August is traditionally the start of the summer’s silly season when rumors about driver movement for the upcoming season start to circulate. The dismissal of Nyck de Vries by AlphaTauri, who replaced him with veteran driver Daniel Ricciardo, kicked off the silly season a little early this year. While we wait for additional rumors to bombard our inboxes and timelines in the coming weeks, Mercedes has some news to share. The Silver Arrows announced on Tuesday that Frederik Vesti, a member of their junior squad who is currently racing in Formula 2, will replace George Russell in the first practice session of the Mexican Grand Prix in October.
Vesti is having a good season in F2, presently second in the Drivers’ standings to Theo Pourchaire. Vesti has won four races this season, including the F2 Feature Race at the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix. I’m incredibly proud to be doing the FP1 session with the Team in Mexico City – it’s a dream come true, Vesti stated in the team’s release. It’s incredible to think that in less than two months I’ll be doing my first official Formula One session with Mercedes, who have won eight consecutive Constructors Championships. This has been my desire since I was a child, and I’ve fought for it throughout my junior career.
It’s taken a lot of hard work, and this is a critical step in my journey. I’m excited to be able to develop myself in an F1 car alongside some of the best drivers in the world, Vesti added. I would like to thank Mercedes for this incredible opportunity, as well as my sponsors and manager for their unwavering faith in me. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of W14 for the first time.
Each team is obligated by F1 rules to run a rookie driver, defined as a driver with less than two grand prix of experience in two FP1 sessions during the season. This will be one of Mercedes’ two such sessions in 2023.
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, added Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff. 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, he concluded.