Mercedes has named its seven F1 junior drivers in their academy for the 2023 season as things kick-off for the year.
Having had six F1 juniors last year, Mercedes has retained them all while adding one more in their line-up for the year 2023 to make it seven in the pack where most of them will be graduating to a different series or staying in the same to fight for the title.
Starting with the senior most junior, it is Frederik Vesti who is to continue racing in F2 but has switched to Prema for his second year. Behind him is Paul Aron, who is graduating to F3 with Prema after finishing third in Formula Regional European series.
There will be Mercedes presence in the championship still with Andrea Kimi Antonelli stepping up with Prema. Having won the ADAC and Italian F4 titles with them in 2022, he has added the Formula Regional Middle East Championship title with Mumbai Falcons.
Apart the three in the single-seater competitions, the other five are all to compete in karting for 2023 including newcomer Kenzo Craigie. The Brit will compete in the UK and International Rotax, and IAME categories.
Among others, Yuanpu Cui will remain OK category, Luna Fluxa will continue in OK Junior and Alex Powell too will continue in the OK class for the 2023 season. “We’re looking forward to seeing how our Junior Drivers progress this season,” said Toto Wolff.
“We saw some impressive performances in 2022, and we will continue to support them as they develop. An encouraging recent example of their progress is Kimi’s Formula Regional Middle East title. All our Junior Drivers are at very different, but very exciting, stages of their young careers and I’m sure it’s going to be another positive year for the programme.”
At the same time, Gwen Lagrue, added: “For 2023, our Junior Programme has drivers racing in almost every step of the feeder series ladder. We’re optimistic it’s going to be another strong season and year of positive progress.
“After an initial taste of F1 in Abu Dhabi last year at the rookie test, we expect Frederick Vesti to be fighting for wins and be in contention for the FIA F2 title. Following a successful campaign in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA), Paul Aron moves up to FIA F3 and we believe he’s ready to be a front-runner in his first season.
“Andrea Kimi Antonelli will graduate to FRECA after an outstanding double title winning F4 campaign and a strong start to 2023, winning the Formula Regional Middle East championship. Alex Powell is leading our group of drivers on the international karting scene alongside Yuanpu Cui and Luna Fluxá; they all have the experience to deliver strong seasons. We are also pleased to welcome the talented Kenzo Craigie to our programme in 2023, becoming our youngest Junior as he tackles the British karting championships.”
Here’s the full list:
Frederik Vesti (Prema) – Formula 2
Paul Aron (Prema) – Formula 3
Andrea Kimi Antonelli (Prema) – Formula Regional European Championship
Yuanpu Cui & Alex Powell – OK
Luna Fluxa – OK Junior
Kenzo Craigie – UK and International Rotax and IAME
Here’s Toto Wolff on all about W14
Here’s Mick Schumacher on his role and drive
Here’s Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff on the contract
Here’s Mercedes pair on W14 run
Here’s info on mini filming run
Here’s 2023 Mercedes car