The Wolff-Antonelli connection: Mercedes’ next championship combo?

Despite being too young at 17 to even test drive a Formula 1 car, Kimi Antonelli is already being touted as the frontrunner to step into Lewis Hamilton’s shoes at Mercedes in the coming year. His rise through the ranks of junior motorsport has captured attention, much like Max Verstappen’s ascent, but it’s his close ties with mentor Toto Wolff, and by extension Wolff’s connection to Antonelli’s father Marco, that solidify his prospects.

During a notable visit to Imola, where Netflix cameras were rolling, Wolff took to the track in a Mercedes AMG GT3, courtesy of Marco’s Antonelli Motorsport team, even donning the team’s apparel. Although the outing involved a minor mishap with a wall, Wolff maintained his spirits, telling Osterreich newspaper, “I’m fine.”

With speculation rampant about who will succeed Hamilton, including Max Verstappen as a potential candidate, Wolff was quizzed on his ambitions in motorsport, particularly in relation to amateur rallying, a nod to Jos Verstappen’s pursuits. Wolff humorously remarked, “Jos was one level above me. I could rally against him now, but I don’t have the time. Apart from that, my driving skills are not ideal! I had a problem with the traction control and crashed into the wall after two laps.”

However, Wolff’s primary focus in Imola was clearly on fostering his relationship with the Antonellis, particularly Kimi, whom he affectionately refers to by his nickname, a practice dating back to their school days. “At school they called him Kimi,” Wolff shared, adding, “That’s why I call him Kimi too. Unless I’m not happy with him, then he’s Andrea again, that’s what we agreed on,” he said, sharing a laugh.

The speculation now turns to whether ‘Kimi’ Antonelli will join forces with George Russell as part of Mercedes in 2025, to which Wolff cryptically responded, “We are keeping all options open.”

GMM

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