Mercedes announced the signing of Frederik Vesti as its new junior driver, with the Dane to remain in F3 for his second season in 2021.

The last few weeks had speculations of Vesti joining Mercedes as its new junior driver. After winning the 2019 Formula Regional championship, he did well in his rookie F3 season with Prema against teammates Logan Sargeant and winner Oscar Piastri.

He kept himself in the title hunt until the end in his rookie season. For 2021, Vesti will remain in F3 for his second year but switches to ART alongside Aleksandr Smolyar. It is the same team for whom both George Russell and Esteban Ocon raced as well.

In fact, Vesti is the first ‘senior’ signing after Russell and Ocon. Last year, they roped in Paul Aron but the Estonian is still in the F4 level. The two others to be Mercedes juniors were karters, Andrea Kimi Antonelli and Alex Powell.

“I’ve dreamed of being a Mercedes junior and worked so hard for it, for so many years and that motivation has lifted me every single day,” said Vesti. “To now be working with Mercedes, the best team in the world, is a massive boost for my career and I am really looking forward to building a powerful relationship in the future.

“I admire Mercedes so much for their mentality and their hard-working attitude, which has helped them become so successful. They choose their junior drivers very carefully, so I am really excited to be part of the programme, working with them and developing as a driver. Thank you to Toto and the team for their trust in me and my future.”

At the same time, Gwen Lagrue, Driver Development Advisor for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, said: “Fred’s commitment and dedication is something we love to see and hugely respect. I remember him sending me updates on his debut seasons in single seaters and letting us know details of his progress, which is something we always appreciate.

“His Formula Regional European Championship in 2019 was impressive and in FIA F3 last year, he was very consistent. We are happy to welcome him into the Mercedes family and look forward to seeing him fight for the title this season in FIA F3.”

2021 F3 line-up so far:

Prema: Arthur Leclerc, Dennis Hauger, Olli Caldwell

Hitech GP: Jak Crawford, Ayumu Iwasa, Roman Stanek

ART: Aleksandr Smolyar, Frederik Vesti

HWA Racelab: Matteo Nannini

Carlin: Jonny Edgar

Jenzer: Calan Williams

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