Toto Wolff: Mercedes should not “rush” Antonelli to F1 seat

Jaden Diaz

Mercedes should make sure to avoid creating excessive hype surrounding Kimi Antonelli, says Toto Wolff. The Mercedes team principal remains excited about Antonelli’s potential but wants to keep expectations under control.

Despite the W15’s poor performance, most of the discussions related to Mercedes this year have focused on their off-track activities. Specifically, the Silver Arrows have made waver in the driver market. With Lewis Hamilton departing from the team, Toto Wolff is working to find a replacement.

Despite barely completing a handful of races in Formula 2, Antonelli has been heavily linked to an F1 seat. The 17-year-old has been a highly anticipated prospect for some time, although the scrutiny has reached unprecedented levels in 2024.


Toto Wolff admits to playing a part in this, as he explained to the media, including racingnews365, in Imola:

“We are hyping the young man for a long time now. He will be very good and a great driver one day in Formula 1 – but he is 17.

“14 months ago, he drove an F4 car – and there’s so much expectations in Italy. And we are also a little bit guilty about talking about him at that stage. 

“I think we should let him do his F2 thing and deliver results and not be too carried away with what could or should be… He’s going to be in Formula 1 one day, but let’s not rush it.”


These comments are a significant shift from the Mercedes team principal. As he outlines, the last few months have seen the Brackley-based team contribute to much of the scrutiny on Antonelli’s progress.

Just last weekend, James Allison described the 17-year-old as “the real deal.”

Of course, there is nothing wrong with an F1 team praising its young talent. However, the consequence of this – especially in the case of Antonelli – is having to deal with tremendous media attention. This is despite the fact there are many drivers for Mercedes to consider, from Carlos Sainz to Esteban Ocon.

Whilst Antonelli is widely regarded as the most likely choice for Mercedes in 2025, the Championship-winning team would do well to try and minimise the focus on the youngster. Then again, at this stage, that ship might have sailed.