Mercedes reject claims of Kimi Antonelli, Mick Schumacher “shootout” tests

Mercedes deny claims Andrea Kimi Antonelli has been involved in "shootout" F1 tests.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA) Mercedes AMG F1 Junior Driver. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte
Andrea Kimi Antonelli (ITA) Mercedes AMG F1 Junior Driver. Formula 1 World…

Mercedes say recent F1 tests involving Andrea Kimi Antonelli and Mick Schumacher were “incorrectly labelled” as a “shootout”.

Antonelli, George Russell and reserve Mick Schumacher recently took part in private testing for Mercedes at Silverstone, with some suggestions this would be a “shootout” to determine the team’s driver line-up for 2025.

17-year-old Formula 2 racer Antonelli is believed to be the frontrunner to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes line-up next season, with the highly-rated Italian taking part in several test outings in Mercedes F1 machinery.

A recent test at Silverstone attracted particular attention after it was dubbed as a ‘shootout', but Mercedes insist that “was neither the intention nor the findings of the running”.

“It’s important to understand that each driver completed different programmes, on different days, in different track and weather conditions,” a Mercedes team spokesperson continued.

"Unfortunately, unverified speculation has led to conclusions and comparisons being published that do not reflect what happened.”

Antonelli and Schumacher are set to get behind the wheel of Mercedes’ 2022 car - the W13 - next week at Barcelona.

“Both Mick and Kimi have done an excellent job delivering their respective programmes, to the complete satisfaction of the team, and we are looking forward to three busy days of running next week, too,” Mercedes added.

Having bypassed Formula 3 to make an immediate step up to F2 following his title-winning exploits in Formula 4, Antonelli currently occupies sixth place in the 2024 drivers’ standings. He is 32 points behind championship leader Paul Aron.

Kimi Antonelli and Toto Wolff in the Monaco F1 paddock
Kimi Antonelli and Toto Wolff in the Monaco F1 paddock

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff recently admitted he had perhaps made a mistake in hyping up Antonelli.

“We are hyping that young man for a long time now and he will be a great driver one day in Formula 1,” Wolff said at Imola.

“But he's 17. Fourteen months ago he drove an F4 car [Antonelli last raced in F4 19 months ago], and there is so much expectation in Italy. We are a little bit guilty also of talking about him at that stage.

“We should let him do his F2 thing and deliver results and not be too carried away with what could be or should be.

“Look at George [Russell] - he won F3 [when it was GP3, pictured above] and F2 in his rookie year, and at the same time Kimi has delivered in those junior series and is in F2 now and so we'll see.

“He's going to be in Formula 1 one day, but let's not rush it.”

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