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Nyck de Vries

De Vries was only ever AlphaTauri 'stopgap' - Horner

The Red Bull chief has explained what exactly went on when Nyck de Vries lost his AlphaTauri seat.

De Vries Canada
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Nyck de Vries was only ever a Formula 1 "stopgap" according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

De Vries was signed to a full-time drive with the AlphaTauri squad for 2023 after impressing Red Bull driver boss Helmut Marko at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix with ninth on debut for Williams.

However, in 10 races in 2023, de Vries failed to score a point and struggled in an uncompetitive car on unfamiliar tracks such in Melbourne and Miami, being replaced after the British Grand Prix by Daniel Ricciardo.

Horner's reluctance to hire de Vries was revealed by Marko - with the Red Bull chief expanding on his thinking.

Horner against de Vries

"It all happened a little quicker than expected," Horner told the F1 Nation podcast about the events of de Vries being replaced.

"Bearing in mind we hadn't completed the [Pirelli tyre] test [at Silverstone], but Helmut spoke with Nyck - he was obviously the one that recruited him - and he spoke with him on about Lap 11 of the test I think.

"Obviously before the test, there was some element of discussion with Daniel to say: 'Look, if this goes well, would you be up for driving an AlphaTauri because things aren't going as we'd hoped with Nyck, but would you be up for that challenge?' and he was: 'Yeah, absolutely.'

"He was prepared to take a step backwards to try and take two steps forward."

"Nyck is a very capable driver, and a Formula E and Formula 2 champion, and he's obviously got a lot of experience.

"But he's not a young driver as such from an age perspective - and I just didn't see how he fitted within the junior programme.

"It was always a stopgap."

Horner also addressed the idea of keeping de Vries in the car alongside Yuki Tsunoda until his home race in the Dutch Grand Prix at the end of August - but this was rejected.

"That would have meant leaving him in the car until after the summer break and I think the situation was clear, it was a question of 'what is the point in waiting?'

"If we've got to do something, we might as well get on with it and give Daniel 12 races to see what he's capable of."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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