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Frederik Vesti: “My focus is Formula 1”

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: LAT Images

Formula 2 runner-up Frederik Vesti may have embarked on a new chapter racing in the European Le Mans Series, but is clear that Formula 1 remains his goal.

The 22-year-old has been a Mercedes-AMG junior since 2021, and has done two F1 tests and two practice sessions with the team.

He began 2024 by landing a seat in ELMS’ “really competitive” LMP2 class with Cool Racing, then two weeks before F1’s season opener became Mercedes’ reserve driver.

“My focus is F1,” Vesti stated to Formula Scout. “That’s very clear also with Mercedes as a reserve driver this year. But to be standing completely still and not actually driving, I was a bit afraid to do that. And I really wanted to continue learning and building, adding bricks to the foundation I’ve already created.”

He added: “If you ask any team principal if they want to sign the exact same [quality] driver, but one who doesn’t do anything, who’s just doing the reserve driver, the simulator, [versus] the same driver but [driving] different cars, different championships, plus the simulator plus reserve and he’s keeping sharp driving on new tyres and challenging himself and staying sharp mentally, I’m pretty sure they’ll choose the driver who continues to work on himself and continues to push the limits of a race car.

“That’s my mindset. My eyes are on F1. My focus is in F1, but I don’t have a seat [there] and I need to continue to work towards a seat. For me, ELMS and driving a fast race car is part of that.”

Cool Racing has also signed Vesti for the Le Mans 24 Hours, which will be his third sportscar race after finishing 18th and second in ELMS’ first two rounds.

Vesti is “pushing hard around the F1 world” and “doing meetings with the right people” in order to get on the grid. Aware of the hype surrounding fellow Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli, he says “I really try to focus on myself” and “I know where I need to improve”.

“Last year I was the most winning driver,” reflected Vesti. “I didn’t win the [F2] championship because I had some silly mistakes from my side and also from the team. So [I’m] working on that consistency again while pushing the limits to 100%.”

Importantly, he “enjoys” doing his “important” role at Mercedes.

“The weekends where I’m reserve driver I have to be mentally and physically ready to jump into the car at any time. I need to be up to date on the car, on the set-up, on the direction they’re going, on the steering wheel, all these things. And [when] not driving, I’m there listening to every single meeting.

“Even if I’m not on track, I’m still listening in to meetings from home. Then I try to understand what the problems are, what the drivers need. Then I fly straight to Brackley and into the simulator, and we correlate to the real data and try to help the team improve.”