Mercedes EQ Formula E driver and Formula 1 test driver Nyck de Vries has revealed that he will consider heading to America to compete in IndyCar, but would like to exhaust all of his options in Europe first.
The Dutchman joined his Formula E team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, Ferrari junior Callum Ilott and Williams reserve Jack Aitken for an IndyCar test at Sebring in December, and impressed with his performance for the Mayer Shank team.
The possibility of him travelling across the Atlantic to ply his trade arrive amid rumours that he could be set for a seat on F1 in the near future, which could well be sooner than anticipated depending on how Sir Lewis Hamilton’s jewellery situation with the FIA plays out.
The Meyer Shank team won a race last year through Helio Castroneves, while Jack Harvey scored points in all of the 16 races he contested last season, finishing in the top 10 six times.
The Briton was replaced by Simon Pagenaud ahead of the new year and, with the driver market fluctuating much more in IndyCar than it does in F1, there are naturally more opportunities for a talented like de Vries.
The reigning Formula 1 champion revelled in the running he completed in Florida a few months ago, and says he immediately felt comfortable with the machinery.
“Meyer Shank were great guys,” he told Autosport.
“It’s a very different form of racing in the US. I would say it’s mostly comparable to Formula 2 almost, given the fact that everyone has the same car. Obviously, there are different engine manufacturers [Honda and Chevrolet].
“I would probably compare it to Formula 2, in the sense that the basics of the equipment is the same. And then it’s up to the teams to make the differences – obviously the car’s a bit quicker.
“But also from a feeling point of view, I felt quite quickly at home, I will admit it was very physical. And then the Americans, they love show and they love racing, and it’s very pure, which is refreshing sometimes.
“At the same time, I also love the professionalism, the technicality and kind of sophisticated elements of Formula 1, Hypercars [in the World Endurance Championship] and Formula E because all of them have their own challenges.”
With Nicholas Latifi struggling at Williams at the beginning of 2022, de Vries has also been linked with his seat for next year and, having won a race in European Le Mans with G-Drive last season before joining Toyota in the World Endurance Championship for 2022, the 27-year-old’s priorities are very much European-based for now.
“At the moment I’m in Europe in Formula E and part of Toyota as well,” he explained.
“So I’ll have to see how the next months are developing and then at some point, I guess I’ll get to know what my future would look like, at least in the mid-term.”
Vandoorne contested 42 races with McLaren between 2016 and 2018, and is the current Formula E championship leader having taken a win and two podiums this season.
His name can very much be thrown in the hat should Hamilton miss the Monaco Grand Prix when his jewellery exemption comes to an end, and McLaren Arrow SP boss Taylor Kiel was hugely impressed with the Belgian’s showing in December.
“I would say Stoffel’s in the conversation, no doubt,” he stated.
However, he would only consider accepting him into the team – which currently consists of Patricio O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist – if the 30-year-old shows a genuine interest.
“He did a great job for us today but we’re well away from a decision at the moment,” added Kiel.
“It’s a two-way street – he’s got to go away and digest what IndyCar is, what these cars are like and what our team is, and if he decides it’s something he’d like to do, then we’ll have a conversation at that point.”
Vandoorne and de Vries are both in Germany this weekend contesting the Berlin E-Prix at the Tempelhof airport.