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

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Andrea Kimi Antonelli of Italy and PREMA Racing (4) prepares to

Toto Wolff has confirmed that Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli will get behind the wheel of an F1 car during an upcoming test at the Red Bull Ring, with the team boss “keen and happy” to see the youngster given his first opportunity with Formula 1 machinery.

Currently competing in his debut F2 season, Antonelli’s name has been mentioned on a regular basis of late. The 17-year-old impressed many with his ascent through the junior motorsport ranks before going on to bypass Formula 3 en route to joining PREMA Racing for the 2024 Formula 2 campaign.

READ MORE: Wolff shares his expectations for Mercedes’ latest junior F1 prospect after ‘immense’ rise

While he still only has three F2 rounds behind him – with his best result so far being P4 in the Feature Race in Australia – Antonelli has also been linked to the vacant seat at the Mercedes F1 team in 2025 following Lewis Hamilton’s decision to switch to Ferrari.

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton exits the pitlate during the first practice session ahead

Antonelli will get behind the wheel of a 2021 Mercedes F1 car at an upcoming test

Wolff recently suggested that he may have talked “too much” about the young Italian amid continued speculation over who will join George Russell at the Silver Arrows next year.

However, during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, the Austrian revealed details of a test that Antonelli will take part in at the Red Bull Ring, where the teenager will get his hands on a Mercedes 2021 Formula 1 car.

READ MORE: Wolff names first choice to replace Hamilton at Mercedes as he sets timeline for decision

Asked if he might be able to give Antonelli some pointers – having previously worked as an instructor at the track himself some years ago – Wolff joked: "Well, that would be really bad if I would be starting to give Andrea instructions!

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“But yeah, [the test] is going to be there with a 2021 car. We want to give him the feeling of what a really good car looks like, and then we are going to put him in the 2022 car to see what the difference is!

“I’m really keen and happy to see him in a Formula 1 car. He’s been with us since he was 11. I have a picture of him standing next to me on the centre console as a baby boy in go-karting, and now to witness that development into a Formula 1 driver is something that I’m really proud of.”

READ MORE: Wolff says Mercedes are in ‘live testing’ as they look to find their feet with the W15

Mercedes have supported many drivers as part of their Junior Team over the years, with those to progress to Formula 1 including Russell and Esteban Ocon.

Meanwhile, in terms of who might replace Hamilton at the Silver Arrows in 2025, Wolff has reiterated that the decision is one he intends to take his time with, having recently stated that “the next few months will give us more clues” amid a “dynamic” driver market.

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