Home Formula RegionalFRegional European Championship Antonelli returns to FREC action as rumours swirl about his 2024 plans

Antonelli returns to FREC action as rumours swirl about his 2024 plans

by Ida Wood

Photo: Sebastiaan Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency

The Formula Regional European Championship field was back in action today for a pre-event test session at the Red Bull Ring.

As well as drivers who will be making their debuts this weekend and one who will be making a series comeback, there was a lot of focus on Prema’s points leader and Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

At last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, it was reported that Mercedes is considering jumping Antonelli two levels up the single-seater ladder rather than one. It was a reccurence of rumours from 2022, when there were suggestions that he would go from Formula 4 to Formula 3 and bypass FRegional, and this time media were saying that Antonelli would skip F3 and go straight to Formula 2 next year with Prema. If he does not, stepping up to FIA F3 with Prema is his most likely 2024 destination.

It became such a hot topic that Mercedes’ juniors in F2 and F3 were asked about it, but mostly deflected the questions, and later it was broached in media sessions with key figures from Mercedes such as team principal Toto Wolff.

Formula Scout was able to speak to Stephane Guerin, who is in charge of trackside operations for the Mercedes Junior Team and primarily looks after their F2 title contender Frederik Vesti. He could not be drawn to confirm if there was any truth to Antonelli moving up to F2, said “we are focusing on Antonelli’s development, and the focus is now on FREC’s back-to-back rounds” at the Red Bull Ring and then Monza.

Antonelli went sixth fastest in the two hour-and-52 minute afternoon test session in Austria, 0.282 seconds off the pace set by MP Motorsport’s Victor Bernier.

Little happened in the test, with KIC Motorsport’s Maya Weug the first to register a representative laptime with a 1m30.471s set seven minutes in.

R-ace GP’s Tim Tramnitz knocked 0.35s off that benchmark, and spent most of the test on top. A few minutes after moving into top spot for the first time he set a 1m28.394s, and improved further to 1m28.067s.

Monolite Racing’s series returnee Hadrien David and Sainteloc Racing’s Esteban Masson then became the first drivers into the 1m27s, and Tramnitz responded a quarter of an hour later by going 0.363s faster than Masson.

On his next lap he went faster again, by 0.408s, and his 1m27.068s would go unbeaten for over two hours.

In the final 10 minutes there was more track activity, with Tramnitz finding another gain of 0.013s and Bernier then becoming the only driver of the day to lap in the 1m26s.

Bernier ended up fastest by 0.142s, with the top 23 covered by 0.814s.

Test results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Victor Bernier MP Motorsport 1m26.913s 34
2 Tim Tramnitz R-ace GP 1m27.055s +0.142s 43
3 Sami Meguetounif MP Motorsport 1m27.084s +0.171s 38
4 Rafael Camara Prema 1m27.124s +0.211s 48
5 Martinius Stenshorne R-ace GP 1m27.157s +0.244s 47
6 Andrea Kimi Antonelli Prema 1m27.195s +0.282s 45
7 Michael Belov G4 Racing 1m27.225s +0.312s 44
8 Bruno del Pino MP Motorsport 1m27.258s +0.345s 40
9 Maceo Capietto R-P-M 1m27.266s +0.353s 58
10 Kas Haverkort Van Amersfoort Racing 1m27.275s +0.362s 44
11 Alessandro Giusti G4 Racing 1m27.292s +0.379s 44
12 Santiago Ramos R-P-M 1m27.395s +0.482s 44
13 Matias Zagazeta R-ace GP 1m27.466s +0.553s 45
14 Esteban Masson Sainteloc Racing 1m27.469s +0.556s 38
15 Marcus Amand ART Grand Prix 1m27.482s +0.569s 58
16 Levente Revesz Arden 1m27.520s +0.607s 43
17 Hadrien David Monolite Racing 1m27.526s +0.613s 56
18 Roman Bilinski Trident 1m27.570s +0.657s 52
19 Lorenzo Fluxa Prema 1m27.572s +0.659s 47
20 Nikhil Bohra Trident 1m27.592s +0.679s 54
21 Laurens van Hoepen ART Grand Prix 1m27.620s +0.707s 60
22 Tom Lebbon Arden 1m27.712s +0.799s 45
23 Joshua Duerksen Arden 1m27.727s +0.814s 47
24 Owen Tangavelou Trident 1m27.960s +1.047s 54
25 Maya Weug KIC Motorsport 1m27.963s +1.050s 51
26 Jesse Carrasquedo Van Amersfoort Racing 1m28.061s +1.148s 49
27 Emmo Fittipaldi Sainteloc Racing 1m28.106s +1.193s 35
28 Giovanni Maschio Monolite Racing 1m28.124s +1.211s 48
29 Niels Koolen Van Amersfoort Racing 1m28.142s +1.229s 44
30 Pierre-Alexandre Provost G4 Racing 1m28.195s +1.282s 37
31 William Karlsson KIC Motorsport 1m28.673s +1.760s 44
32 Ivan Klymenko KIC Motorsport 1m28.673s +1.921s 56