Mercedes is intensively evaluating Kimi Antonelli as a potential F1 driver for the 2025 season. With Lewis Hamilton set to depart, Mercedes faces a significant reshuffle, placing them in a position to mold fresh talent at their Brackley headquarters. Toto Wolff, the team’s principal, is taking this opportunity to potentially establish a new era for the team.

The young Italian driver, Kimi Antonelli, is undergoing a thorough testing program with Mercedes. At just 17 years old, Antonelli has already shown promise, having been fast-tracked to Formula 2, bypassing Formula 3 entirely—a move by Mercedes that predates Hamilton’s planned exit and underscores their confidence in his capabilities.

With the future team lineup undecided, Mercedes’ scrutiny of Antonelli’s performance in their F1 cars is crucial. They aim to ensure he can handle the pressures and demands of Formula 1 racing. Notably, Antonelli has completed extensive tests in Austria and at Imola, driving over 100 laps in the W11 and familiarizing himself with the newer W13 and ground-effect vehicles.

The choice for Mercedes next year is not straightforward. Established drivers like Carlos Sainz are on the market, and a sensational switch for Max Verstappen from Red Bull remains a tantalizing though complex possibility. Wolff has openly discussed the potential of drawing Verstappen away, especially following the departure of key Red Bull staff.

However, the internal focus remains strongly on Antonelli. Despite his limited experience in Formula 2, Mercedes believes in his rapid development and potential readiness for F1. Discussions often include the possibility of Antonelli starting his F1 career in a less high-pressure situation given Mercedes’ current on-track performance, which might allow a smoother transition for the young driver.

At Brackley, they are considering whether a more gradual introduction to F1, possibly through a team like Williams, could be beneficial for Antonelli, allowing him more time to hone his skills in Formula 2. Nonetheless, his rigorous testing schedule indicates that Mercedes views his entry into F1 as inevitable, with the primary decision being the timing and circumstances of his debut.

In sum, Mercedes is keenly gathering data on Antonelli, weighing their options for a future that might soon include him at the helm of one of their F1 cars. The motorsport community is watching closely, anticipating when Mercedes will make their move.