Frederik Vesti says he had been in contact with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team long before they brought him into their young driver programme.
The Danish driver, who will compete in the FIA Formula 3 Championship for a second season in 2021 with ART Grand Prix, joined the programme that has helped bring both Esteban Ocon and George Russell to Formula 1 earlier this year, but initial contact with them came many years before.
Vesti says he had to show he had what it takes to be a frontrunner in order to force his way into Mercedes’ plans, so the pressure he expects to be on him going forward has always been there through his junior formulae career.
The nineteen-year-old won the Formula Regional European Championship title in 2019 with Prema Powerteam and raced in FIA Formula 3 with the same team last year, taking three race wins on his way to fourth in the standings. It was enough for Mercedes to take the plunge and bring him into their junior team.
“Pressure is always there, ever since you start racing karts, but for me the choice of Mercedes does not mean pressure, rather having a great opportunity to work with a group of extremely competitive and prepared people,” said Vesti to Motorsport.com.
“Joining the Mercedes junior programme is a valuable opportunity for my career.
“A deal like this takes time. The team needs to see my growth as a driver, while I need to understand if the team is able to give me all the tools to grow. Before signing the contract I had to show all my potential.
“They started following me three years ago, but at the beginning they were only superficial contacts. When I started to win we started to talk and they evaluated not only the positive moments, but also how I reacted in the negative ones.”