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kimi antonelli mercedes f1 junior

Parc Ferme: Kimi MK II

kimi antonelli mercedes f1 junior

If rumors are to be believed, then wunderkind Andrea Kimi Antonelli will shortly (i.e.,2024) be joining the Formula 1 grid.

His early entry has been made possible by a tweak to the FIA regulations that now allow someone below the age of eighteen to hold an F1 super license. I’m not sure what the grounds for this were, maybe a certain someone agreed not to pursue their defamation of character complaint any further? Potentially destined for Mercedes, he will apparently keep Logan Sergeant’s seat warm at Williams in the first instance.

Like his namesake, he is being propelled early into F1. Although Kimi Raikkonen was twenty-one when he signed for Sauber, he had, however, only competed in a handful of car races. This was a different time of course, when you needed to be eighteen to race at a senior level.

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You’re only as good as your last race

Antonelli’s record is impressive. He already has multiple Championships to his name, sweeping all before him, that is, until he entered Formula 2. For some reason he seems to have hit the proverbial wall in this category.

No wins to date, not even a podium. In fact, these days he’s looking decidedly average compared to many of the other drivers in the series. Some argue that he’s battling racers with more experience in the category. However, he does know the circuits, and the cars are new for everyone this year, so I’m not buying that.

A more likely explanation is that his team are behind the development curve. Like F1, F2 lap times are close.

Make or break

This is a fragile time for an up-and-coming racer. Stalling at this point in his career may see all that promise evaporate.

The margins are in a driver’s confidence, and a head going down now could have big ramifications, especially at this age. Normally I would say another year simmering on the F2 stove would be best. However, a move into F1 now could actually be good news for the seventeen-year-old. It’s pretty much a given that he’s unlikely to fare any worse than the beleaguered Sargeant has at Williams.

In fact, a change of scene like this may well relieve the pressure and allow him to deliver the kind of results he’s used to. Imagine if he out-qualifies Alex Albon!

Tails I win, head you lose

The real winner in all this though is Toto Wolff. Carlos Sainz has been circling the Mercedes mast for a while now, but he’s still yet to land a contract. If Kimi does not deliver at Williams, for sure Mercedes will sign Sainz.

If the Italian youngster delivers, then Toto will move him into the big boy seat and the Spaniard will spend his sabbatical year or years at Williams until the Audi properly comes on-line.

Looks like Toto is going to have his cake and eat it.