Despite having contested only one Formula 1 grand prix, which changed his life completely, Nyck de Vries will debut next year as an AlphaTauri, but he will not be seen as a rookie.
While it is true that it will be his first full-time campaign in motorsport’s top flight, Pierre Gasly’s replacement will have to deal with the ever-high expectations of a Helmut Marko who won’t take his eyes off him.
The Red Bull adviser explained that he was impressed by Nyck de Vries’ technical abilities, particularly when he drove for Aston Martin during free practice at the Italian Grand Prix. The great performance and the points he scored with a very modest Williams, as a substitute for Alex Albon, accelerated the rest of the process.
“He is no longer a young driver, moreover, he has a lot of experience in different championships,” said Helmut Marko. “He had to work very hard to make his mark after his time with McLaren (end of 2019). And what impressed me was when he got behind the wheel of Sebastian Vettel’s car during FP1.
“I listened to his radio and the comments he was making to the team were really good. Then I had a talk with him in Graz and he confirmed that he was the right driver for us,” he added.
The Austrian also admits that before Monza, with Red Bull focused on the hypothetical signing of Colton Herta, Nyck de Vries was “not top of the list” to reach AlphaTauri in 2023.
“What we saw of him at Monza changed things. He arrived on short notice and immediately rose to the occasion. He was under pressure but he didn’t make a single mistake. That’s what impressed us all. very committed, and now he has had a pause in his career. He has had to work hard to get back here and that is why he knows how to fight to the fullest”.
The hiring of the 27-year-old Dutch driver does not follow the usual Red Bull logic, as Nyck de Vries was not in the young driver programme. In addition, the fact of sharing nationality with Max Verstappen could also have played against him.
“Our marketing people say it wasn’t good for us… But we went with it for performance, it was the best option,” reveals Helmut Marko.
Regarding his position in the team in his first season under the roof of Faenza, the Austrian veteran is very clear about what his role should be as a teammate of Yuki Tsunoda, who already has two years of experience in F1: “Yuki is He’s still young, so he should be the one leading the team. We’ll see how he goes next year and what his personality is, but he should be the leader.”
“The future, the future… will the sun rise tomorrow? As we always say, it’s a performance thing. When people do well, you know how this works. But right now we’re not planning anything for 2028, or thinking to get Nyck up to Red Bull one day, we’ll see,” said Helmut Marko to finish.