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Craig Slater Finds Only One Barrier in Kimi Antonelli Not Getting That Coveted Mercedes Seat

Nischay Rathore

Craig Slater Finds Only One Barrier in Kimi Antonelli Not Getting That Coveted Mercedes Seat

Ever Since Lewis Hamilton announced his Mercedes exit for 2025, Toto Wolff has been left with the task of finding his replacement. Many names came under speculation, but Kimi Antonelli remains a constant. Sky F1’s Craig Slater also believes the F2 driver is the favorite to join the Silver Arrows.

However, there is one hurdle in between and that is Max Verstappen. In a recent video uploaded by Sky F1 on YouTube, Slater said, “If Mercedes cannot get Max Verstappen, my understanding is Kimi Antonelli will have that seat next year.” 

Slater then added, “Kimi Antonelli only turns 18 in August but might he even be in Formula 1 this year. There is that potential. However, my understanding is he is in a position if Mercedes cannot get Verstappen to be driving alongside George Russell next year. But that one, probably not decided until August or September.”

Antonelli’s name surfaced right after the announcement of Hamilton’s departure. His proximity to Toto Wolff and the Mercedes driver academy credentials made him a favorite for the seat. Williams later rumoredly applying for his super license further fanned the speculations.

Another reason his name emerged immediately after Hamilton’s exit announcement was Wolff’s high praise. The Mercedes boss admitted to offering Hamilton just one year’s extension to avoid losing Kimi Antonelli. That step finds its roots in the regret he has for losing Max Verstappen when Hamilton and Nico Rosberg drove for Mercedes.

The Austrian manager now has a chance to land the Dutchman in his team. Ever since the power struggle at Red Bull came to the fore, Verstappen’s place has come under question. Taking advantage of the infighting in Milton Keynes, Toto Wolff might well be on a mission to sign the reigning champion.

Toto Wolff making every attempt to lure Max Verstappen to Mercedes

Jos Verstappen openly called for Christian Horner’s sacking in the aftermath of the investigation against him. Since then, Helmut Marko was rumored to be leaving the team as he faced the allegations of leaking the chats between Horner and the complainant. When asked if he would stay at Red Bull, Max Verstappen revealed his willingness to leave if Marko left.

That made an opening for Toto Wolff to swoop in and make his move to lure Verstappen. Despite differences of opinion in the past, Wolff was open to even having Marko at Mercedes if that is what was required to get the defending champion at Mercedes.

It would, however, take a lot more to sign the 26-year-old who is ruling the current grid with Red Bull. He currently has the fastest car which would make it even more difficult to gamble on a struggling Mercedes.

Moreover, Max Verstappen has, time and again, reiterated his commitment to honor the full duration of his contract. That, unfortunately for Toto Wolff, ends in 2028.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Nischay Rathore

Nischay Rathore


Nischay Rathore is an F1 journalist at The SportsRush with over a thousand articles under his belt. An avid Ayrton Senna admirer, Nischay embarked on his sports journalism journey despite completing graduation in Law. When not covering the high-speed thrills of the pinnacle of motorsport, he can be seen enjoying crime thrillers and 90s gangster movies with a hearty bowl of buttery popcorn.

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