Mercedes protégé Antonelli makes big first impression in F2


It’s perhaps the biggest and most talked about promotion for a young driver since Max Verstappen’s high-profile jump from F3 to F1 in 2015.

Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli is on the path to motorsport’s elite, but the 17-year-old Italian has already garnered attention for his impressive performance in Formula 2 testing on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.

Set to transition from the Formula Regional European Championship to Formula 2 in 2024, Antonelli has secured a coveted seat with Prema Racing.

During the initial day of testing at Yas Marina, he clocked the second-fastest time, trailing behind Ferrari Academy Driver and fellow Prema racer Oliver Bearman by just 0.165s.

While it might be premature to label Antonelli as a title favorite for 2024, given the notorious challenges of adapting to F2, his swift rise inevitably echoes Verstappen’s own trajectory, drawing parallels to the Dutch driver's quick promotion to Toro Rosso after a year in Formula 3.

And we all know how that story turned out...