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Toto Wolff

The Antonelli conundrum Wolff is facing over Mercedes protege

Andrea Kimi Antonelli could be in line for a seat at Mercedes in 2025, to replace Lewis Hamilton.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli
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Toto Wolff has laid out the conundrum he faces in choosing to promote Andrea Kimi Antonelli to Formula 1 in 2025 at Mercedes.

Wolff is seeking to fill the seat that will be vacated by Lewis Hamilton at the end of the season, with the likes of Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso and Mercedes' own F2 protege Antonelli the leading candidates.

Alonso removed himself from the equation on Thursday by penning a fresh deal with Aston Martin, and Verstappen is unlikely to leave the class-leading Red Bull for a Mercedes team still struggling with ground effects.

Sainz would seek a longer-term deal with the team as security, but in doing so, the team could lose Antonelli, who is racing for Prema in F2 and has been dubbed 'the next Verstappen.'

Wolff has admitted that Mercedes is in a "rebuild" mode, which leads to the question of whether he opts for Antonelli and allow him to bed into F1 while Mercedes is not fighting at the front or go for an experienced racer alongside George Russell to steer the team back in the right direction.

"I think you can look at it from various perspectives,' Wolff told media including RacingNews365 when asked if the competitive slump by the team made Antonelli a more appealing prospect.

"We all know that we are in a rebuilding phase, you need to acknowledge that three years into these regulations, we've got to do things differently than we've done in the past.

"[That is] without throwing overboard what we believe is goodness in the way we operate.

|To] rebuild a good team, we could put a young driver in, give him an opportunity with less pressure and fighting for victories immediately, or put a ore experienced driver in the car that can help us dig ourselves out of the current performance.

"Everything over these two years that we have seen points to the fact that there should be more much downforce than we believe it is.

"We've measured the downforce, and it is there, but we are not able to extract the lap-time out of it that we should and which simulation shows us [should be there]."

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