Nyck de Vries’ ex-boss opens up on his ‘diplomatic’ character after Red Bull move

AlphaTauri have replaced the Alpine-bound Pierre Gasly with Nyck de Vries in 2023.

Nyck de Vries was catapulted into the spotlight earlier this year as the Dutchman stepped in the Williams cockpit in Monza to replace the hospitalised Alex Albon.

The 27-year-old performed magnificently in the Thai driver’s absence, scoring points and beating his temporary teammate Nicholas Latifi despite only finding out he would be driving for Williams hours before FP3.

This result make the 2019 Formula 2 champion hot property as teams sought to finalise their driver lineup for 2023, with the Dutchman eventually choosing to sign a contract with AlphaTauri to replace Pierre Gasly.

It initially seemed unlikely that Mercedes would allow their reserve driver to move to Red Bull’s sister team, but after realising that De Vries had earned his chance a as race seat, the Silver Arrows did not stand in the way of the Dutchman’s move.

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De Vries won the 2020-21 Formula E championship with Mercedes and his former boss Ian James has suggested that the 27-year-old is a nailed on success in Formula 1.

“I think it’s so richly deserved,” said the former Mercedes-EQ boss.

“He was somebody that we took a look at before coming in for season six and recognised his qualities, not only as a driver but as a team player.

“Any team that he drives for is going to benefit from that approach. He has a way of saying what needs to be said, pointing out where improvements can be made, but doing it in a diplomatic fashion that doesn’t get people’s backs up.

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“I think that he’s going to be very well positioned, notwithstanding Formula 1 is a different series. It’s brutal, and I think he’s going to have his work cut out, but his character I think will stand him in good stead.”

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De Vries has admitted that he had all but given up on his Formula 1 dream after seeing rookies come and go in the sport, while he was still waiting for his chance after winning the F2 championship in 2019.

The Dutchman will partner young Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri next season, who now has two years of experience in F1 despite being only 22 years of age.

This could lead to an intersing dynamic in the team, as De Vries is much the older driver with experience from a successful team like Mercedes, but is technically still considered a rookie, while Tsunoda is not.