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Vesti on F2 Title Fight and “Childhood Dream” Mexico FP1

It’s not been a straightforward last couple of race weekends in Formula 2 for our Junior Driver, Frederik Vesti. But that’s fired him up even more to fight back at the finale in Abu Dhabi later in the year.

He’s showed strong pace at the last three race weekends in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, but has failed to score in each of the Feature races.

Fred therefore finds himself P2 in the Drivers’ Championship, despite winning the most races – five – of any driver. He’s got a 25-point deficit to his rival Théo Pourchaire, but there’s still all to play for.

F2 now has a break of over two months. Fred will still be keeping busy though, continuing his sim work for our F1 team and also has the Mexico FP1 session to look forward to.

We caught up with Fred to chat through the past few weekends and find out what he’ll be up to during this break in racing.

Hey Fred, Monza had such a rollercoaster of emotions. You’ve had a bit of time now to reflect on the weekend, how do you sum it up?

“Obviously we had the win on Saturday in the Sprint, which was very important for me, after two difficult Sundays in Spa and Zandvoort. I had lost a bit of momentum, so it was important for me to get that win and set myself up for the Feature, which is where the big points are awarded. I had a good car and I was ready to go for it on Sunday. One of my goals in Monza was to be able to leave having no regrets and knowing I’d not left anything on the table. I had a good lap one and was in P4. Obviously getting pushed off into the gravel and hitting the wall was never part of the plan. It was difficult for me to accept and still is, even a week on from it. The only thing that helped me was that I went for it, it wasn’t a passive move, it was aggressive. I wanted to win. When you take risks, there can be consequences. Sadly, this was a big consequence, but I am still glad I went for it.”

Monza was your fifth win of the season. The pace has been there all year so that must give you confidence heading to Abu Dhabi?

“Definitely. I don’t think we’ve had a bad weekend in terms of performance. My worst qualifying was Melbourne in the wet and I ended up going from P13 to fourth in the Feature. A lot of thanks has to go to Prema and my engineer, Mercedes and everyone involved. Looking to Abu Dhabi, I am full of confidence in the team and my ability to go fast. What it takes in F2 is to be consistent and always score points. I’ve failed a little on that in the second half of the season, but I am confident that we can go to Abu Dhabi, challenge for the top spots and maximise the car every session. I’m not giving up without a fight.”

I’m not giving up without a fight.

Frederik Vesti

What’s it like now having such a big break before the finale in Abu Dhabi? What will you be focusing on?

“I’m already focused on how I can improve myself and what I can learn from all the things we’ve done this year. Having such a big break is very rare, almost what it’s like between the last race of a season and the first race of the next season. It’s actually a big challenge for drivers but my plan is to stay fit in the gym, mental preparations and lots of sim work with Mercedes.”

You’ve got a tough championship fight ahead of you in Abu Dhabi, how will you be approaching the weekend?

“I need to take pole position and win races. That’s what I am there to do. If I want to win the championship, it needs to be because I am the fastest driver in Abu Dhabi. That’s how I can prepare myself in the simulator, trying to be focused on what’s important in F2. We know we have good knowledge of the car at Prema. I need to maximise everything; I know I need to perform at the highest level. There is pressure but I will treat the last round almost like I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

You’ve got your FP1 session in Mexico coming up too, how excited are you for that and what preparation will you be doing for that?

“It’s a childhood dream. Just talking about it is crazy. It’s something I’ve always believed in and wanted to do. To do it with Mercedes is very special. I remember four years ago, the only team I wanted to sign with as a Junior Driver was Mercedes. To have the chance to drive their F1 car in an official F1 session is giving me goosebumps. It’s a huge motivation. I am sure I will learn a lot and will try to extract as much from the experience, both from Lewis and George, but also all the engineers.”

How much has your work with Mercedes on the F1 side helped you improve as a driver and helped with your F2 season?

“The sim work I’m doing has always been very important for me. It’s my chance to work with some of the best engineers and my chance to learn from Lewis and George. They have been very open to teach me things and give me the best possible ideas of how to drive an F1 car and improve. It’s made me a lot better at extracting the maximum from the car and delivering the right feedback. It is not easy in the sim or in the car, but that feedback is very important. Having that knowledge has also helped me a lot in F2. I started in the sim in 2022 and have learned a lot since then. I am looking forward to improving as a racing driver and improving with the team.”