory. However, bad luck caused the PREMA driver to wound up fourth. 

Formula 2 now heads into a month-long break, before racing action resumes in May, for its fourth round of the season. During this break, drivers will have a test session, taking place in Barcelona from 23-25th of April. 

With the month-long window, Mercedes confirmed that Antonelli will get his first taste of a Formula One car on 16th April. This is just one of several tests the junior will be undertaking this season with Mercedes, in preparation for the next jump up the ladder. 

For his first test, Antonelli will be driving the 2021 nine-time Grand Prix winning W12 around the Red Bull Ring for the day.

As per Formula One’s regulation rules on testing, teams can modify their 2024 contender in line with the 2022 regulations. This is to give juniors a better feel of the current generation of Formula One cars, and bridge the gap between the jump from Formula 2.


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