In the Mercedes Junior Program there are many talented drivers. The most popular of them is Andrea Kimi Antonelli, ready to race in F2
In the feeder series of Motorsport, there are many young drivers with great talent. However, only a select few gets to Formula 1. One of the most popular junior drivers currently is 17-year-old Andrea Kimi Antonelli, one of the top stars of the Mercedes Junior Program. Junior series experts expect a lot from this young Italian prodigy.
Certainly Italian motorsport fans are hopeful. 70 years have passed since an Italian driver won the world title in Formula 1. On August 23rd, 1953, Alberto Ascari won his second Formula 1 World Championship. Making matters worse on the current F1 grid, there is not even an Italian driver. Based on his career so far, you can see why many have high hopes for Antonelli
Formula 4 and The Mercedes Junior Program
Despite his young age, Kimi has collected a series of notable successes since his kart career. He debuted, only 15 years, in the Formula 4 Italian championship with Prema for only 9 of the 21 races. Nevertheless, he closed in 10th place in the Championship.
Antonelli showed up immediately to be a fast driver, and the confirmation came after the victory of the F4 Italian championship in 2022, when he took part in all the races of the calendar. He won 13 of the 21 races, winning the title with 104 points from his opponent, Alex Dunne. The same year, he participated in two races of the Formula 4 UAE Championship, closing 8th in the final standing; he also competed in the ADAC Formula 4 Championship, winning the title.
The Italian has shown great talent, consistency in getting good results, and fast adaptation to different championships and circuits. These are some of the reasons why Mercedes, ever since Kimi was racing karts, kept an eye on him. The official agreement came in 2019 when he officially joined the Mercedes Junior team at only 13 years old.
Since then, Kimi has made a strong relationship with Mercedes and with Toto Wolff, who keeps track of his progress, even from afar.
Two Championships in one year
2023 started for Kimi in the best way for a driver: with the victory of a title. The young driver, in fact, in the early months of the year, participated in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship driving for the Mumbai Falcons team but was always supported by Prema. He won the championship with a race in advance, ahead of Taylor Barnard and his opponent for years (and current teammate in Prema) Rafael Camara. Not only did he win the title, but also the points needed for the FIA Super License.
Now he is racing for Prema Team in the Formula Regional European Championship of which he is the leader, with a gap of 44 points Again, he has shown to be very competitive and ready to bring home another championship title. There are only two GPs left (and four races) to complete this mission.
On September 2nd, 2023, while the Formula 1 weekend was taking place in Monza, unexpected news came. Andrea Kimi Antonelli will compete in Formula 2 in 2024 with the Prema team. The thing that created the most astonishment was the jump of category. In fact, the young Italian driver will skip Formula 3 to compete in Formula 2.
This move has enthused and scared many fans of the driver because it’s very rare that a driver doesn’t follow the normal journey to F1 (F4/FORMULA REGIONAL->F3->F2->F1). It is rare but it isn’t impossible.
🚨 Mercedes junior Kimi Antonelli will race in Formula 2 for PREMA in 2024!
Mercedes believes in the 18 year old so much that he will skip Formula 3 😳
— Mercedes-AMG F1 News (@MercedesNewsUK) September 2, 2023
In 2024, all F2 drivers will be driving a new car and will have to adapt their driving style just as if they were rookies. It can be an advantage for Antonelli and all the new drivers in the 2024 grid. Although there is not an official confirmation from Antonelli and Mercedes, it is almost certain that next year he will compete in F1’s primary feeder series, alongside the English driver Ollie Bearman.
The Italian Dream
Certainly Italian motorsport fans are hopeful. 70 years have passed since an Italian driver won the world title in Formula 1. On August 23rd, 1953, Alberto Ascari won his second Formula 1 World Championship. On the current F1 grid there is not even an Italian driver. Based on Antonelli’s career so far, you can see why many have high hopes for the Mercedes Junior.
Will 2025 or 2026 be the year in which an Italian driver will come back to Formula 1? Expectations are very high. With Kimi Antonelli’s skip To Formula 2, he is the most favored to arrive in F1 in the future. For now, Kimi has to dedicate himself to winning the Formula Regional European Championship and next year, maybe, the F2 title.