Frederik Vesti got his first experience of driving a Formula 1 car in Abu Dhabi – and it seems Mercedes could not be happier with his showing.
Since 2021, Vesti has been a member of the Mercedes Junior Team, the Danish racer stepping up to Formula 2 in 2022 and finished his rookie campaign P9 in the standings, claiming the sprint victory in Baku and a further four podium finishes.
And in the Abu Dhabi post-season Formula 1 test, Vesti was given the opportunity to drive machinery from the top class for the first time, getting behind the wheel of the W13 to represent Mercedes on the Young Drivers’ Test side.
Vesti completed 124 laps across the day, finishing 0.024s ahead of George Russell who was sharing 2023 tyre-testing duties with Lewis Hamilton.
Summing up how Vesti got on, “faultless” was the word that came to mind for Mercedes‘ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin.
“We had George and Lewis splitting the running in one car today while Fred was driving the other car all day,” said Shovlin. “George was in the car this morning and Lewis then took over this afternoon.
“Fred has been doing a lot of simulator work for us over the past year or so, but today was his first opportunity to see how the real car compares to the virtual one. He had a faultless day, managed to avoid any mistakes and looked to have had a lot of fun.
“As Pirelli also supplied the 2023 tyres for the young driver’s car, we were also able to accelerate our learning by running through a programme with Fred. Overall, it was a successful test and we’ve covered nearly 1,500 kilometres. It’s been a useful day collecting a lot of data that we can now analyse ahead of next year.”
Vesti said words could not describe how awesome his opportunity had been as he now sets his sights on the 2023 F2 campaign, which will see him switch from the ART team to Prema.
“My first test in an F1 car has been the most incredible day, no words can truly describe how awesome it was!” Vesti stated. “I want to thank Mercedes for giving me this opportunity.
“Driving 260kph through the high-speed corners and experiencing 5G in the neck… the forces a Formula 1 car produces are remarkable. I’ve done 124 laps today learning the car and running on different compounds, so a massive amount of driving.
“To get this opportunity has been hugely important and will help with my next step in Formula 2 as well as my work in the F1 sim. Hopefully I’ll be driving an F1 car again soon and a big thank you to Mercedes for the chance.”
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