Helmut Marko speaks out on sacking Nyck de Vries

Red Bull team advisor Helmut Marko has responded to critics saying that Nyck de Vries was prematurely ousted from AlphaTauri.

Helmut Marko has defended his decision to replace Nyck de Vries with Daniel Ricciardo halfway through the F1 season.

The general reaction to Red Bull’s decision is that it is premature and de Vries has not been given sufficient time to develop as an F1 racer.

But Marko says that he does not consider de Vries a ‘rookie,’ with the Dutchman being a champion in other categories, including Formula E and F2.

He said: “Why wait? We signed Nick because he did a great job at Monza last year.

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“We expected that this year he would at least perform at the level of Yuki Tsunoda, but this did not happen.

“In fact, he was constantly three-tenths slower and we didn’t see any progress.

“He is already 28, he has a lot of experience and knowledge that he gained by driving the cars of different Formula 1 teams as a test driver.

“In my opinion, Nyck cannot be considered a rookie.”

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For these reasons, Marko said he chose not to give de Vries until the summer break to improve his performances.

He added: “At the end of April in Baku, Nyck had a great start to the weekend and I thought he improved, but then he crashed the car again.

“Unfortunately, he did not drive a single super-lap to make a strong impression on us.

“What would two races change if we didn’t see any improvements anyway?”

De Vries has remained quiet since his firing from AlphaTauri, but has been spotted speaking with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff in Monaco.

He has strong links to the Silver Arrows – both as a Formula E and F1 test driver.

However, Marko seemed to twist the knife in further, regarding De Vries potentially moving back to Mercedes.

The Austrian remarked: “I think it will be difficult for him to find another place in Formula 1.

“At the same time, I believe that he knew where everything was going.

“I think he can build a successful career in endurance racing.”

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Marko says that it was ultimately an easy decision to replace de Vries with Ricciardo.

The Australian driver impressed Red Bull team principal Christian Horner with his pace at the Pirelli tyre test at Silverstone this week.

According to reports, Horner phoned Marko about Ricciardo’s pace which led to the Austrian immediately firing de Vries.