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Toto Wolff

Wolff opens F1 door for new Mercedes star

With a number of drivers likely lining up to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, Toto Wolff has spoken out regarding the prospect of Kimi Antonelli taking the seat.

Toto Wolff has not ruled out the prospect of signing Kimi Antonelli to Mercedes next year but insisted a decision over its line-up will not be made soon.

Mercedes is searching for a new teammate for George Russell after Lewis Hamilton opted to depart to join rivals Ferrari.

The vacancy at Mercedes will be a seat highly sought after due to the Brackley-based squad's spot in the pecking order and its recent history of World Championship success.

While there is no shortage of suitors, one potential name that has been linked to the seat is Mercedes junior driver Antonelli.

The Italian will embark on his maiden Formula 2 campaign this year, making the jump after winning the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine title.

Taking the pressure off Antonelli

As Mercedes hone in on a shortlist of drivers to replace Hamilton, Wolff has asserted that he will not rush his decision.

When asked if Antonelli is an option, Wolff told media including RacingNews365: “We got that curveball thrown at us with Lewis in the beginning of February. I want to do the opposite when choosing the driver for next year.

“It’s clear Kimi has been in our junior category since he was 11 and we have had great pleasure in watching him grow as a young man and growing through the ranks.

“But I also want to take a little bit of pressure off him. He’s 17. He’s won everything he needed to win in his rookie season, but I think he is going to be a Formula 1 driver. He’s going to be a very, very successful driver in Formula 1. But he hasn’t started his Formula 2 campaign yet.

“They had a difficult test in the first days in Bahrain and we shall see how this develops.

“I want to wait out the first F2 races that are actually going to go with Formula 1.

“There are many very good pilots in Formula 1 available for next year or so and this is all going to come into the equation when deciding on the driver line-up for next year, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.”

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