F1: Mercedes confirms testing schedule amid Andrea Kimi Antonelli speculation over Lewis Hamilton’s replacement in 2025 | F1 News

Mercedes has clarified rumors that Andrea Kimi Antonelli was involved in a test shootout to decide who replaces Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 F1 season.

Sky Sports News According to his understanding, 17-year-old Antonelli is one of the main candidates to take Hamilton’s place, while Max Verstappen remains a target for Mercedes, but his contract with Red Bull expires at the end of 2028.

It is understood that Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz is not an option for Mercedes, leaving Antonelli and Verstappen as the two main candidates.

Antonelli took part in a private test of a former F1 car, known as TPC in F1, in early May at Silverstone, where George Russell and Mick Schumacher also drove the 2022 Mercedes car.

Rumors circulated online that the test was a shootout between Antonelli and Schumacher to see who would be Russell’s new teammate from 2025, but Mercedes responded.

Use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Mercedes technical director James Allison described Kimi Antonelli as a “promising young driver” after his recent F1 test.

“Our most recent TPC test at Silverstone included Mick, Kimi and George,” a Mercedes spokesperson said.

“It was incorrectly labeled as a ‘shootout,’ which was neither the intention nor the results of the race. It is important to understand that each driver completed different programs, on different days, at different tracks and weather conditions.

“Unfortunately, unverified speculation has led to conclusions and comparisons being published that do not reflect what happened.

“Both Mick and Kimi have done an excellent job delivering their respective programmes, to the complete satisfaction of the team.”

Mercedes also confirmed that Antonelli and Schumacher, who last drove in F1 in 2022 for Haas, will return to drive the 2022 car in a three-day private test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya next week.

Who is Andrea Kimi Antonelli?

  • Antonelli is from Bologna, Italy.
  • He is only 17 years old
  • Mercedes signed him for their junior program in 2019
  • Antonelli dominated in karting
  • In 2022, he won the Italian and German F4 championships in his rookie campaign.
  • In 2023, he clinched the Middle East and European Formula Regional titles.
  • Antonelli skipped F3 and competes in F2 with the Prema team, where he is a teammate of the British Oliver Beraman.

Antonelli receives Hamilton’s backing

Mercedes tested Antonelli in its 2021 and 2022 F1 cars in April but attempted to downplay its expectations for the Italian.

Antonelli is highly rated after winning multiple junior single-seater titles at the first time since moving from karts to racing cars in 2021.

At the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in May, Hamilton was asked if Sainz would be a good fit at Mercedes, but responded by saying he would prefer Antonelli.

Use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Lewis Hamilton says there are encouraging signs for Mercedes as improvements continue to come after a positive result in Monaco.

“Carlos is a great driver, so I think wherever he goes, I think he would be a positive for any team,” Hamilton said.

“Honestly, I have no idea what Toto’s plans are, but for me, taking on a younger role, if it were my role, I’d probably cast Kimi.”

Mercedes have denied reports that they requested an exemption from the FIA ​​to grant Antonelli a super license to drive in F1.

After Verstappen joined the sport when he was 17, the sport’s governing body introduced a minimum age restriction of 18 years.

Antonelli is 17 years old but will turn 18 on August 25 of this year, the same day as the Dutch Grand Prix. Due to his youthful success, he already has enough super license points to compete in F1, so only his age stops him.

Wolff spoke with Sky Sports F1 about his feelings about Hamilton racing at Imola, Italy, for the first time since his surprise move to Ferrari was announced and mentioned Antonelli.

“I think for Italians it is very exciting to have Lewis Hamilton dressed in red next year. We will get used to the suits, but we have to look at ourselves,” he said.

“Maybe there is an option for us to shine more with an Italian in our car, so we are pushing hard.”

Formula 1 leaves Europe for the last time before the summer break as the championship moves to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Watch every session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve from June 7-9 live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday’s race at 7pm Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month membership – no contract, cancel at any time

Leave a Comment