Mercedes F1 reserve driver and season seven Formula E champion Nyck de Vries was caught up in a feisty encounter at the season eight finale at Seoul, South Korea, with former F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein.
De Vries who drives for the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team and Wehrlein who drives for the Porsche Formula E Team, battled hard in the final race of the season.
The duo collided at Turn One whilst fighting for a non-point scoring 13th place, with De Vries having been adjudged to have caused the incident.
Wehrlein was forced into an instant retirement; however, he had the time to blast De Vries over the radio.
“I hope he doesn’t get to F1!” said the furious former Manor and Sauber driver, before calling de Vries a “f***ing idiot”.
De Vries has been rumoured as being a candidate for the Williams Racing seat, and even drove for the team during FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix. He has also been tipped as Sir Lewis Hamilton’s eventual replacement at Mercedes.
It’s looking increasingly unlikely that the Dutchman will be making his long-awaited switch to F1, with the 27-year-old looking set to sign a deal to race for the new Maserati Formula E Team in 2023.
Maserati are set to take over the current Venturi Racing side, similar to how the Mercedes-EQ team are being replaced by the new McLaren Formula E Team.
Incredibly, the pair collided more than once before they were both forced into retirements.
The German driver told The Race about the first initial incident, where Wehrlein explained he “almost crashed”.
“First of all, in the first incident he moved under braking in Turn 20,” said Wehrlein.
“I had to lock all my tyres and almost crashed and lost one or two positions due to that.”
The Porsche driver’s retirement came a lap later, after De Vries attempted an “over-optimistic” overtake on the Mexico E-Prix winner.
“One lap later I think he took attack mode and the first possible option he tried an over-optimistic move into Turn 1 – sliding completely to the exit of the corner, crashing into my car, braking the suspension, destroying his race with way too late braking so he didn’t really get the corner anymore which isn’t really understandable,” said 27-year-old German.
Whilst Wehrlein pulled-off into a run-off section to retire, De Vries made his way back to the pits but was also forced into retirement due to a cut tyre and suspension damage.
De Vries’ punishment for causing the collision was a pointless five-second penalty, that was awarded after he retired, and two penalty points on his superlicence.
The former Formula E World Champion was accused of not driving to the “standard” of the all-electric series, which celebrated its 100th race at the season finale.
“It’s not the standard of this championship. I mean… these moves!” Wehrlein accused.
“In the end my race was destroyed, his race was destroyed and he got two penalty points for it, licence points.
“It’s quite often the same drivers with over-motivated moves and unfortunately this time I was the victim of him.”
Following on from what the German driver said, De Vries was asked if he’d heard what Wehrlein told the media.
It’s fair to say De Vries wasn’t interested in playing any games with the ex-F1 driver, after saying that he “didn’t hear what he said”.
“What can I say? Everyone is allowed to say what they want to say. Everyone is making a big deal of it but I don’t know.”
De Vries’ retirement from the season finale summed up a year where he was consistently beaten by team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, who won the season eight Formula E World Championship in the final race of the season.
As well as this, Mercedes-EQ won the Constructors’ crown for the second consecutive season, sealing the perfect goodbye to the championship.
The Dutch driver was “super, super glad for the team” and for Vandoorne, “who did an amazing and very consistent season”.
It was clear De Vries was feeling subdued, with him admitting that he was feeling “disappointed in my own season” after finishing ninth in the Drivers’ Championship.
“It’s not always obvious from the outside, but it just became a bit of a snowball effect,” said de Vries.
“There were so many little things that always kind of set in our way.
“They were just enough to kind of prevent us from executing consistent points, and then sometimes we took the big ones [wins in Diriyah and Berlin].
“But ultimately, yeah, on my side of the garage, we just didn’t really find our way and then we were on the backfoot, and it was just a snowball effect.”