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Nyck de Vries

De Vries F1 story gets worse with costly lawsuit loss

Even before Nyck de Vries was on the grid for his first full-time Formula 1 season in Bahrain in 2023, there was some commotion about a lawsuit that one of his investors had filed against him. The judge has now delivered a verdict.

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Nyck de Vries will lose a significant chunk of his F1 earnings after losing out in a lawsuit against his former investors, Investrand.

The Dutchman lasted only 10 races after a miserable start to last season with AlphaTauri [now Visa Cash App RB] and now finds himself in the World Endurance Championship with Toyota's Hypercar effort.

But a lawsuit was left overhanging de Vries and Investrand over a disagreement surrounding his status as a substitute driver for Williams at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix.

The agreement in place saw Investrand, led by Jeroen Schothorst, invest €250,000 in de Vries' career in 2018, which helped him compete in F2 that season.

But it was expected that, should de Vries become an active F1 driver before the end of 2022, he would share 50 per cent of his F1 earnings with Investrand, whilst a failure to become active on the grid before the cut-off point would lead to the investment being written off entirely.

The only exception to the agreement was if de Vries became a test driver, which wouldn't have counted towards him being active.

The verdict

The Dutch driver had been Mercedes' reserve and test driver in 2022, completing mileage in practice sessions for no fewer than three teams but, when Alex Albon was forced out of the Italian Grand Prix with appendicitis, de Vries was called up by Williams.

De Vries and his representatives argued that, as this was a one-off race and he was not contracted in a full-time seat, his participation did not warrant becoming an active F1 driver, thus not triggering the payback clause.

But a ruling by the Amsterdam District Court has landed in favour of Investrand, meaning de Vries must now pay 50 per cent of all earnings generated as an F1 driver after the end of 2022 - including his salary from AlphaTauri as well as any personal sponsorship income during that period.

A statement from Schothorst read: "We supported Nyck at a crucial moment in his career when nobody else wanted to do so anymore.

"I am happy that the Judge ruled in our favour but of course, I regret that these proceedings were necessary. We would have preferred to reach a settlement by mutual agreement without proceedings but unfortunately, our attempts to do so were resolutely rejected each time by Nyck and his lawyer.

"As a result, going to court becme inevitable.

"That does not alter the fact that I wish Nyck all possible success in the continuation of his already impressive motorsport career, even though it will no longer be in F1."

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