Toto Wolff makes shocking claim about Nyck de Vries and Red Bull

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has chimed in on Nyck de Vries being sacked by Red Bull.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has weighed in on Nyck de Vries’ career trajectory, hinting that the young driver might have been a viable contender for a Red Bull Formula 1 seat had he been given more time to prove his capabilities. 

De Vries, following a noteworthy debut with Williams in Italy the previous year, was recruited by AlphaTauri for the 2023 season. 

However, after just ten races into his rookie campaign, the Dutchman was replaced by veteran Daniel Ricciardo, who is eyeing a potential return to Red Bull.

De Vries had been deeply embedded within the Mercedes organisation prior to his AlphaTauri venture. 

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In 2021, he clinched a World Championship with the Mercedes Formula E team, showcasing his prowess in electric racing. 

Furthermore, he served as one of Mercedes’ F1 reserve drivers and even participated in two Free Practice 1 sessions with the Brackley-based outfit during the preceding year.

Wolff, in hindsight, suggested that de Vries might have required more time to acclimate to the high-pressure world of Formula 1, thereby opening the doors to greater opportunities in the future. 

In an interview with Sky F1, Wolff remarked, “Maybe he needed more time. 

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“If he had been given the season, who knows? 

“Maybe he would have been a really good candidate for the Red Bull seat, too? 

“They wanted, I think, to do some benchmarking with Ricciardo. 

“To see if Daniel might be able to take [Sergio Perez’s] seat. 

“Once you’ve made that decision, then of course [De Vries will] fall through the cracks. 

“I’m a fan of [De Vries] because he’s incredibly intelligent for vehicle development and has always contributed a lot.”

The discussions surrounding de Vries’ potential come at a time when speculation about the Red Bull F1 seat situation is rife. 

With Sergio Perez’s contract set to expire at the conclusion of 2024, a vacancy is on the horizon, prompting speculation about possible contenders for the coveted position.

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Wolff’s sentiment regarding de Vries’ premature departure isn’t singular. Yuki Tsunoda, de Vries’ former teammate at AlphaTauri, also expressed his surprise at the timing of the decision to replace him.

As de Vries navigates his career post-AlphaTauri, he is yet to unveil his next racing endeavours. However, he was spotted at the Formula E finale in London, sparking rumours of a return to his old branch of motorsport.

De Vries could potentially find a home back in Formula E given his status as a former champion, taking the title home in the 2020-21 season.