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Andrea Kimi Antonelli

Rosberg issues Mercedes warning ahead of driver line-up decision

Mercedes has a key decision to make over its 2025 Formula 1 driver as it seeks a replacement for seven-time world champion Nico Rosberg.

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2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg has warned Mercedes it would be too early to promote Kimi Antonelli to the Brackley-based squad for the 2025 season.

Antonelli is believed to be a front-runner for Mercedes as it seeks to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton.

The Italian driver has been part of Mercedes' junior programme for several years and has impressed with his performances in the junior formulae.

However, at just 17 years of age, Antonelli is not yet eligible for a super licence but the FIA has received a request to grant him one early.

Speaking to Sky F1, Rosberg, who spent seven years racing for Mercedes, asserted it is too early for a promotion to the Silver Arrows.

“Antonelli is definitely a superstar of the future but unfortunately timing-wise it's really too early for him, and especially too early for Toto to be able to make a decision on Antonelli," he said.

"He needs to wait until somewhat later in the year as we see how Antonelli does in F2 also, because he does need a really strong season in F2 to make it a possibility for him to go straight to Mercedes.

"Otherwise, if anything, some time at Williams or a team like that would make sense."

Is Williams an option?

Speculation has mounted that a switch to Williams could be an option for Antonelli, taking a similar route to current Mercedes driver George Russell.

Should Antonelli receive a promotion to Williams, it would likely come at the expense of Logan Sargeant who has struggled for performance since joining the team.

Alex Albon, who has been at the squad since 2022, currently has a contract in place until the end of 2025.

The Thai-British driver asserted he has a strong relationship with Sargeant but steered clear of being caught up in the rumours.

“At the minute it's speculation, I can only say it’s that,” Albon said. 

“From my side, I get along very well with Logan, of course. We work well together. I do help him and he helps me in many ways as well.

“So we have a good team-mate relationship. But it is speculation.”

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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