His difficulties, his relationship with Bearman… Antonelli looks back on his beginnings in Formula 2

Andrea Kimi Antonelli looked back in detail on his first steps in Formula 2. The Italian driver experienced some adaptation difficulties but also delivered some good, promising performances.

Published on 29/04/2024 à 15:38

Yannis Duval

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His difficulties, his relationship with Bearman… Antonelli looks back on his beginnings in Formula 2

With 24 points, Antonelli is 9th in the F2 standings. ©DPPI

It was the attraction of the transfer window Formula 2. While he had just been titled in FRECA, Andrea Kimi Antonelli was announced in the anteroom of the F1, at only 17 years old thus ignoring F3. The protégé of Mercedes was particularly expected given his talent and what he had shown during his first years in car.

For the 2024 F2 season, the Italian driver has joined Prema Racing, replacing Frederik Vesti. After the first three rounds of the season, Andrea Kimi Antonelli is 9th in the drivers' standings and is not having the dream start to the season. Indeed, between the category jump, the discovery of a new car but also new circuits, the Transalpine has not yet been able to put everything together. To this must be added the time of adaptation to an environment that is still new for him.

“Going into F2 is completely different, the car is very different, the format of the weekend is also different, so there is a lot to learn but I enjoy racing, underlines the reigning FRECA champion. I learn a lot every weekend. I try to get the best out of it to improve my performance. »

The Italian driver admits that at the start of the season, he is having difficulty finding rhythm, especially in the race.

“The procedures, warming up the tires, the brakes but also the clutch, it's something completely new for me, admits the 17-year-old young man. Tire management is also really important in F2. On most circuits the degradation isn't really pure degradation, it's more thermal, so you really have to keep the tires in the right window. 

In Jeddah, I pushed the tires a little too hard and suffered some degradation. So obviously I'm still learning that, but it's a really key point for F2, especially in racing; be very fast but also at the same time manage the tires. »

Antonelli nevertheless showed good things. For example, during the main race in Bahrain, he managed to grab the point for 10th place even though he started 17th. In Australia, the Mercedes Junior Team driver achieved his best result by taking 4th place on Sunday, 48 hours after his 2nd fastest time in qualifying.

Bearman, like a big brother

Lined up alongside Oliver Bearman (who is in his second F2 season), « Whom » seems to have a good relationship with the latter. The rookie wants to take advantage of the experience of his garage neighbor to continue learning in order to play quickly up front.

“I have to say it's a very good thing because I can learn a lot from him and obviously he's a very good driver so I can get a lot of information from him. So of course, it's really nice. It's hard, it's not easy but I like racing against him, and the rest of the grid. »

Antonelli Bearman

©Formula 2

The ambition to secure a title

At the start of the season, Antonelli went through some complicated races and qualifying sessions but also showed great promise at times, displaying a pace close to the headliners of this F2 field. If he manages to repeat this kind of performance, then why not consider a title at the end of the season...

“The goal is to win races and win the championship, assures the Prema pilot. I am fully aware that it is not going to be easy because, as we have seen in previous rounds, there are many strong drivers and many teams with a strong car. The peloton is really competitive. But obviously the ultimate goal is to finish the year with a championship, but if not, to at least be a contender. I think with the work we are doing we can be a good contender for the championship. »

From May 17 to 19, Formula 2 goes to Imola. Andrea Kimi Antonelli will then be at home, pushed by thousands of Italian supporters. What better way to score your first victory and finally launch your season?

ALSO READ > Andrea Kimi Antonelli like a dream after his first F1 test: “Great to feel the power”

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