Formula 1 Racing

Latest Antonelli test was not a “shootout”

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Imola, 2024

Mercedes have firmly rejected claims a recent test involving Andrea Kimi Antonelli and two of its other drivers amounted to a “shootout” to decide its future line-up.

Formula 2 driver Antonelli, who is under consideration for the seat Lewis Hamilton will vacate at the end of the year, is to test for the team again at the Circuit de Catalunya next week.

Antonelli joined George Russell and reserve driver Mick Schumacher for a recent test at Silverstone. Mercedes said in a statement some reports had “incorrectly labelled” the private test as a “shootout.” This “was neither the intention nor the findings of the running,” it said.

They pointed out the three drivers did not test simultaneously and therefore set their laps in different conditions. The trio completed different programmes during the test, Mercedes added.

“Unfortunately, unverified speculation has led to conclusions and comparisons being published that do not reflect what happened,” said the team.

A further, three-day test will be held this week in Spain using the team’s 2022 specification W13 chassis. This is the most recent car Mercedes can run under F1’s ‘Testing of Previous Cars’ regulations.

“Both Mick and Kimi have done an excellent job delivering their respective programmes, to the complete satisfaction of the team, and we are looking forward to three busy days of running next week, too,” the team added.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has previously said he is keen to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on Antonelli, as he evaluates his options to take the place of seven-times champion Hamilton. Antonelli made the unusual move of stepping up from the Formula Regional European Championship, which he won last year, into Formula 2, bypassing Formula 3.

Antonelli lies sixth in the F2 standings after 10 of 28 races, 32 points behind leader Paul Aron, a former Mercedes junior driver.

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