Mercedes Already Have Their Next Wonderkid To Replace Lewis Hamilton

Remember the name Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

Mercedes Already Have Their Next Wonderkid To Replace Lewis Hamilton

Image: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

Andrea Kimi Antonelli might not yet be a household name within the storied world of Formula 1. It’s true, the 17-year-old is so fresh to the sport, that when Lewis Hamilton won his first Formula 1 World Championship in 2008, Antonelli wasn’t even two years old… but the Italian teenager could be set to replace the outgoing GOAT in 2025.

It was reported that Lewis Hamilton’s decision to leave Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season was the “hardest decision” he’s ever had to make. With a bumper new contract signed just four months ago, Formula 1 fans – and in particular Mercedes fans – were pleased to see one of the greatest in history commit his future to the sport, renewed with fresh optimism.

But, as Toto Wolff will attest to, four months can be a very long time in Formula 1.

“It’s been a crazy few days which have been filled with a whole range of emotions,” Hamilton wrote. “But as you all now know, after an incredible 11 years at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, the time has come for me to start a new chapter in my life and I will be joining Scuderia Ferrari in 2025.”

RELATED: Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton’s Sensational Switch To Ferrari, Explained

Image: Getty

For Hamilton, the allure of a potential switch to Ferrari proved too strong; it was always his childhood dream. And now, Toto Wolff and the Mercedes hierarchy must begin the search to find his replacement for 2025, but they might not need to look very far to find the next big thing in motorsport.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli surprised many by skipping Formula 3 this year and slotting straight into F2 ahead of the new season. The Italian sensation, who has been within the Mercedes set-up since 2012, has already made incredible strides so early in his career, winning the Italian and German F4 titles in 2022.

George Russell spent much of his formative years plying his trade in the lower ranks, taking each step up with a calculated approach to reach the pinnacle of Formula 1. For Mercedes to fastrack one of their young stars speaks to the potential they see in the Antonelli and a departure from the German team’s traditional approach to management.

RELATED: Peroni’s Formula 1 Campaign Goes Viral After Lewis Hamilton’s Leaked Ferrari Move

Mercedes Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff is said to have been impressed by the young driver’s recent progression and has touted Antonelli as one of the future.

“We got Kimi under the wings in 2012 and he was a great kid already then,” Wolff said. “You could see the character; he was strong. We had him in the [Formula 1] garage and there was a lot of confidence.”

“In go-karting his track record was immense and then you put him in the junior formulas and he wins every single season in his rookie year. But we’ve got to be careful because there’s a lot of hype around him. Putting him into F2 is a big step because those cars are heavier and much more powerful.”

“If we give him his time, and don’t expect him to be killing it in his first season, I think he can be a really great one in this sport. He’s 17 – this is so young.”

Of course, 2025 may come a little too soon for Antonelli as he continues to make considerable progress within the Mercedes Junior Team, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Andrea Kimi Antonelli as one of the sport’s eminent figures in the near future.