Nyck de Vries has revealed that Max Verstappen played an integral role in him signing with AlphaTauri next season.
The Red Bull junior side had initially signed Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda for another year, but Alpine came knocking for the Frenchman when they lost both Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri in the space of a month.
Red Bull were happy to let their driver go, but they first needed to negotiate a price with Alpine to buy Gasly out of his contract, and they needed to find a replacement for the 26-year-old.
They tried to go for Colton Herta, but the Andretti IndyCar driver has not earned enough points to qualify for a super license.
However, de Vries reappeared on the F1 radar when he deputised for Alex Albon at Williams.
The Thai-British driver had fallen ill with appendicitis at the Italian Grand Prix, so the British side called up de Vries, who had already been practicing with Aston Martin that weekend.
The Dutchman scored points on his Formula 1 debut in ninth place, and AlphaTauri have now captured him for next year.
De Vries, who won the Formula 2 title in 2019 and the Formula E Championship two years later, is currently signed to Mercedes as a test and reserve driver, but those links will end at the close of 2022.
The 27-year-old was in conversation with Williams about replacing Nicholas Latifi next year, and he tested with Alpine in Budapest, but he will be an AlphaTauri driver next year.
It was, ironically, a former Red Bull and Toro Rosso driver in Albon that had helped de Vries showcase his talents, and it was the reigning champion who put in a good work to adviser, Dr Helmut Marko.
“Max has, without a doubt, said a few good words about me to Dr Marko, and later that week I was in Austria, that’s how fast it went,” de Vries told Viaplay.
“On the other hand, I was also in conversation with Williams, I was testing for alpine… but yeah, the most obvious decision is then clear.”
De Vries is the 17th Dutch driver to have competed in a world championship F1 race.