17-year-old Kimi Antonelli set for first F1 outing amidst rumors of replacing Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

Kimi Antonelli will be driving the Mercedes W12 from the 2021 F1 season this month.


17-year-old Kimi Antonelli set for first F1 outing amidst rumors of replacing Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

Andrea Kimi Antonelli (L), Lewis Hamilton (R) (images via IMAGO).

Lewis Hamilton‘s move to Ferrari has left a seat vacant at Mercedes for 2025. Team principal Toto Wolff has a plethora of driver options to choose from. 17-year-old Kimi Antonelli remains a prominent candidate in a pool of drivers interested in joining the Silver Arrows. Now, The Mercedes prodigy will have his first outing in F1 machinery.

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As per reports, Mercedes is planning an outing for Kimi Antonelli at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. The Brackley-based has planned a two-day test for the 17-year-old from 16th April. The prodigy will drive Mercedes’ 2021 challenger W12 during the testing session. Antonelli’s F2 campaign will be unaffected as the next championship race will be in May at Imola.

Kimi Antonelli is currently competing for Prema Racing in the Formula 2 championship. Antonelli was previously rumored to be Mercedes’ first choice of replacement. Toto Wolff previously opened up about how it was difficult to look for a driver to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton. However, apart from the experienced drivers, 17-year-old young Antonelli is one of the better options for the long-term.

Toto Wolff claims Mercedes has ‘really interesting’ driver options for Mercedes

Toto Wolff had recently shared a timeline under which he would finalize a driver to replace the seven-time world champion. Hence, amidst the ongoing search, the Mercedes team boss asserted that there were ‘really interesting’ driver options. Wolff also hinted towards Antonelli while talking about ‘super young talent’ available in the market.

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There are a few options that are really interesting for us – from the very young super talent to someone of the other ones, who are very experienced.
Toto Wolff told Fox Sports Australia.
Toto Wolff (Credits: Imago)
Toto Wolff (Credits: Imago)

The Silver Arrows will consider all options in the coming months before making a call in a busy driver market. The Mercedes team boss reemphasized that Max Verstappen‘s future would also play a role in his decision. Wolff has mentioned that the Brackley-based team was willing to sign Verstappen in the future.

That’s not going to happen in the next few weeks or months. I want to continue to monitor the market. It depends on what Max does.
Toto Wolff noted.

Hence, Antonelli’s prospects in Formula 1 look promising as the team is ready to provide him with an opportunity. Time will tell about how the F1 test pan out for the Italian driver. Mercedes would certainly look at Kimi Antonelli’s lap times before making a call on its driver line-up for next season.

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