Exclusive: Vesti On F3 Season: ‘Nowhere Near Where We Deserve To Be’

Regarded as one of the very best young talents in the world right now, ART Grand Prix’s Frederik Vesti has very high aspirations. And as we approach the final leg of the 2021 FIA F3 Championship, the 19-year-old Dane reflects on his summer break, what he thinks of his season so far, as well as what he really thinks of the polarising new race weekend format.

By Matt Jeffray

Unlike previous years, the drivers in FIA F3 are having to wait an awfully long time in between races due the nature of the new race weekend format. But nonetheless, Vesti has been using the conventional August break to have some down time before resetting and focusing on returning to Spa-Francorchamps next weekend, with the intention of improving on his current fourth place in the driver’s standings. 

“Well, I don’t usually have much of a summer break, but this year of course we had some time because we had one month during August which was pretty nice. I took one week off in Greece just after Hungary and the back home and straight into the gym with running and cycling, all the work that needs to be done. 

“We don’t have regulations forcing the team to shut down during the summer break in F3, but it’s quite natural to have a summer break especially for the hard-working mechanics and engineers. It’s really important for them to have a good break, and the teams are very good at regulating that.”

New weekend format

One of the biggest talking points coming into 2021 was the revised weekend format in the FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships, with the focus being on more races in the weekend, as well as more reverse grid races intended to spice up the action. With less race meetings causing bigger breaks between events, and more unpredictable race results from the new format, Vesti was immediate to point out it’s pros and cons, as well as pointing out how it could be improved if it remains into 2022 and beyond.

Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

“For me I think there’s good things like if you retire in race one, you still have time to fight back in race two and three. There are more possibilities of scoring points which is definitely good. The bad thing is that it can be so random now. It’s a weird feeling not knowing where you’re starting and when you do a good result you’ll be out way back in the grid for the next race. 

“It’s not a good feeling when you do a good job and then you effectively get punished for it. But again, it’s the same for all thirty drivers so I think if you’re fast, you’ll definitely get points during the weekend. Last year, if you had a bad race on Saturday, it would also affect your Sunday. I think it could be improved but it definitely has its good and bad sides.

“I would like to keep the reverse grid format, but maybe just make it a top eight reverse. That way it makes it more realistic to score better points in a race where you get a setback, and also gives a chance to slower cars. The current setup with top twelve reverse can take away the winning feeling.”

Lots to improve

And after finishing fourth in the driver standings in his debut year in FIA F3 in 2020, Vesti would’ve been hoping for more as he transitioned over to ART Grand Prix from Prema for 2021, especially with the weight of being one of the title favourites coming into his second year. But he still looks back on the season in a positive manner, and outlines where he and the team can make improvements to finish the season in a strong and hopefully successful way.

Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

“I think the team and me as a driver, we’ve got lots of things to improve on. But in many ways the season has gone well. At the beginning of the year there was a lot of work to find a rhythm in the new team (ART) and learning all the team and procedures. But looking at P4, it’s nowhere near where we deserve to be. We’ve had three mechanical failures in the last three rounds, which has forced me to score zero points on a Saturday.

“In Austria I did a great race one coming from P11 and stalling the car, leaving myself at the back of the pack! But I was able to recover to P7. We’ve really not maximised our potential, but we’re looking at ways to improve the consistency within the team.”

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