Kimi Antonelli scheduled for Mercedes test, 2025 chances grow

Loris Preziosa, Giuliano Duchessa, Jaden Diaz

The next few weeks at Mercedes are crucial, both for the 2024 season and beyond. Toto Wolff’s team approaches the month of June without knowing who will partner George Russell in 2025. However, Andrea Kimi Antonelli seems to be the number one candidate for the seat. The young talent from Bologna is carrying out an intense test programme with the 2022 Mercedes, which will continue next week on the Barcelona circuit.


At the start of this world championship, Toto Wolff said that Lewis Hamilton’s replacement would most likely be decided in May. Of course, May has passed, and there is still no decision. One reason is that the driver market has not yet come to life. Carlos Sainz, for example, is still waiting to see what cards fall at Red Bull.

With Sainz potentially out of the picture, as indicated by Lewis Hamilton in recent weeks, the main candidate for the Mercedes seat could be Andrea Kimi Antonelli. The Italian is not enjoying an ideal start to the Formula 2 championship, partly due to the technical difficulties at Prema. However, Mercedes are very happy with his work and overall performance in testing.

His first taste of Formula 1 had arrived in Spielberg, with a test on the 2021 W12. Antonelli then also gave excellent signals in his debut with the current generation of F1 cars, the 2022 W13, in a test carried out at Imola.

He then completed a session at Silverstone, where George Russell and Mick Schumacher were also present. On Tuesday, Kimi Antonelli will continue this program at the Barcelona circuit, where he will be busy until Thursday in a three-day test, again with the W13.

Together with Kimi, Mick Schumacher will take part. However, the Silver Arrows have made clear this test is not a comparison between drivers:

“Since these are private tests, there has been a lot of speculation about their purpose and content. Our most recent test at Silverstone involving Mick, Kimi and George was incorrectly labelled as a ‘shootout’, which was neither the intention nor the objective of the session.

“It is important to know that each driver completed different programs on different days, different track and weather conditions.”



Meanwhile, Mercedes is preparing for the Canadian GP. Despite their relatively modest results in recent races, they are pleased with their progress. Performance Director Andrew Shovlin has revealed that more updates will arrive in Montreal. However, they will not be as substantive as those brought to recent events:

“We will definitely have the new front wing on both cars. This is something we have been working on and we will make sure we can achieve it.” 

The Mercedes engineers – as anticipated by – will bring updates to each European race. The team’s new front wing specifications are a return to their conventional design. This specification will distribute the profile load and increase it in the central section, again changing the direction of the downstream flows. Therefore, we can expect further changes in input to the fund to improve overall efficiency.

Shovlin also explained that Canada’s asphalt will present unknowns. Tyre degradation will be a crucial theme:

“The track was completely resurfaced. We will see similar problems with graining that we had in Monaco. The difference in Montreal is that you can’t just drive slowly. If you drive slowly there, you will be overtaken.

“The cornering speeds are like in Monaco, there are a lot of low-speed corners, and it was encouraging to have decent cornering pace in Monaco.”

Mercedes’ Performance Director also emphasised the importance of qualifying. This is a relevant theme for Canada specifically and in a broader sense for 2024. As Toto Wolff declared last time out in Monaco, the team maintains lofty objectives:

“We must put ourselves in a position to be able to fight for podiums, for victories and compete with Ferrari and McLaren. It is a goal we have set in the short term.”

This confidence goes hand in hand with that recently shown by technical director James Allison. After Imola, he quantified the differential between the leading teams at just a few tenths.

Meanwhile, the new signing Simone Resta has just officially said goodbye to Ferrari and will be in the gardening from tomorrow. The Imola-born technician will return to work with James Allison at Brackley starting on October 1st. The two engineers worked together at Maranello between 2014 and 2016.