Toto Wolff ‘risk’ claim made as Italian to replace Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes will have a new driver line-up in 2025, as Lewis Hamilton will be joining Ferrari.

There will be no swift ascent from F2 to Mercedes F1 for Andrea Kimi Antonelli next season, with F2 commentator Alex Jacques questioning whether Toto Wolff would take such a “risk,” regardless of the driver’s talent.

At just 17 years old, Antonelli has been hailed as Mercedes’ future since joining their junior programme in 2019. Despite his youth, he has swiftly progressed through the junior ranks.

This year, he bypassed Formula 3, advancing directly from the Formula Regional European Championship to Formula 2, where he will compete for Prema.

Jacques dismisses the possibility of Wolff taking a “risk” on Andrea Kimi Antonelli
Speculation has arisen that his next move could be to Formula 1 as early as next season, possibly filling Lewis Hamilton’s vacated Mercedes seat, following Hamilton’s announcement of a switch to Ferrari at the end of this year.

READ: Martin Brundle responds to Lewis Hamilton

With Wolff seeking a new Formula 1 driver, some have advocated for Antonelli, but Jacques believes Wolff would consider it too risky.

“Antonelli would have to completely dominate the championship to have a chance of starting the 2025 season in that Mercedes team,” Jacques told the Feeder Series Podcast.

“I just don’t see Wolff putting someone, no matter how good they are, in that situation.”

Jacques suggests Wolff will aim to sign the strongest driver possible to “replace the presence” of Hamilton, whether that’s a World Champion, a race winner, or a promising talent.

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He doubts Antonelli will start the season with Mercedes.

Placing Antonelli in a Williams seat, as Wolff did with Russell, may also prove challenging, as Williams has its own young talents in Formula 2 with Zak O’Sullivan and Franco Colapinto.

READ: Sergio Perez warns Mercedes about Lewis Hamilton

Wolff addressed the speculation surrounding Antonelli following Hamilton’s announcement, emphasising the importance of Antonelli focusing on F2.

“If we start to spin his mind or unleash rumours in the media onto him, that’s not going to help his F2 campaign,” Wolff stated.

He prefers not to speculate about Antonelli’s potential move to Formula 1 at this stage.