Toto Wolff confirms Kimi Antonelli test: “Is he ready for 2025? Or 2026…”

Kimi Antonelli to test 2022 Mercedes F1 car in a "big test programme" to assess his readiness to replace Lewis Hamilton

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day One.-
Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director…

Andrea Kimi Antonelli will be put through his paces in a private test of a Mercedes F1 car to assess his potential to replace Lewis Hamilton.

The teenage Antonelli is among the key names linked with inheriting Hamilton’s Mercedes seat next year, when the seven-time F1 champion departs for Ferrari.

Antonelli is only 17 years old but is tipped as a “wonderkid” by Toto Wolff who has organised some private running in a 2022 car for him.

Antonelli will "run a big test programme” this year, Wolff is quoted by Autosport.

Wolff said: “Then we'll see, is he ready for 2025? Or for 2026, will there be a different situation?"

Should Mercedes opt to hold Antonelli back until 2026, they would need to find a driver to replace Hamilton for just one year.

Fernando Alonso is among the high-profile options who would be available on a market which Wolff described as “incredibly interesting”.

“Really strong people will be available for 2025", Wolff said.

The Mercedes boss insisted he will assess his options to replace Hamilton "over the next two or three races".

Wolff said: “Do we want to rely on experience and perhaps try something new?

“Or do we want to focus on youth and take the risk that we have a rookie and then have to look at this from a medium- to long-term performance perspective?"

Antonelli will race in his rookie season in Formula 2 this year.

"In a way, he's a wonderkid,” Wolff said about him.

“He won everything there was to win in karting and then moved into F4.

“He won all the championships in his rookie year, then moved up a level and won everything there too.

"Now we've decided to skip F3, partly because there's not much time to test there.

“Instead, he'll go straight into F2, which is a huge leap for him. These are really big cars with power.

“Most of the races are part of the F1-supporting programme, so we'll have a good overview there too."

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