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Mercedes don't want to risk losing Antonelli for 2025

Mercedes struck by fear of missing out: 'He is the next Verstappen'

19 June at 10:00
Last update 19 June at 10:00
  • Sophia Crothall

The second seat at Mercedes still remains empty for 2025. Although it seems clear that the team's aim is to bring in F2 driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli into the seat, the question remains whether or not he is ready for the move into F1

Toto Wolff has made it clear that Mercedes will be heading in a 'new direction' for 2025, and has spoken openly about not wanting to lose out on the generational talent, like they did with Max Verstappen. On the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Bernie Collins also suggested that this is the reason why Wolff is keen to get Antonelli in the seat so quickly. "There's the impression potentially that there's a fear of missing out on the next Verstappen. They want to put their backing into someone young and then bring them through the programme and then potentially, in a few years time, that is the next Verstappen." 

"There's that sort of fear around missing out on getting Kimi into that seat and that's potentially why there'd be this push to maybe put him in the seat a little before, potentially he's ready," she added. 

Is Antonelli ready for the Mercedes seat?

This season is Antonelli's first in F2, after making the step from Formula 4. This has led to some questioning over whether he is ready to make the move into Formula One. "Can he go to Williams for the second half of the year? Then get into the Mercedes seat," Collins suggested. "We've seen it happen in the past. It happened with George [Russell]. He did a few years at Williams, then he moved to Mercedes. Was that as successful as just putting him straight in the Mercedes? We don't know."

Nevertheless, recent comments from Williams' team principal, James Vowles, suggest that there is no space for Antonelli in the team. Vowles has made it clear that their number one priority for 2025 is Carlos Sainz"We're expecting there to be no room at the inn at Williams. We're expecting them to confirm Alex Albon's partner will be Carlos Sainz shortly," Collins concluded. Changes have been made to the FIA super license rules, which means special dispensation could be granted for the 17-year-old. This opens the potential for Antonelli to debut before August.