Mercedes Junior Antonelli to Race for PREMA in 2024, Skipping F3

Mercedes Junior Antonelli to Race for PREMA in 2024, Skipping F3

Andrea Kimi Antonelli will race for PREMA Racing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2024, a team announcement posted Monday morning confirmed.

Mercedes junior Antonelli, the reigning champion in both the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA) and the Formula Regional Middle East Championship, will skip the FIA Formula 3 Championship entirely en route to F2.

The move was announced a day after the conclusion of Antonelli’s FRECA campaign with PREMA, in which he took five wins, six further podiums, and a total of 300 points across 20 races. He is the first driver announced for next year’s grid.

Prior to this season, 17-year-old Antonelli won both the 2022 Italian F4 and ADAC F4 championships, also for PREMA. This feat was also achieved the previous year by Ollie Bearman, who currently races for PREMA in F2 and who is widely tipped to be the Italian driver’s teammate in 2024.

A highly rated prospect since his karting days, Antonelli has had the backing of the Mercedes Junior Team since 2019. He took back-to-back titles in the OK class of the CIK-FIA European Karting Championship in 2020 and 2021 – a championship also won by Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Antonelli will join the F2 grid as the series debuts a new car, which will be used for at least the next three years.

“I’m very happy for this opportunity,” Antonelli said in a statement posted on social media alongside the announcement.

“From Formula Regional to Formula 2, it will be a huge jump. I’m aware that it will be very challenging because the level is really high there.

“It will be a new car, for me and the others as well, but it’s still going to be tough. I don’t want to set expectations, I will try to learn as much as possible in testing to be ready for the first race, have fun as always, and do a good job.

“I’m delighted to continue with PREMA as I started my single-seater career with them and they are my second family. I love working with them.”

PREMA Racing team principal René Rosin added, “We are proud to welcome Kimi to our FIA Formula 2 team. He has been with us since the very beginning so not only do we know him well, but we are also particularly proud of what he was able to achieve in his first two years full-time in single-seaters.

“Kimi is a gifted racer and a great team player, so we cannot wait to see what the 2024 season will bring and we are focused on helping him to make the step in the smoothest possible way.”

The 2024 F2 season kicks off in Sakhir from 29 February to 2 March. Pre-season testing dates have yet to be announced.

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