Updated: Feb 28
Mercedes F1 junior driver and karting sensation Andrea ‘Kimi’ Antonelli is set to make his debut in single seaters. The 15 year old Italian will make the step up to Italian Formula 4 where he will compete in the last 3 rounds of the season with the Prema Powerteam.
Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Tanishka Vashee
Kimi, as he’s informally addressed, started karting at the age of nine and since then he’s accumulated a number of accolades most notably back to back FIA Karting European Championships in the OK class in 2020 and 2021.
The Mercedes Junior programme had already taken interest in the Italian prior to those achievements having signed him since April of 2019. Speaking on the prospect Gwen Lagrue, Driver Development Advisor for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, said:
“Kimi is a phenomenon. He’s racing for Kart Republic, Dino Chiesa’s team, who was previously taking care of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg about 20 years ago. We were really impressed with him – he’s very mature for his young age, is very patient and extremely clever. He’s fast, whatever the conditions are, and I’ve never seen him make a silly mistake. The love and passion for motorsport are obvious and he enjoys his racing, as I’ve never seen before. The way he is racing, overtaking, building his race weekend is very special and we are really looking forward to seeing him move into single-seaters.”
Kimi has previously tested F4 machinery with his father’s AKM Motorsport team but now will start his single seaters career proper with Prema where he’ll close out the 2021 season and is set to race with the Italian outfit in 2022.
“I am really happy to announce that I will join Prema in these last three races of the Italian F4 Championship,” he said.
“This is an exciting new challenge for me and I can’t wait to start. A big thanks to Prema and Mercedes for giving me this amazing opportunity.”
Team principal Angelo Rosin added: “Antonelli is one of the most outstanding prospects in karting competition. He has impressed since a very early age and achieved remarkable success there. It will be very interesting for us to see him adapt to a new form of motor racing.
“Moving up to single-seaters is never an easy task as it’s a comprehensively new experience, so we are going to assist him in the transition. We are equally looking forward to his competitive F4 debut.”