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Vesti’s focus fully on F2 despite increasing work with Mercedes F1 team

by Ida Wood

Photo: Prema

Frederik Vesti says his work with the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team is not distracting from his efforts to become Formula 2 champion.

The series sophomore sits second in the F2 points after 10 rounds, and is also keeping busy with F1 simulator work. He expects he will do more simulator time in the 12-week gap between F2’s last rounds at Monza and Yas Marina Circuit, and it has now been confirmed his F1 practice debut will come at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

“It started last year. I moved to the UK last year, I was very busy. I think up to almost 45 days in the sim. This year has been equally active with Mercedes, and still there in the UK when I have time, when I’m not racing in F2,” explained the 21-year-old.

“I can’t exactly say how many days I’ve done because I don’t know, but it’s mainly in the sim, in sim work. And then also in the gym and everything there. It’s as much as it’s ever been, I would say, my involvement in the team.

“I know the better I do, the more opportunities I get. And that also means that my main priority is F2, and that has probably also made me this year say ‘okay, let’s relax a little bit on the same days, let’s focus mainly on F2’. And when we get after Monza, I am sure I will live in the simulator at Mercedes.”

Vesti said “being a part of the Mercedes junior programme is definitely a privilege” and was “something I worked really hard to achieve”. F2 races exclusively on F1’s support bill, and although the two paddocks rarely mix it does not prevent him from receiving trackside support from Mercedes. In fact, “they give me all I need to succeed”.

“I would say they give me a lot of confidence, but also working with the best engineers in the world, the best drivers. The sim work is one thing that I gained a lot of experience and let’s say I improve myself every week like that.

“But I think the main thing that has helped me for this year was definitely the F1 test I did end of last year in Abu Dhabi. I think it changed my mindset a bit as well, because before I’ve never been in a F1 car. It was my dream, but it was not for sure that it would ever happen. So I think once I achieved it, I could sort of lay F1 on the side and just focus 100% on F2, which is what is going to bring me into F1 hopefully in the future.”

Vesti believes F2 performances will take precedence over impressing in F1 activities for actually landing a race seat at the top level, as “in my control is my results in F2”, and “luckily I’m working with very good people in Mercedes, my manager Dorte [Riis Madsen], and I’m sure they are working very hard to do what they can do”.