F1 teams urged to pick F2 talent, so will Mercedes go for Kimi Antonelli in ‘25?

Will Oliver Bearman's Ferrari success convince Mercedes to pick Kimi Antonelli in 2025?

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

F1 teams have been told to place their faith in young drivers for full-time race seats, as Andrea Kimi Antonelli waits in the wings for the Mercedes spot.

Antonelli, aged 17, is on the list to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2025 but is currently two races into his rookie campaign in Formula 2.

But the success of Oliver Bearman with Ferrari at the F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and Liam Lawson’s impressive stint last year, has demonstrated the quality of young drivers who dream of an F1 seat.

Bearman, 18, replaced the unwell Carlos Sainz and secured a points finish in Saudi Arabia which drew praise from Hamilton.

“There’s a lot going on in the driver market,” Bernie Collins said on Sky Sports.

“Maybe, after that drive, [Bearman] hoping for something better, something faster [than Haas].

“We’ve seen these drivers come through from F2 and they are fit to perform. They’re on it. It says a lot about that series, that they’re just fit to produce the goods.”

Last year, Lawson impressed for AlphaTauri replacing the injured Daniel Ricciardo but was overlooked for a permanent seat this season.

Collins said: “When we see Liam Lawson, we’d say that he should’ve been in a seat this year. We would have put money on that.

“So we love to see this young talent come through. It goes to the question of the 11th team, doesn’t it?”

On Bearman’s hopes, she added: “But let’s hope so. Such a great talent.”

Naomi Schiff said: “The unfortunate thing with Formula 1 is that there are only 20 seats. “There are some guys on the grid who have been blocking seats for multiple decades! That’s not to say that they don’t deserve to be here - of course they do. It would just be good to see more opportunities for young drivers to get in.

“With 13 drivers out of contract at the end of the season, a lot of people will be scratching their heads because there have been a couple of drivers come in - Lawson, Bearman - who prove that this young talent is to be noted.

“Even on the grid today, there are so many young drivers who prove that, even against heavyweights, they carry their weight. They do a good job.”

A frenzy of a silly season is expected before 2025, when Hamilton will go to Ferrari leaving a vacancy at Mercedes.

Antonelli, their junior driver, has been spoken about by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff as a possible contender to replace Hamilton despite his inexperience.

But Collins wants to see more F1 teams place their faith in youth.

“From a team management point of view, next year is the year to do it,” she advised.

“Because in 2026 we’ve got the new engine regs. You want to get the driver in the car, get them settled, to give good feedback, ready for the new engine.”

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