Toto Wolff Opens Up About Andrea Kimi Antonelli as an Option for a Seat in 2025

"I want to take a little bit of pressure off him - he’s 17."- Wolff said.

by Sead Dedovic
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Toto Wolff Opens Up About Andrea Kimi Antonelli as an Option for a Seat in 2025
© Bryn Lennon / Getty Images Sport

After the official confirmation that Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes and start his career at Ferrari next year, rumors immediately began circulating about his successor. Surprisingly to many, Andrea Kimi Antonelli's name has been mentioned as one of the contenders to replace the Briton. 

The fact that the young Italian is only 17 years old does not inspire optimism in many. However, experts in the sport and those who have had the chance to follow the young Italian have nothing but praise for Antonelli. 

Many believe he is a generational talent, and Mercedes can consider themselves fortunate to have him in their lineup. The 17-year-old driver will make his debut in F2 this year. 

Toto Wolff, Mercedes boss, is not pleased with the rumors surrounding the future of Mercedes and the names being mentioned. Wolff emphasized the need not to put such pressure on Antonelli, who is undoubtedly one of the biggest talents. It seems that the Mercedes boss believes it is still too early to talk about the Italian as someone who can currently compete in F1.

“We got that curveball thrown at us, with Lewis, in the beginning of February,” Wolff said, as quoted by crash.net

And I want to do the opposite when choosing the driver for next year.

It’s clear Kimi has been in our junior category since he was 11. We have had great pleasure in watching him grow as a young man, and growing through the ranks.

But I also want to take a little bit of pressure off him - he’s 17.

He’s won everything he needed to win in his rookie season, but I think he is going to be a Formula 1 driver.

He’s going to be a very, very successful driver in Formula 1 but he hasn’t started his Formula 2 campaign yet.

They had a difficult test in the first days in Bahrain. We’ll see how this develops.”


Toto Wolff emphasized that he intends to follow F2 races and personally assess Antonelli's talent. Wolff believes that there are numerous options for the next season, but they do not want to make hasty decisions at this moment. Toto is a patient person, just like the rest of the team. They are aware that potentially quick decisions could create great problems for the team. At this moment, they can be happy to have such talents within the team.

Williams team and Andrea Kimi Antonelli

James Vowles, the current team principal of Williams and former Mercedes member, initially identified the exceptional talent of Antonelli.  There is already talk about Antonelli as one of the options for the Williams team. However, it is challenging to predict how much truth there is in this at the moment. The Williams team could be a starting point for the Italian to develop in the right way, but some believe that Antonelli has the potential to start his F1 adventure with the top teams.

Vowles, when questioned about the possibility of Antonelli joining Williams next year, expressed confidence in Antonelli's future in F1. However, he emphasized that investing in youth doesn't necessarily guarantee Antonelli's placement in Williams, as decisions will be based on merit. Vowles is a person who has always followed young talents and has had a great ability to assess who could become a star in the future.

James Vowles
James Vowles© Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images Sport
 

Vowles explained that he believes in nurturing young talent and mentioned having two junior drivers in F2 and F3. He highlighted the development of a sensible program to foster the next generation of drivers. He also emphasized Toto Wolff's beneficial position at Mercedes, being one of the top teams with various options available. Mercedes is a team that many drivers dream of competing for one day. Looking at their successes in the last decade, it's not surprising why there is so much interest in this team. However, despite everything, as mentioned earlier, this team wants to analyze things in the right way and determine who is the best option for them. They do not intend to make great mistakes, considering that they are a team with a great history and ambitious plans for the future.


Vowles concluded by stressing the need to observe how things unfold, mentioning existing contracts with drivers like Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant. The focus is on assessing the situation over the next six months.  Williams is also entering this season more ambitious than ever. Their philosophy will remain the same in the coming years: to assist young talents in developing and becoming the best version of themselves. Williams is a team that truly receives a lot of praise from many.

Toto Wolff
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