On an interview today,Toto Wolff revealed replacement plan with Kimi Antonelli wonderkid tipped..

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Williams’ James Vowles discuss whether Kimi Antonelli may drive in F1 in 2025

Toto Wolff has discussed Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s chances of replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari in 2025 means Wolff is faced with the monumental decision of how to replace a seven-time Formula 1 champion.

Options span two-time F1 champ Fernando Alonso down to Antonelli, the 17-year-old on Mercedes’ books who is tipped for a bright future.

“We got that curveball thrown at us, with Lewis, in the beginning of February,” Wolff said as he considered which driver to replace him with.

“And I want to do the opposite when choosing the driver for next year.

It’s clear Kimi has been in our junior category since he was 11. We have had great pleasure in watching him grow as a young man, and growing through the ranks.

“But I also want to take a little bit of pressure off him – he’s 17.

“He’s won everything he needed to win in his rookie season, but I think he is going to be a Formula 1 driver.

He’s going to be a very, very successful driver in Formula 1 but he hasn’t started his Formula 2 campaign yet.

“They had a difficult test in the first days in Bahrain. We’ll see how this develops.”

Wolff insisted that he will not be rushed into making a call.

“I want to wait out the first few [F2] races that are actually going to go with Formula 1,” he said.

“There are many very good pilots in Formula 1 available for next year.

This is all going to come into the equation when deciding on the driver line-up for next year. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon.”

The prodigious Antonelli was first spotted by James Vowles, previously of Mercedes, and now Williams’ team principal.

That link has sparked rumours that Antonelli could earn his first F1 call-up with Williams, before later graduating to Mercedes, taking the same pathway as George Russell.

Vowles was questioned about taking Antonelli next year.

“I have no doubt that Kimi will be in F1,” he responded.

He’s done incredibly well in his junior series. But that doesn’t mean he will be in Williams, necessarily.

“I believe in investing in youth. But I’ll take people on merixt into the organisation.

“I’m fortunate enough to have two juniors myself, in F2 and in F3.

“We’re starting to build a programme that is a sensible programme to develop THE next generation of drivers.

“In the case of Toto, he’s in the position that you would hope.

He’s one of, if not the best, team on the grid, with a range of options available to him.

“From my perspective, it’s more about looking what happens going forward.

“I have Alex Albon here next year under contract and I have Logan Sargeant obviously under contract as well, along with juniors.

“It’s just a question of seeing how everything plays out across the next six months.”

But Vowles did emphasise the potential brilliance of Antonelli.

When you’re looking after a junior who is 11, you have no idea that they are going to be incredible, or perhaps good, great or average,” he explained.

“But, with him, you could see early on in the F4 days that he was developing exceptionally well.”

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