Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has confirmed that Frederik Vesti will be driving for the team in place of George Russell, team mate to Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes AMG Formula 1.
Planned to take Russell’s seat for FP1 in Mexico, the team have Vesti ready to take part in the ‘Rookie’ practice mandated by the FIA. A regulation intended to give up and coming junior drivers a taste of a Formula 1 car in an era where free testing is prohibited and opportunities rare for junior drivers.
Frederik Vesti, is Mercedes’s young FIA Formula 2 talent, but the question on everyone’s lips is: who is Frederik Vesti, and why has he been chosen to drive the W14 this weekend?
The Mercedes connection
The news was confirmed by Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, who expressed full confidence in the 21-year-old Danish driver. Vesti’s participation comes as part of the Formula One regulations, which require teams to field a ‘rookie’ driver for at least two practice sessions during the season.
With the upcoming sprint weekend in Brazil and Las Vegas as a new addition to the F1 calendar, many teams appear to be targeting Mexico and Abu Dhabi to fulfil this requirement. For Mercedes, that rookie driver comes from their own junior programme – Frederik Vesti.
An insight into Vesti’s racing career
Vesti is no stranger to the race track. His motorsport journey began in karting, a breeding ground for many of the sport’s greatest talents. It wasn’t long before he made the transition to single-seater racing, making his debut in the Danish F4 Championship in 2017. Here, Vesti made an immediate impact, finishing third in the championship and attracting the attention of scouts and racing experts alike.
His performance in Danish F4 opened doors for him to compete in the 2018 ADAC Formula 4 Championship. However, it was in the 2019 Formula Regional European Championship that Vesti really made his mark. He dominated the series, winning an astonishing 13 of the 24 races and putting himself firmly on the F1 radar.
Steady rise through the ranks
Building on his strong 2019 season, Vesti moved up to the FIA Formula 3 Championship in 2020, securing a place with Prema Racing – one of the top teams in the category. In his rookie F3 season, he took three wins and finished fourth overall. His continued success led him to another season in F3 with ART Grand Prix in 2021, where his performance once again caught the eye of F1 talent scouts.
The Formula 2 chapter
In F2, Vesti had a respectable rookie season, finishing ninth overall and taking one win. His current F2 season has been even more impressive. He’s mounted a formidable challenge for the title against Theo Pourchaire, although recent DNFs have slightly diminished his championship prospects.
Frederik Vesti’s talent and rapid career progression have culminated in this significant opportunity to take part in an F1 practice session.
Toto Wolff summed it up ahead of the Mexico City GP weekend: “FP1 will see Fred Vesti in the car for one of our two mandatory rookie sessions. He has acquitted himself well in Formula 2 and I am sure he will do a good job for the team…”
Vesti has already had a taste of Formula 1 action, completing 124 laps in the W13 at a post-season test in Abu Dhabi last year.
With the F1 community watching closely, this session could be a pivotal moment in the young Dane’s career, potentially paving the way for a future in F1.
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