Nyck de Vries sparks conspiracy theories after Toto Wolff meeting

Nyck de Vries was fired by Red Bull earlier this week, with Daniel Ricciardo taking his seat.

Photos have emerged showing Nyck de Vries, recently released from his position as a driver for AlphaTauri, having lunch with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff at a café in Monaco. 

De Vries’s tenure with AlphaTauri lasted less than a year, failing to make an impression on Helmut Marko, who oversaw his development at Red Bull.

Given de Vries’s short and unremarkable stint with Red Bull’s sister team, fans have speculated whether his meeting with Wolff was part of a scheme to gather inside information on the reigning constructor champions for Mercedes. 

Several Reddit threads were filled with conspiracy theories from fans discussing the nature of the encounter. 

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One user humorously wrote, “The Toto masterplan: send Nyck in to spy on RB, and then take him back with insider knowledge.” 

Another user quipped, “Red Bull masterplan is sending him back with AlphaTauri knowledge. ‘We taught him wrong, as a joke’.” 

Yet another user added, “Toto: ‘So, vat did you learn of the inner workings of Red Bull?’.” 

A fourth user suggested, “Now hear me out… What if Toto planted Nyck as a mole within RB, and this was all a plan that completely backfired in the end!”

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The move to Red Bull’s junior team surprised people when it was first announced, as De Vries had been a key member of the Mercedes family, competing for the brand’s Formula E team for three seasons.

De Vries, a former Formula 2 champion, departed AlphaTauri without scoring a single point in his 10 races and had previously received a warning from Marko regarding his performance. 

Marko stated, “We spoke to De Vries and he agrees with us, he needs to improve. 

“The gap to teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who is doing a great job, is too big. 

“To use footballer jargon, Nyck has a yellow card but not the red one yet. 

“If he improves, a driver change will not be an issue.”

De Vries failed to beat his teammate in every one of his outings for AlphaTauri, only managing a season best of P14.

The Dutchman’s performance was also marred by a number of avoidable and costly crashes that disappointing AlphaTauri, including two in one weekend at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Marko also mentioned the contingency plans in case of the worst-case scenario, stating, “If the worst came to the worst, we would fall back on our pool of young talent. 

“Specifically, Liam Lawson and Ayumu Iwasa. Ricciardo is not an issue.” 

As a result, Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo has been chosen to replace de Vries at AlphaTauri on loan.

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AlphaTauri Team Principal Franz Tost expressed his satisfaction with Ricciardo’s return, saying, “I’m very pleased to welcome Daniel back into the team. 

“There’s no doubt about his driving skills, and he already knows many of us, so his integration will be easy and straightforward. 

“The team will also benefit greatly from his experience, as he is an eight-time Formula 1 Grand Prix winner.”