Speculation continues regarding the future of 17-year-old racing talent, with talks hinting he may advance straight to Formula 2, bypassing F3. Currently the forerunner in the FRECA standings, the Italian racer, driving for team Prema, is a rising star to watch.
While this leap into Formula 2 is under serious consideration, the decision remains in abeyance. Wolff, speaking on Saturday at Monza, brought attention to the dangers of building “too much hype” around burgeoning drivers. He said, “I think we will all hope that Andrea can make a great career. However, there is always the risk that if you create too much hype around a young driver, he’s not left in peace to do anything.”
Antonelli, coming from a strong track record in FRECA and dominating F4 in previous years, is no stranger to success. “He has won championships and in go-karting, and he is leading the championship in FRECA. We’ll observe his performance in FRECA and then decide the next course of action,” Wolff added.
Joining the Mercedes junior program in 2018 while still engaged in karting, Antonelli achieved remarkable success, securing 13 wins in 20 races at the ADAC and Italian F4 championships in 2022. Furthermore, he was crowned the Formula Regional Middle East champion in 2023.
However, despite his impressive track record, questions were raised as to why Antonelli did not directly transition to F3. Drawing parallels with Ollie Bearman, the fellow ADAC and Italian F4 champion and Antonelli’s team mate at Prema, the decision to move Antonelli to FRECA has been scrutinized.
Earlier in the year, Prema boss Rene Rosin, in conversation with F1 Initiative, defended this strategy, “Yes, the move to F3 could be an opportunity. However, considering Kimi is still 16, it is better to take things step by step.” He emphasized that Antonelli needed time to grow, both mentally and physically. “Use FRECA to gain significant mileage, prepare for future races and steadily make your way up the ladder to Formula 2 and then Formula 1.”