Although he is currently negotiating with three different Formula 1 teams, Nyck de Vries sees his future as a regular driver in Formula 1 as anything but certain, officially. However, de Vries confirmed a meeting with Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko last Friday in Gras so the Dutch driver has been at Red Bull driver HQ to discuss a drive, possibly with a view to replacing Sergio Perez and partnering up with Max Verstappen ultimately.
On the Dutch talk show ‘Humberto op Zaterdag’, however, de Vries confirmed the meeting, something that was reported by Motorsport-Total.com earlier this week. The Dutchman, who made his Formula 1 debut last weekend at the Italian Grand Prix as a substitute for Alexander Albon at Williams, also confirmed a test for Alpine and convinced everyone with ninth place.
But despite talking to three different teams, de Vries says: “I don’t know if I’m in such a luxurious situation that I can choose. It’s largely out of my control.” admits a circumspect de Vries.
A commitment by Williams, with whom de Vries has been in talks for some time, would be a “logical step” for him. But there are other options, he said.
“I have been in contact with Alpine since July and I will be testing for them in Budapest next week. I will fly there on Monday. And as was reported in the media yesterday, I travelled to Austria to meet Helmut Marko,” de Vries said in the interview broadcast on Saturday,
“Those are the facts.”
What is rumoured in the paddock is that Marko is seriously impressed with the young Dutchman, and is targetting him for ‘greater things’, with a first stop at Red Bull junior team, Alpha Tauri.
After IndyCar driver Colton Herta’s move to Formula One fell through, de Vries is a possible successor to Pierre Gasly should the Frenchman move from AlphaTauri to Alpine. The Dutchman does not have a preference for one of the three teams.
“Wherever I can get a permanent place, I would be very happy with that,” he says. “We’ll have to wait and see how the situation develops in the coming days and weeks. As I said, it’s not entirely in my hands.”
If the rumours turn out to be true and de Vries gets the cockpit at AlphaTauri or Alpine, Mick Schumacher’s chances of a place in Formula 1 2022/23, which may start the coming season without a regular German driver following Sebastian Vettel’s retirement, will diminish.
Despite his strong debut and the interest of no less than three teams, the 2021 Formula E World Champion does not yet see it as certain that he will even become a regular driver in Formula 1 next season.
“In this world it’s not all about performance, but there is momentum now. That makes a difference, but it doesn’t guarantee a regular spot,” de Vries says. “We are not there yet.”
Looking back on his Formula One debut at Monza, de Vries says: “The weekend itself was fantastic and flew by. It was a dream come true. What happened afterwards I couldn’t really imagine.”
“On Monday afternoon I was back to reality myself pretty quickly; I am now busy with the future. But all the messages and congratulations I received were very special. It’s nice to get the support from everyone,” de Vries says happily.