Huge Breakthrough for Mercedes as Italian F1 Hopeful Moves to Single-Seaters With Prema

Published 08/30/2021, 6:44 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 31, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton qualifies in pole position Pool via REUTERS/David W Cerny


Mercedes has found another star in their hands. 15-year-old Andrea Kimi Antonelli has announced that he will make a move to single-seater racing with Prema Racing. The Mercedes Benz Junior will compete in the remaining rounds of the Italian Formula 4 championship.

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The team principal, Angelo Rosin, looks forward to working with the wunderkind. “Antonelli is one of the most outstanding prospects in karting competition. He has impressed since a very early age and achieved remarkable success there. It will be very interesting for us to see him adapt to a new form of motor racing.” Ready to help the Italian adapt to the new style of racing, Rosin is excited for what the future holds.

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Antonelli credits the Silver Arrows for his new journey. ” This is an exciting new challenge for me and I can’t wait to start. A big thanks to Prema and Mercedes for giving me this amazing opportunity.”

Many hail Antonelli as one of the most outstanding drivers of the generation. He showcased his fierce competitiveness on the karting tracks, drawing the attention of the F1 paddock. However, Mercedes was sure of his talent, signing him in their driving program.

Who is the next-gen Mercedes star?

The son of racer Marco Antonelli, the love for speed runs in the young Italian’s veins. Kimi, as people now call him, was 6 when he first sat in a racing kart. In 2015, he made his debut in the Easykart championship.

In his first race, he left the spectators shocked by his performance. The driver won the race ahead of 55 participants, with a solid seven-second gap to the driver behind him.

However, that isn’t enough to be noticed by an F1 team, let alone Mercedes. The international Easykart Final in the same year funneled the race winners of the series from around the world; a small world cup of sorts. Kimi was fast but was forced to start 21st in the final due to a disqualification in the final heat. The 8-year-old was extremely placid and confident in himself. Surely, he went ahead to win the race from P21.

The Italian went on to do what he does best: win and amaze. Keeping the consistent pace, he was the 2020 Euro Champion at the age of 14. His first manager, Giovanni Minardi, predicted his future when he told Marco, “your son is a phenomenon, he’s an F1 driver.” 

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Likening him with the champions, Minardi told Toto Wolff, “from my experience, [I]found a type of driving and sensitivity in Kimi that I had only seen with Fernando Alonso… I think he has it in his blood. These are gifts you are born with.”

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Are we looking at the rise of the next Mercedes F1 driver? Antonelli undoubtedly has the potential to be the next Lewis Hamilton.

Watch this story: Lewis Hamilton’s Biggest F1 Crashes

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Shreya Sanjeev

361 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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