AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has insisted that Nyck de Vries “needs minimum three years” to get to grips with Formula 1, following reports that the Dutchman is already at risk of being sacked by Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko.
According to Motorsport.com, Marko has informed De Vries that he has the upcoming triple-header to show a considerable improvement or be replaced by Red Bull development driver and eight-time race winner Daniel Ricciardo.
These reports have since been rejected; however, time is certainly not in De Vries’ favour.
The Dutchman has failed to show the pace that saw him awarded the seat in the first place, with him yet to match his sensational performance at Monza last season after he replaced Alex Albon ahead of FP3.
The AlphaTauri driver is one of two drivers yet to score a point this season, with him having been criticised last Sunday after going into the back of Lando Norris at the opening corner.
De Vries’ best result so far this year is 14th, a position he claimed in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
The former Formula E World Champion has certainly been out-performed by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, who has made a drastic improvement so far this campaign.
Despite his struggles, Tost insists that De Vries must be given time to discover “the limit”, with the AlphaTauri boss explaining how this takes a driver at least three years.
“Yuki is doing a really good job. You can see his learning curve is going up very good, I must say,” Tost said, as reported by the Express.co.uk.
“And Nyck, as I always say, if a rookie is coming to Formula One, he needs minimum three years to understand what’s going on here. It’s as I always say [it’s] the learning process and the ‘crash period’ because if the drivers don’t crash, they don’t know the limit. This is a credit you must give them, otherwise it doesn’t work.
“There was no driver not crashing. I remember back to Sebastian, maybe in the first races came back in the first lap, most often without the front nose. It’s part of the game.”
Marko likely won’t be pleased with how much De Vries has struggled, with the Austrian having explained last year that the 28-year-old should be able to “lead the team”, something that is yet to happen.
“Yuki is young and doesn’t have this experience and background, so [Nyck] should lead the team,” Marko said last October.
“We will see how it goes next year, but from the experience and the personality he has, he should be the team leader.”