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Mercedes board approves Antonelli for 2025 F1 debut

Mercedes board approves Antonelli for 2025 F1 debut
© Reuters
Starting next year, Kimi Antonelli will officially take over from the departing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, as reported by Italy's Il Corriere dello Sport.

Starting next year, Kimi Antonelli will officially take over from the departing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, as reported by Italy's Il Corriere dello Sport.

During the recent Monaco GP, there was widespread speculation that Carlos Sainz, soon to exit Ferrari, was informed he wouldn't be joining George Russell at Mercedes the following year.

In early May, Mercedes held a private test at Silverstone. Seventeen-year-old Antonelli, whose actual first name is Andrea, was tested alongside Mick Schumacher and Russell.

"The three drivers drove a 2022 Mercedes and took turns following an identical program," detailed Corriere dello Sport. "Antonelli was as fast as Russell with a qualifying setup, and slightly better than him on race pace."

Following these impressive results, the required 15 Mercedes board members voted in favor of Antonelli's debut in Formula 1 with the Brackley-based team in 2025. Before this decisive test, only three board members were in favor of Antonelli's candidacy, as noted by Corriere dello Sport.

Russell, aged 26, expressed his openness to partnering with Antonelli in 2025—or with any other driver.

"I think Kimi is a fantastic driver," Russell remarked. "He's no doubt going to be a Formula 1 driver in the future and he's a fellow (Mercedes) junior driver as well, coming through the ranks, as I did. So I think it makes for a great opportunity for Mercedes building into the protected," he continued. "But I'd welcome anybody as my teammate. I feel like I've got a pretty good teammate right now as it is," he added with a smile.

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