Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s most impressive traits highlighted ahead of potential Williams move

Andrea Kimi Antonelli is back in F2 at the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP at Imola after testing for Mercedes F1

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Mercedes technical director James Allison praised Andrea Kimi Antonelli‘s pace and communication after the 17-year-old starlet’s first Formula 1 test with Mercedes, amid rumours the Italian could replace Logan Sargeant.

Williams boss James Vowles has historically been his charge’s biggest cheerleader, but the team principal has admitted he’s speaking to other drivers about replacing the American and added he needs to see a notable improvement in the coming races.

Antonelli is yet to taste victory in his debut F2 season and only sits ninth in the standings, but he’s the least experienced driver in the series by far and has after being a serial winner in karting, the Italian has won every single-seater championship he’s completed.

“I have had the great pleasure of listening to the engineers describe the interaction with him,” Allison told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “Just a young, enthusiastic driver, very very fast, metronomic in his pace. He’s not been in an f1 car until recently but made it look like he’d been in one for ages within a lap or two.

“He came at this generation of cars, the ground effect cars with an open mind yeah he feels all the same things that that you’d expect him to feel but he’s not sort of polluted by the previous cars.

“He just takes them as they are and tells us what he would do, what he’s feeling as weaknesses and strengths and lets the engineers work to try to improve those things. But he looks like a very promising, promising young driver.”

How soon could Antonelli replace Sargeant?

Andrea Kimi Antonelli tests the Mercedes W12 in Austria in his first taste of F1 machinery | Mercedes F1 team

Antonelli‘s championship wins in Italian and German F4 plus Formula Regional European and Middle Eastern series- all in his first two full seasons of car racing – means he already has enough super licence points to qualify to race in F1 regardless of his F2 finish this year.

The only stumbling block for Antonelli is his age – drivers must be 18 to earn a super licence after the FIA tightened the restrictions following Max Verstappen‘s debut as a 17-year-old, with Antonelli reaching that milestone in August 2024.

Mercedes have asked whether the FIA can waive that requirement, though it’s unclear whether that’s to qualify for a full super licence or just a free practice licence instead.

However, unless that request is granted, the earliest we’ll see Antonelli in current F1 machinery on a race weekend is the 2024 Italian Grand Prix – with the Dutch GP taking place on his birthday.

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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