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Andrea Kimi Antonelli

Antonelli warned to 'deal with pressure' of F1 spotlight

F2 and F3 CEO Bruno Michel has said if Andrea Kimi Antonelli can "deal" with the pressure of his situation, it can be a "great asset" in his career.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli
To news overview © XPBimages

F2 CEO Bruno Michel believes Andrea Kimi Antonelli must handle the pressure of being under the spotlight, adding it is "part of the learning process" for him.

The Mercedes protege is already linked to F1 drives at the Brackley-based team and Williams, despite being only three rounds into his F2 career and having missed F3 entirely.

Much of that speculation is centred on the Italian driver being on the F1 grid next season, but there remains the outside chance that he replaces Logan Sargeant mid-way through 2024.

The 17-year-old is one of the most highly-anticipated junior drivers in recent memory. Not since Max Verstappen jumped from F3 straight to F1 has a prospect received so much attention.

However, Michel feels it is all part and parcel of being so well-regarded, saying the PREMA driver has "got to deal with it" even if he would rather receive less attention at times.

"It's good on one hand, and it is additional pressure on the other one, but I think it's part of his learning process as well," he told media when asked by RacingNews365 for his thoughts about the focus placed on Antonelli.

"Sometimes he probably would hope that he can be forgotten a little bit, but he's not, so that's part of the game and he's got to deal with it. And if you can deal with it properly, for sure, it's a great asset for him in the future."

Antonelli 'is a talent, there's no doubt about that'

Antonelli's presence in the F2 paddock has helped raise the profile of the series this season, with the weight of expectation being placed on him.

Despite the added pressure that might put on the drivers, Michel knows how beneficial it can be for the championship.

"It's always good when we have drivers coming [into F2 and F3] that have quite a lot of hype, and people are looking into it and [putting] quite a lot of hope into him," he contended, pointing out some of the positive effects drivers like Antonelli can have. "I think it's important and obviously Kimi [Antonelli] is a talent, there's no doubt about that."

However, the junior series boss was quick to highlight the other side of that spotlight, particularly given how early the drivers in the F1 support paddock are into their careers.

"After that, I think it's also important to leave the driver developing himself without adding any additional external pressure - which we know is very theoretical, because at the end of the day, we are in a very magnified sport, and even if we're not Formula 1, it's still quite big. So yes, Kimi has to deal with that."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix - FP2