From F2 to Mercedes?: The meteoric rise of Kimi Antonelli

In the wake of Lewis Hamilton’s impending move to Ferrari in 2025, the Formula 1 community is abuzz with speculation about who will fill the void at Mercedes. Surprisingly, the spotlight has turned to a 17-year-old prodigy, Kimi Antonelli, managed by none other than Mercedes’ own Toto Wolff. Named after F1 legend Kimi Raikkonen, Antonelli is emerging as a potential future star in the sport, drawing comparisons to Max Verstappen for his early accomplishments.

Despite the rumblings that a seasoned veteran like Fernando Alonso might be a safer bet for Mercedes, Antonelli’s swift ascent through the ranks has caught the attention of many. Having already secured the necessary F1 superlicense points through his performances in Formula 4 and Regional series, Antonelli is set to make a significant leap to Formula 2 this year, where he’s already favored to contend for the title.

Toto Wolff, however, is tempering expectations around the young Italian, emphasizing the importance of a cautious approach to his development. “We have to be careful with the big hype surrounding Kimi,” Wolff stated, acknowledging the challenges Antonelli will face adapting to the more powerful and heavier cars in Formula 2. Wolff’s concern is that premature media speculation and undue pressure could potentially derail Antonelli’s progress. “If we give him time and don’t expect him to conquer everything in his first season, he can become a great in this sport. But he’s only 17, that’s so young,” Wolff remarked, highlighting the need for patience in nurturing Antonelli’s talent.

Despite Wolff’s cautious stance, former F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella has voiced his support for Antonelli, urging Mercedes to take a chance on the young talent as Hamilton’s replacement. “I think Mercedes should take him,” Fisichella said, impressed by Antonelli’s speed and skill at such a young age. “He is so fast and already very good. I would like to see him there.”

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