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Mercedes junior Antonelli to make Italian F4 debut with Prema

by Peter Allen

Photo: FIA/KSP

Mercedes-backed karting prodigy Andrea Kimi Antonelli will step up to car racing for the final three rounds of the Italian Formula 4 championship with Prema Powerteam.

Antonelli celebrated his 15th birthday on Wednesday last week, making him old enough to take part in the next Italian F4 round at the Red Bull Ring on 10-12 September.

Signed by Mercedes in 2018, he has since gone on to win back-to-back European titles at the OK senior level in 2020 and 2021 among a host of accolades.

He has been testing F4 cars for some time, mostly with his father Marco’s AKM Motorsport team, but his competitive debut will come with top outfit Prema ahead of a planned full season in Italian F4 in 2022.

“I am really happy to announce that I will join Prema in these last three races of the Italian F4 Championship,” he said.

“This is an exiting new challenge for me and I can’t wait to start. A big thanks to Prema and Mercedes for giving me this amazing opportunity.”

Team principal Angelo Rosin added: “Antonelli is one of the most outstanding prospects in karting competition. He has impressed since a very early age and achieved remarkable success there. It will be very interesting for us to see him adapt to a new form of motor racing.

“Moving up to single-seaters is never an easy task as it’s a comprehensively new experience, so we are going to assist him in the transition. We are equally looking forward to his competitive F4 debut.”