Mercedes: Nyck & Max team mates at Red Bull

Dutchman Nyck de Vries was destined for higher things than being a test and reserve driver in the Mercedes Formula 1 team. This year, the 2019 Formula 2 champion and 2021 Formula E champion will compete for Alpha Tauri in the pinnacle of racing. But that might not be the end of the line for the 28-year-old as Mercedes say we will soon enough see him partnering Max Verstappen at Red Bull.

At least that’s what Andrew Shovlin, trackside engineering director at Mercedes, believes. He has worked closely with de Vries in recent years and therefore knows the Dutchman very well. In the book “Max & Nyck” by Dutch authors Ivo Pakvis and Stijn Keuris, Shovlin speaks very positively about de Vries.


“We might regret letting him go. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him in the Red Bull factory team soon. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if that happens in the next twelve months or so,” Mercedes engineer Shovlin makes unequivocally clear.



Shovlin: de Vries can win Grands Prix

But a lot has to happen for a promotion as early as next year. Sergio Pérez has signed a contract with Red Bull Racing up to and including 2024. In order to end the collaboration prematurely, there would either have to be a clash between him and Max Verstappen within the team, or the Mexican would have to drop significantly in terms of performance.

At the same time, de Vries himself would have to show outstanding performances to even be able to lay claim to promotion to the A-team. Shovlin firmly believes in the Dutchman’s talent:

“I have no doubt that Nyck has the ability to win races if he’s in the right team with the right car.”

“Whether he can become world champion depends on himself. Because of his age, he has less time to do that, but he makes up for that with his experience.”

After all, at 28, de Vries is relatively old for a Formula 1 rookie. On the other hand, he has already seen a lot, for example in the service of Mercedes in Formula E or Toyota in the WEC.



“You can’t stop anyone”.

But when the chance for a regular place in the top flight arose, it became difficult for Mercedes to keep de Vries:

“We had an agreement with Nyck that he could choose the best option if we couldn’t place him with a Mercedes team. He fitted very well into our team, but you can’t stop anyone.”

“He was the ideal test and reserve driver for us. If we could have kept him to use him when needed, we would have done that. But then we would have prevented a driver from pursuing his dream. He meant a lot to Mercedes with his Formula E title and he was also excellent as a reserve driver. That’s why we wanted to continue to help him.”


Will Mercedes and de Vries cross paths again in a few years’ time? Shovlin does not want to rule out a return of the Dutchman.

“There is nothing against it,” says the engineer. Last year, de Vries gave a demonstration of his talent at Mercedes’ customer Williams, where he finished ninth in the points in his very first Grand Prix at Monza.

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