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Wolff tips potential Hamilton replacement for F1 greatness

Wolff tips potential Hamilton replacement for F1 greatness

F1 News

Wolff tips potential Hamilton replacement for F1 greatness

Wolff tips potential Hamilton replacement for F1 greatness

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes that 17-year-old prodigy Andrea Kimi Antonelli can become a Formula 1 'great'.

The young Italian is set to compete in F2 with the PREMA Racing team in 2024 having won the Formula Regional European Championship in 2023, and is a part of Mercedes' young driver programme.

F1 journalist Lawrence Barretto recently suggested that Antonelli may be high up on Mercedes' list of potential replacements for Lewis Hamilton, once his contract comes to an end at the end of 2025.

He also suggested that the Italian could take the same route as George Russell, by heading over to Williams for a few seasons until Hamilton is ready to retire.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli won the 2023 FRECA championship
Andrea Kimi Antonelli has been tipped as a potential successor to Lewis Hamilton, once the seven-time world champion retires
Andrea Kimi Antonelli will race in F2 in 2024 alongside British star Oliver Bearman at PREMA Racing

Antonelli's racing progress

Antonelli's performances have already seen him completely skip F3 and head straight to F2, where he will race alongside British prodigy Oliver Bearman.

Wolff has issued cautious optimism about the progress of Antonelli, as to not put too much pressure on the shoulders of the young driver.

“His track record in karting was already impressive and then he moved up to the junior formulas and won every single season in his rookie year," the Austrian told Speedweek.

“But we have to be careful because there is a lot of hype around Kimi. Bringing him into F2 is a big step because these cars are heavier and have a lot more power.

“If we give him time and don’t expect him to surpass everything in his first season, I think he can become a great in this sport.

“We’ll see how things go in Formula 2. They have new cars there, which is an advantage for him. But there are some great competitors who are contesting their second Formula 2 season this year and are also highly rated.

“He has to show that he is ready for a place in Formula 1. And first, we have to concentrate exclusively on Formula 2.”

READ MORE: Hamilton and Wolff exchange over 'bad' Mercedes gains attention

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