Valentino Rossi

Formula 1 News: Valentino Rossi urges Mercedes to sign Antonelli

(GMM) MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi is urging Mercedes’ Formula 1 team to sign up fellow Italian Andrea ‘Kimi’ Antonelli.

A protégé of team boss Toto Wolff, 17-year-old Antonelli is clearly the favorite to replace Lewis Hamilton next year – but Wolff is nonetheless keeping the door open for now for Max Verstappen.

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“My job is to help ensure that this team is fast and that it works,” Wolff told Kronen Zeitung newspaper.

“Of course, that also includes which driver is in the car.”

Rossi, who has retired from MotoGP but still owns the VR46 team as well as racing in the world endurance championship, urged Wolff to sign the deal with Antonelli.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix – LAT Images for Mercedes

“Our country is strong in many sports,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, “but today we are missing F1.

“It’s been years since we had a winning Italian driver and I think Kimi will be able to fill this gap,” Rossi, 45, added.

“I have been following Kimi since he was little,” he revealed. “During covid we started playing together on racing simulators and now he comes to train with me and the other drivers of the (Rossi) academy in karts.”

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