Nyck De Vries looks back on his crucial meeting with Helmut Marko, head of motorsport development and a crucial part of Red Bull’s Formula 1 driver program. ‘Quick Nyck’ has spoken in more detail about his crucial meeting with Red Bull’s motorsport advisor, Dr Helmut Marko, in September.
In 2023, Nyck de Vries will join the Formula One grid as a regular with the AlphaTauri team, with whom the Dutchman has signed a multi-year contract. De Vries – who was crowned Formula E champion in 2021 – will team up with Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda next year and will directly replace Frenchman Pierre Gasly, who will join the Alpine team.
Dutchman impresses at Monza
All this accelerated in September during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza for Nick de Vries when the Dutchman was called in at the last minute by the Williams team to replace Alex Albon who was hospitalised with appendicitis.
De Vries slipped into the Williams suit and jumped into the car for FP3 of the Italian GP before qualifying in the top ten in the qualifying session and finishing ninth on Sunday when the chequered flag flew.
Nyck de Vries’ superb performance at the Italian Grand Prix obviously left no one in the paddock indifferent and it is therefore only logical that the young man had several discussions with different team managers in the aftermath of the Italian GP, but in the end it is with the Red Bull clan that De Vries will begin his F1 career next year.
Dinner with Max kick-started it all
Looking back on this crucial period, De Vries explained that it was during a dinner with compatriot Max Verstappen the day after the Italian Grand Prix that he first discussed the AlphaTauri track on the advice of the two-time world champion:
“I had dinner with Max on the Monday night in Monaco to kind of celebrate the weekend,” the Dutchman explained on the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast.
“We talked openly about possibilities and opportunities. We talked potentially about AlphaTauri, Dr Marko [Helmut], and that’s how it went. Later in the week I was seen in Graz.”
Regarding this crucial meeting with Dr Marko, De Vries describes a “simple and pleasant” moment with the man who will eventually get him a starting seat in Formula 1 with the AlphaTauri team from next season.
“We had a good time together. We spent two days eating local Austrian food, talking about the future together. He has a good sense of humour and we respect each other,” added Nyck de Vries about Helmut Marko.
“I think he appreciated that I was there in person and that we could have direct conversations. At Red Bull it’s all about performance and winning and I share that, so it was very straightforward and enjoyable.”
“Obviously the deal wasn’t just in my hands, it was a bit more complicated, as anyone can understand. But basically, this trip made me realise that there was a very good chance I would be on the grid in 2023.”
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