Frederik Vesti: Class of 2023 - Junior Mercedes Program Line-Up

F1: Vesti gets FP1 shot in Mexico City

Mercedes are set to replace George Russell for the first session at the Mexican Grand Prix with Frederik Vesti.

George Russell is set to miss the first session of the Mexican Grand Prix later this year after Mercedes announced that the Briton will be replaced by one of their young drivers.

Russell has firmly established himself as Lewis Hamilton’s teammate with the Silver Arrows having joined the team 18 months ago, but he will not be in the cockpit for the first free practice session at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

According to Danish outlet TV2, Silver Arrows will hand Frederik Vesti the steering wheel for the first free practice session in Mexico City in October as part of F1’s young driver program, with the Dane racing alongside Hamilton.

Vesti is one of the highest-rated drivers in Formula 2, the feeder series that allows young drivers to get a taste of wheel-to-wheel combat at high speed in cars with the same engines.

Mercedes Press Release

Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Junior Driver Frederik Vesti will take part in FP1 for the Mexico City Grand Prix later this year. The Dane will get behind-the-wheel of the W14 for the first time, participating in the opening 60-minute session of the weekend at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

Frederik Vesti, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team
Frederik Vesti, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

The 21-year-old got his first taste of F1 machinery in the end-of-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi last year. He completed 124 laps in the W13, describing it as “the most incredible day.” This will therefore be his second experience in an F1 car and will fulfil one of the two FP1 sessions in which the Team must run a rookie.

Fred, in his sophomore season in the category, is currently second in the 2023 F2 Championship with three rounds of the season to come. He has taken four victories and three other podium finishes, including a stunning feature race win on the streets of Monaco. He joined the Team’s junior driver program in 2021 and is a former winner of the Formula Regional European Championship.

Fred said: “I’m incredibly proud to be doing the FP1 session in Mexico City with the Team – it’s a dream come true. To think in less than two months that I’ll be doing my first official Formula One session with Mercedes, who have won eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships, is amazing. This has been my dream since I was very young and something I’ve been fighting for through my whole junior career. It’s taken a lot of hard work, and this is a very important step for me on my journey. To be able to develop myself in an F1 car alongside some of the best drivers in the world is something I’m looking forward to. I want to thank Mercedes for this incredible opportunity, as well as my sponsors and manager for always believing in me. I can’t wait to be driving W14 for the first time.”

Frederik Vesti, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team
Frederik Vesti, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, commented: “Fred has executed an impressive Formula 2 campaign so far this season. Driving in an FP1 session is the next step in his development and we’re looking forward to giving him that opportunity. He is a talented young driver, not only quick but thoughtful, and he understands exactly what the Team is looking for from him in the car. I am sure he will perform well and provide a solid starting point for our work over the weekend.”

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, added: “Fred acquitted himself faultlessly in the young driver test last year so we’re looking forward to having him in the car once again. He’s shown what he is capable of in F2 this year, combining strong pace with consistency. Fred has been part of the Team for several years now and has been a key part of our simulator development and set-up program. We’re therefore looking forward to giving him his first running in an F1 session on a Grand Prix weekend; that will be another useful step in his development and prove useful in being able to correlate the real-world car with his work back in Brackley. I’m sure he will enjoy the experience.”

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