Mercedes’ teenage sensation Kimi Antonelli has been confirmed as a PREMA Racing driver for the 2024 season with the team’s long-term Lewis Hamilton replacement making the giant step from Formula Regional to Formula 2.
Despite being just 17 years of age, Antonelli is something of a household name for fans of the F1 feeder series, clinching five separate titles in his first two years in single-seater racing. The latest of these titles was the Formula Regional championship, which he wrapped up at the previous round.
This announcement confirms the continuation of Antonelli’s partnership with PREMA Racing, with whom the teenager has raced since making his debut in cars at the Italian F4 Championship back in 2021. The 17-year-old is expected to be partnered by the crown jewel of Ferrari’s driver academy, Oliver Bearman.
Speaking about the move, Antonelli explained: “I’m very happy for this opportunity. From Formula Regional to Formula 2, it will be a huge jump. I’m aware that it will be very challenging because the level is really high there. It will be a new car, for me and the others as well but it’s still going to be tough.
Click here to join our WhatsApp community to be the first to receive breaking and exclusive F1 news.
Don’t miss… Lewis Hamilton disqualified from US Grand Prix as Max Verstappen teases Mercedes[LATEST]
“I don’t want to set expectations, I will try to learn as much as possible in testing to be ready for the first race, have fun as always, and do a good job. I’m delighted to continue with PREMA as I started my single-seater career with them and they are my second family and I love working with them.”
With Hamilton and team-mate George Russell both having signed two-year contract extensions in the summer it is clear that Antonelli is set to embark on a dual-year project with PREMA in F2 with the target being a title charge and eventual graduation to the F1 grid in 2026.
Lewis Hamilton questions Mercedes decisions despite impressive US GP pace[HAMILTON]
Christian Horner explains why Verstappen’s engineer skipped debrief after US row[RED BULL]
Charles Leclerc demands Ferrari talk in furious message as Sainz favoured in US[FERRARI]
- Advert-free experience without interruptions.
- Rocket-fast speedy loading pages.
- Exclusive & Unlimited access to all our content.
Toto Wolff has regularly praised the Italian prospect and sees him as a future star for Mercedes. He told Gazzetta dello Sport earlier this year: “He won everything in F4, is leading the Formula Regional championship and has shown that he is really strong, fantastic to see. But we don’t want to put too much pressure on him.
“Let’s finish the work for 2023, then we’ll see what to do next year in agreement with his family who is very balanced. Andrea is only 17 years old, we don’t want to burn him, we have to let him become an adult. We need to do everything calmly.”
Source: Read Full Article