F1: Mercedes CTO James Allison Calls Kimi Antonelli ‘The Real Deal’ After Recent Test Runs

Mercedes technical director James Allison praised Formula 2 driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli after the Italian teenager participated in his latest F1 test session with the team.

By Divyam Dubey | on June 3, 2024 Follow us on Autox Google News

Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli has had his first taste of Formula 1 cars this year. He drove the team's 2021 W12 at the Red Bull Ring and later tested the ground-effect W13 at Imola. Mercedes is considering Antonelli as a potential replacement for Lewis Hamilton in 2025. Supported by Mercedes since 2019, Antonelli has been showcasing his talents through a specialised familiarisation program. This program began with driving the 2021-spec car in Austria and continued with participation in the 2022 Mercedes race at Imola before the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. During a recent interview at the Imola Grand Prix, Mercedes' Technical Director praised Antonelli's performance. The team is actively searching for a new driver to replace their seven-time world champion and has shown significant interest in the highly skilled and promising Antonelli.

Allison said: 'He’s certainly impressed everyone with the sessions he’s run so far. He’d never been in an F1 car, but he looked like he had within a lap or two.

'It’s a cliché, but he’s fast, he’s consistent, didn’t make any mistakes. Young people can be trying to impress so much that they will spin-off, or the opposite, they’re so terrified of spinning off that they don’t really show what they can do.

F1 Mercedes Kimi Antonelli

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'Kimi seemed to just naturally slip into the right groove on that, giving decent input about how the car felt, while not really putting a foot wrong, so he looks like the real deal.'

It is uncertain if Antonelli will be chosen, but Mercedes driver George Russell expressed his willingness to team up with anyone and spoke positively about Mercedes' young talent.

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Many thought Fernando Alonso would join Mercedes in 2025 to replace Lewis Hamilton. Instead, he signed a new contract with Aston Martin, keeping him there until 2026.

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Toto Wolff has several options for the Mercedes seat. Two names from previous interviews are Frederik Vesti and Mick Schumacher. Esteban Ocon, a member of the Mercedes Academy, is also a strong contender.

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Carlos Sainz is a promising candidate, though his interest in joining Mercedes is unclear. Meanwhile, Kimi Antonelli, currently racing in Formula 2, will need to make a significant impression to compete with these well-known drivers for Wolff's attention.

Tags: F1 Mercedes

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