After running out of place in Formula 1, and after having won the Formula 2 title, de Nyck de Vries sought refuge in Formula E, where he won the championship in the 2020-21 campaign, with Mercedes.
Thanks to this award and his experience as a reserve driver for Mercedes, the Dutchman never completely separated himself from Formula 1 . The last Italian Grand Prix, where he had to replace Alex Albon in extremis , changed everything. His excellent debut in the Great Circus caught the attention of several teams, although it was AlphaTauri who ended up taking the cat to the water.
Despite the fact that it will be his first full-time season in Formula 1 and that he will have Yuki Tsunoda as his partner, with two years of experience in the category, Helmut Marko believes that it will be the Dutchman who will de facto lead the squad’s project Italian.
“Yuki is young and doesn’t have his experience and track record, so [de Vries] should lead the team,” Marko said.
“We’ll see how next year goes, but from his experience and personality, he should be the team leader.”
Marko believes de Vries’ experience driving for Mercedes-powered teams, which includes Mercedes itself but also Williams and Aston Martin, will be useful to AlphaTauri.
“Of course the team will benefit from it,” he added. “He is a reserve driver for almost all the Mercedes teams on the grid and has been in several simulators,” he explained, making it clear that they will make use of the information he can provide.
When asked about Marko’s comments, de Vries stated that he appreciated the “compliment” and said he was confident he could live up to the expectations of being a leader.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” de Vries responded. “I don’t think you necessarily need F1 experience to lead a project, that comes with the character, the personality and the way you are.
“Even if I haven’t done a season, I still know what I think I need from the car, the package and the people around me to get it together. I’m sure of it.”
Marko did not want to dwell on the chances that de Vries could one day form a pair with two-time world champion Max Verstappen, who recommended the signing of his compatriot. Instead, Marko preferred to focus on de Vries meeting AlphaTauri in 2023.
“As always, it’s all about performance for us,” explained Marko. “When people perform, then you know how it goes… But we’re not thinking about 2028 or if Nyck will be at Red Bull Racing one day, it’s just about performance.
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