Mercedes reveal insight into ‘metronomic’ Kimi Antonelli’s F1 tests

James Allison says Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli looked "very promising" in his first F1 tests.

Kimi Antonelli during his maiden F1 test in Austria
Kimi Antonelli during his maiden F1 test in Austria

Andrea Kimi Antonelli looks like “a very promising” driver after showing “metronomic” pace in his F1 tests, according to Mercedes technical director James Allison.

Mercedes protege Antonelli has been tipped as a future F1 driver and is widely believed to be the team’s first-choice to replace the Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton in 2025, despite only being 17 and competing in his first Formula 2 season this year.

The highly-rated Italian has already completed a series of F1 tests with Mercedes, driving their 2021 and 2022 cars at the Red Bull Ring in Austria and Imola in Italy at the end of April.

Mercedes have now shared some insight into how Antonelli fared, with Allison revealing the team were impressed by how quickly he got up to speed in F1 machinery.

“I have had the great pleasure of listening to the other engineers describe the interaction with him,” Allison said at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

“Just a young and enthusiastic driver, very, very fast. Metronomic in his pace, has not been in an F1 car until recently but made it look like he’d been in one for ages within a lap or two.

“Came at this generation of cars, the ground effect cars, with an open mind… He feels all the same things that you’d expect him to feel, but he’s not polluted by the previous cars.

“So he just takes them as they are and tells us what he’s feeling, it’s weaknesses and strengths, and let’s the engineers work to try and improve those things. He looks like a very promising young driver.”

Antonelli has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the single-seater ladder since making his car racing debut in 2021.

After winning last year’s Formula Regional European Championship, he was fast-tracked into F2 with Prema, bypassing Formula 3 - the traditional next stepping stone.

Mercedes are yet to make a decision on who will replace the outgoing Hamilton and become George Russell’s next teammate.

Carlos Sainz - who has been left without a drive due to Hamilton’s move - is a more experienced option, but Sauber/Audi is seen as a likelier destination for the Spaniard. 

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