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F2 racer Antonelli ‘excited for what’s coming’ after making ‘incredible’ F1 test debut with Mercedes

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Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli got his first taste of Formula 1 machinery with the team earlier this week as part of a two-day test at the Red Bull Ring, saying he “loved every second” of the “incredible experience”.

Antonelli, who stepped up to F2 with Prema Racing for the 2024 season, completed some 500km of running at the Austrian venue in Mercedes’ 2021-specification W12, despite snow impacting the first day of action.

READ MORE: Wolff ‘keen and happy’ to see Antonelli in an F1 car as he prepares to test Mercedes machinery

The test was carried out as part of Mercedes’ heritage programme, which maintains and runs the squad’s previous cars so they can be used in marketing-related activities.

“It’s been an incredible experience; I loved every second of it,” beamed Antonelli, 17, as he reflected on his special outing in a video update from the pit lane.

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After snow disrupted the first day of the test, Antonelli managed to get out on track and rack up laps

“The first day didn’t go as planned, we got some snow unfortunately, so we couldn’t really drive. But the second day was dry, we got quite a lot of laps, and it was really good fun.”

He signed off: “I want to thank all the team for all the hard work and [I’m] excited for what’s coming.”

READ MORE: Hamilton hails four-time champion Vettel as ‘an amazing option’ for Mercedes in 2025

Antonelli’s test comes as Mercedes mull over their options to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton in 2025, with team boss Toto Wolff recently namechecking the Italian youngster as one of several candidates.

“We have a young kid that is very promising,” said Wolff. “I don’t want to put more extra pressure on him but it looks like he can be one of the great ones.

“But we also don’t want to drown him jumping so quickly in an F1 car – he’s 17. There are a few options that we could play with him.”

Antonelli, already a champion in the Italian F4, German F4, Formula Regional Middle East and Formula Regional European single-seater categories, sits ninth in this year’s F2 standings after the opening three rounds.

READ MORE: Wolff admits he’s ‘guilty’ of talking too much about F2 hopeful Antonelli as he seeks Hamilton replacement

Highlights of his campaign so far include a P2 qualifying result and P4 Feature Race finish last time out in Australia, with three other points-scoring efforts logged across the previous Saudi Arabia and Bahrain events.

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