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Nyck de Vries

De Vries Exclusive: From 'one percent hope' to 'dreaming' of Verstappen partnership

On the run-up to his AlphaTauri debut, RacingNews365 chatted to Nyck de Vries, who explained how he thought his Formula 1 dream would "never happen".

De Vries Bahrain Test
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

At 28 years old, Nyck de Vries becomes one of the oldest drivers to make participate in their first full-time F1 season.

The Formula 2 and Formula E World Champion seemingly came from F1 obscurity to emerge as one of the most sought after drivers in last season's driver transfer chaos.

Competent test and development driver outings put him at the front of the queue for a late call-up to the grid, when the Williams team needed a last-minute replacement for a hospitalised Alex Albon at the 2022 Italian GP.

The Dutchman impressed with a debut points finish, and sparked what seemed to be a mad dash to secure his services for this season.

AlphaTauri won the race for his signature, with the Italian team confident that they've found a replacement for their star driver Pierre Gasly, who switched to Alpine.

Once tipped as a star of the future, De Vries' stock seemingly fell when he failed to match Formula 2 hotshots George Russell, Lando Norris and Alex Albon, taking the F2 title after all three had been promoted to F1.

De Vries' remarkable fightback is one that he feared had slipped away from him, but he insists that he never completely let go of the F1 dream.

"I thought many times it would never happen," De Vries exclusively told RacingNews365.com.

"But at the same time, I was not prepared to give up on my dream, and one or two percent of hope is enough to keep going. Until your chances are really zero, then you're still in it.

"With where my career was going, and how Mercedes was withdrawing from Formula E, the Hypercar [World Endurance Championship category] gaining momentum, I was just in a position where I was able to kind of keep all the options and opportunities open.

"It was not always easy, but I always knew that this is ultimately what I wanted."

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Would a Red Bull seat await an AlphaTauri driver?

As ever with Red Bull 'sister team' AlphaTauri, successful drivers are sometimes considered for a seat at the main Red Bull team.

With World Champion Max Verstappen dominating teammate Sergio Perez in the last couple of seasons, there is anticipation to see if the reigning champions will soon consider replacing their 'number 2' driver with somebody who can challenge Verstappen on a more regular basis.

When asked about the prospect of creating an all-Dutch lineup alongside Verstappen at Red Bull in the future, De Vries insisted that his primary focus is on scoring "regular points" for AlphaTauri, with the aim of earning his opportunities higher up the grid.

"I think we should be dreaming. But equally, I am ahead of my first official weekend in Formula One, and I'm very happy to be here," added De Vries.

"I'm also very determined to perform together with the team. Ultimately, it's my job to earn my opportunities, and I think that is the only way to kind of continue my career in Formula One, successfully forwards.

"So I'll be focused on doing a good job here, and then, who knows what the future brings.

"I think that's very early days and, at the moment, I'm very happy in my new environment, and we are all very motivated to start this new season."

Also interesting:

Ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, RacingNews365.com journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth analyse where each of the F1 teams stands after pre-season testing.

F1 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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