Mercedes Told To Avoid Making Decision About 17-Year-Old Prodigy To Replace Hamilton 'Too Early'

Saturday, 27 April 2024 at 01:30
antonelli kimi panoramic
Lewis Hamilton will be leaving Mercedes after the 2024 F1 season, and the team will need to find a replacement for the seven-time World Champion.
After 12 years with the German team, this chapter of his life will come to an end for the 39-year-old British driver. He will be joining Ferrari, which will start a completely new era for Hamilton.
The new era will also start for Mercedes, as the team was practically built around the Brit's legacy in the past decade, and having such a significant figure leave the team will certainly impact them.
However, team principal Toto Wolff has been working hard to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. To replace Hamilton, he may have found a golden kid: Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who is currently racing in Formula 2.
The 17-year-old Italian is one of the most talented drivers in the sport at the moment, at least according to the results of his very young career and many of the pundits, former and current drivers, and team principals assessing his talent.
However, despite having a 17-year-old prodigy eager to jump into Formula One, former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg warned his ex-team from making the decision too soon when talking to Sky Sports F1.

"Well, Antonelli is definitely a superstar of the future. But unfortunately, timing wise it’s really too early for him, and especially too early for Toto to be able to make a decision on Antonelli."

Although Antonelli has already shown his incredible talent, the former German driver believes he would benefit from some extra time in Formula 2 before Mercedes decides about his future.
In addition, Rosberg also believes that it would be better for the teenager to start in a team such as Williams before moving to Mercedes, as such a young driver may not be ready for the top team just yet.

"I mean, he needs to wait until somewhat later in the year as we see how Antonelli does in Formula 2 also, because he does need a really strong season in Formula 2 to even to make it a possibility for him to go straight to Mercedes. Otherwise, if anything, some time at Williams or something would make sense."