Nyck de Vries reveals he told Red Bull he wasn’t ‘stuck’ at Mercedes

AlphaTauri have replaced the Alpine-bound Pierre Gasly with Nyck de Vries for the 2023 season after his stunning performance in Monza.

Nyck de Vries’ Formula 1 dream appeared to be fading last season, as the 27-year-old was still yet to secure a race seat in Formula 1 despite previously winning both the Formula E and Formula 2 titles.

This all changed after the 2022 Grand Prix in Monza when the Mercedes reserve driver was called up to replace Alex Albon at Williams, who was suffering with appendicitis.

The Dutchman was only made aware that he would stand in for the Thai driver just hours before FP3 but impressed the Formula 1 paddock by making it through to Q2 and eventually finishing ninth, demolishing his temporary teammate Nicholas Latifi.

It quickly became clear that the 27-year-old was destined for a race seat in 2023 and after rumours that he could make a permanent switch to Williams, De Vries was announced as AlphaTauri’s replacement for Pierre Gasly.

READ: Lewis Hamilton warns Max Verstappen not to get comfy

With De Vries contracted to Mercedes as their third driver, a move to the Red Bull system seemed impossible but the Dutchman has now explained that he actually instigated the move by explaining his contract situation to Red Bull’s chief advisor Helmut Marko.

“I was a Mercedes driver until 31 December and I realised that a lot of people at the time might still think I would be stuck there,” de Vries told De Telegraaf.

“I called Dr Marko and said it was important to me that he knew I could go wherever I wanted after the year.

“I think the conversation lasted less than three minutes and he said he would get back to me on it. An hour later, he called back.”

Article continues below

Mercedes have wished De Vries well on his new adventure with Red Bull’s sister team, claiming that their reserve driver had earned the opportunity to race in Formula 1 and that they did not want to stand in the way of De Vries’ dream move.

READ: Adrian Newey reveals incident that made Sebastian Vettel ‘absolutely distraught’

After the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes engineers comedically tied the Dutchman up and wheeled him to the AlphaTauri garage, bidding their reserve driver a light-hearted farewell.

The 27-year-old will still technically be classed as a rookie in 2023 despite having participated in one race weekend already, meaning  that 22-year-old Yuki Tsunoda will most likely take more of a senior role at AlphaTauri this year.

Mercedes team principal has said that he hopes his former driver succeeds in his new challenge, even hinting that he would enjoy battling against De Vries should he ever be called up to the Red Bull senior team.