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Mercedes promotes F2 runner-up Frederik Vesti to F1 reserve role

by Ida Wood

Photo: LAT Photo

The Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team has announced Formula 2 runner-up Frederik Vesti as one of its reserve drivers for the 2024 season.

Vesti first linked up with the team in January 2021 when he was signed as one of its juniors, and he started doing F1 simulator work in 2022. At the end of that year, having done over 40 days in the simulator at Brackley, he drove an F1 car for the first time in the official post-season young driver test at Yas Marina Circuit.

The simulator work continued into 2023, and Vesti was rewarded with free practice outings at the Mexico City and Abu Dhabi grands prix. He drove in the young driver test again too, and at that point had no idea what his F1 future would hold.

Last month the 22-year-old Dane secured a race programme for this year by signing with Cool Racing in the European Le Mans Series. He will drive an LMP2 prototype sportscar, and the season-opening Barcelona Four Hours race in April will mark Vesti’s first experience of sportscar racing.

Since Mercedes has not stated that F1 commitments will take priority over ELMS, then it can be expected that clashing dates between the two series leaves Vesti unable to be reserve driver for the Miami, British, Dutch and American grands prix. He shares the role with ex-F1 driver and 2020 F2 champion Mick Schumacher, who is also racing in sportscars this year.

Vesti graduates from Mercedes’ junior team after three seasons of success in junior single-seaters but with the potential to have one more.

In 2021 he came fourth in the FIA Formula 3 Championship with one win, matching his position in the standings from the year before but scoring less points and winning fewer races, then in 2022 he took one win and four other podiums en route to fourth in the F2 standings. Vesti’s sophomore F2 season was a big improvement, as he claimed six victories and fought for the title until the final race.