Kimi Antonelli doesn’t have a driver’s licence, but has Toto Wolff’s backing

“The best ones will be able to cope with the amount of scrutiny and pressure"

Kimi Antonelli
Kimi Antonelli

Toto Wolff has continued to talk up Andrea Kimi Antonelli - even though he doesn’t yet have a driver’s licence.

Teenager Antonelli is a key contender to be Lewis Hamilton’s successor for Mercedes.

He might not yet be able to legally drive a car on the road, but he has unwavering support from Mercedes boss Wolff.

“What I like in terms of his attitude, generally with his family who have always been close to him, is the objective assessment of the situation, which is good or not good enough,” Wolff said at Silverstone, where are in the paddock.

“And I don’t think the pressure harms him or how he performs in the car and drives, because he has a good benchmark with Ollie Bearman.

“They are very close and had a good race in Austria. Kimi, on the Sunday, had a clutch release issue.”

Bearman, the 19-year-old Brit, has been confirmed as a full-time driver for Haas next season.

Bearman has already impressed hugely in his first F1 grand prix, deputising for the unwell Carlos Sainz in a Ferrari in Saudi Arabia this year, where he finished ahead of Hamilton and Lando Norris in P7.

There is high hope that Antonelli could be similarly impressive.

“So you have got to swim, that’s clear,” Wolff said.

“He has had a rapid career progression, he’s 17 and does not even have a driver’s licence for a road car. 

“The best ones will be able to cope with the amount of scrutiny and pressure, and that is only going to get bigger.”

Mercedes have intentionally delayed their decision about who will replace Hamilton, who is set for Ferrari, in 2025.

But Wolff has reopened the door to Sainz who has not yet decided his next move.

Considering Sainz will give Wolff the flexibility to allow Antonelli to continue his development away from the F1 spotlight.

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