Mercedes suggests it will quickly replace Lewis Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans

Mercedes suggests it will quickly replace Lewis Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans

Lewis Hamilton recently signed a two-year deal with Mercedes, but it appears the Silver Arrows are pushing ahead with plans for life after the Briton.

Kimi Antonelli, the potential future replacement of Lewis Hamilton, has accelerated in Formula 2.

The Italian driver only turned 17 last August but is regarded as one of the biggest rising stars in the world of single-seater motorsport. And Mercedes recognized this four years ago when they welcomed him as part of their young driver development programme.

Antonelli has won five junior titles in the last three seasons.
This year he won the Formula Middle East regional championship before repeating the trick in the European edition of the series.

This achievement earned him promotion to the official Formula 1 stage for 2024.
But above all, he will skip Formula 3 and continue racing in F2 for his familiar Prema Racing team.

“I am very happy for this opportunity,” said the teenager from Bologna.
“It will be a big jump from Regional Formula to Formula 2.
I know it will be very difficult because the level is so high. It will be a new car for me and everyone else, but it will still be difficult.

“I don’t want to get my hopes up, I’m just trying to learn as much as I can during the test to prepare for my first race and have fun as usual and do well. I started my single-seater career with Prema and I am delighted to continue working with them as they are my second family.
I love working with them.”

Antonelli will get his first taste of an F2 car later this season during an official test in Abu Dhabi after the final round of the championship.
Ferrari’s Oliver Biermann Jr., who won an F2-level race this new season, is expected to be his teammate, but this has yet to be confirmed.

This is another sign that Mercedes is planning for life after Lewis Hamilton.
The seven-time world champion recently signed a two-year contract extension, but just months shy of his 39th birthday, Hamilton is entering the twilight of his F1 career.

On who could one day replace him, team principal Toto Wolff singled out Antonelli as a key talent Mercedes are looking for.
“Antonelli is a very talented Italian driver that we have invested in. He has won everything in F4 and has shown that he is very strong and fantastic,” said the Italian.
“But we don’t want to put too much pressure on her… Andrea is only 17.
We don’t want to tire her.
We have to let it grow. We have to do everything quietly.”

 

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