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FIA F2 Monza

Wolff: Mercedes will wait until after FRECA to decide Antonelli F2 move

Toto Wolff has said Mercedes will wait until the Formula Regional European Championship has finished before making a decision about protégé Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s surprise potential move to Formula 2.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Prema Racing

Discussions are ongoing surrounding the Italian 17-year-old’s future, including the suggestion that he might progress directly to Formula 2, bypassing F3.

He is currently leading the FRECA standings with four rounds remaining, driving for Prema.

Though the move is currently being considered, a decision is yet to be made, and Wolff warned of the perils of creating “too much hype” around young drivers.

Speaking on Saturday at Monza, he said: “I think we will all hope that Andrea can make a great career.

“But there is always the risk that if you create too much hype around a young driver, that he's not left in peace to do anything.

“He is in FRECA, he dominated F4 last year in a solid way. He's won those championships and won in go karting, and he is leading the championship in FRECA.

“We see how FRECA goes, then will take a decision what to do, together with his father and Kimi, what are we doing next year? And in which directions to go?

“But I'm happy that there is an Italian in the starting blocks for a great career.”

Having joined the Mercedes junior programme in 2018 while still in karting, Antonelli won both the ADAC and Italian F4 championships in 2022, taking 13 wins in 20 races in the latter.

This year, he has already been crowned Formula Regional Middle East champion, and is six points clear at the top of the FRECA standings.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Prema Racing

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Prema Racing

Photo by: Formula Regional Middle East Championship

Given his huge success in F4, some wondered why Antonelli had not been promoted straight to F3, as was the case with fellow ADAC and Italian F4 champion and Prema peer Ollie Bearman, rather than moving to FRECA.

But speaking earlier in the year, Prema boss Rene Rosin told Autosport: “It can be an opportunity as Ollie Bearman has done, but Kimi is still 16.

“He will not be ready for Formula 1 in two years, so better to do everything step by step, doing the proper stuff, doing the proper ladder, having the chance of testing, because once you arrive in Formula 3 and Formula 2 you cannot test anymore.

“Use the FRECA to do a good amount of mileage, to learn two quali per event, two races per event, and prepare yourself for the future.

“You arrive in Formula 3, you do well, you go to Formula 2 and you are good, and then you don’t have the age to go to Formula 1 or you don’t have the experience to go to Formula 1.

“Just do what is needed to grow up mentally, physically.”

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