Andrea Kimi Antonelli has done it again. After having shone last year with victories in the Italian and German F4 (whilst also dominating the Formula Regional Middle East at the beginning of the year) Antonelli has added another title to his trophy cabinet.
He secured the European Formula Regional title even before reaching the last race weekend. Antonelli became the first Italian to achieve this result in the history of this competition, proving himself the undisputed class of the field.
Earlier in the week, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff praised Antonelli for his spectacular progression:
“Antonelli is a very talented Italian driver who we’ve invested in. He won every category from F4 onwards and proved to be really strong, [which is] fantastic to see.
“But we don’t want to put too much pressure on him. Let’s let this season end. Then we’ll see what to do next year in agreement with his family.
“Andrea is only 17 years old. We don’t want to burn him. We have to let him become an adult. We have to do everything calmly.”
On Sunday morning, the Mercedes Junior driver overcame a wet and red flag-affected qualifying to qualify P8.
Meanwhile, his rival Martinus Stenshorne secured P9 on the grid. For Antonelli, only a few points were needed to become Champion before Race 2.
In the wet conditions, the young man born in 2006 had a masterful race. The Bolognese gained four positions on lap 1, taking first place just a few laps later.
He pulled off a great move in Turn 3, overtaking the poleman Amand and establishing a pace that rivals couldn’t match. After just two laps, the Mercedes driver began to create a significant gap, building up a four-second advantage over his French rival.
The race was interrupted by the Safety Car and a red flag due to a serious accident. Many would have thought it would have been wise to manage the race with a more conservative strategy and minimize risks.
But for Kimi Antonelli, his approach remained unchanged. With ten minutes left, the Prema driver extended his lead to 12 seconds – claiming his fourth single-seater title. Title contender Martinus Stenshorne finished in sixth place, still becoming Champion in the ‘rookie’ category.
Furthermore, thanks to Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s victory, Prema Racing is very close to winning its second consecutive title. Hockenheim is the next stop – last year Dino Beganovic helped the team secure the Championship.
With victory in Zandvoort, the 17-year-old obtained his fifth victory of the season, accompanied by six further podiums.
The final race weekend awaits in Hockenheim, where he will be able to compete with less pressure and finish a fantastic season.
While waiting for official news, his imminent jump from Formula Regional to Formula 2 (skipping Formula 3) seems inevitable.
He is set to compete with much more experienced drivers, confirming his status as one of the most promising drivers in motorsport.
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang