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Nyck de Vries

Exclusive: De Vries 'didn't feel monkey' after breaking important duck

Nyck de Vries spoke exclusively to RacingNews365 on the progress being made by himself in Formula E with Mahindra Racing.

De Vries
To news overview © Mahindra Racing

Nyck de Vries exclusively told RacingNews365 that he "didn't really feel" like he had a monkey on his back, prior to scoring his first points of the Formula E season recently in Shanghai. 

The Season 7 world champion has endured a difficult return to the category following his F1 spell with AlphaTauri, but is starting to find his groove again. 

With Mahindra Racing, de Vries has had an incredible amount to learn this year, as Formula E now uses a completely different generation of car than what was used before the Dutchman made his switch to F1. 

In finishing seventh in the opening race of the Shanghai E-Prix recently, de Vries brought his 10-race non-point scoring streak to an end. 

It appeared that there was some weight on the Dutch driver to get the monkey off his back and score a point, although he insists he never felt this.

"In all honesty, I didn't really feel that monkey," De Vries exclusively told RacingNews365. "I feel very well supported within the team. I feel like we are making little steps all the time. 

"I'm very much enjoying being part of Mahindra and the work we collectively do as a group. I think it's all about managing expectations. And last year, they finished last, the hardware hasn't changed. 

"So what are we expecting? Of course, we all want points but we also got to be realistic. Having said that, I of course want to give something back to the team and reward them, and thank them for all the hard work that has already been put in. 

"And I was very happy that we achieved that. So also for my kind of crew, because I wasn't there in Berlin, and Berlin was a good weekend for the team. So it was nice to give them something back as well. It was a great feeling, it felt like a victory for us in all honesty."

Believing in the plan

With all hardware being under homologation this season, de Vries knew that he was joining a team going through a difficult spell. 

Mahindra's Gen3 package is not the most competitive, something which was openly accepted in 2023. However, instead of standing still, team principal Fred Bertrand has a long-term plan in place to get the Indian manufacturer back to the front. 

Part of Bertrand's plan, was to sign two experienced drivers to lead the project, something he achieved by signing de Vries and Edoardo Mortara. Both drivers are on multi-year deals and are very much invested in the boss' vision. 

Mahindra's plan was actually explained recently to RacingNews365 in a video, whilst de Vries stressed once again that he believes in the project.

"I definitely really believe in the plan and in the people that Fred has kind of put together, which is a mix between people that were already part of Mahindra, and people that have come in," explained de Vries. 

"But especially in a championship like Formula E, but also in our situation, [we must] manage expectations. 

"It's not like we are suddenly going to be scoring points every weekend, at least not for the remainder of the year, because we are fighting a lack of efficiency. And that's just the reality and the races are very dynamic. But I definitely see that we are making progress. 

"And again, I very much enjoy to work together and I also very much believe in Fred's plans and the work that he has already done to find the people together that currently form Mahindra racing."

			© Simon Galloway / Formula E
	© Simon Galloway / Formula E

Understanding a new challenge

One of the biggest changes in Formula E since the introduction of the latest machinery is the peloton racing, which takes place at venues which are very energy sensitive. 

Typically, the peloton racing takes place when Formula E races at high-speed tracks or traditional circuits, like the Shanghai International Circuit which hosted the Shanghai double-header. 

With the exception of Jehan Daruvala, de Vries has an entire year less experience in the peloton-style of racing. 

He has had to quickly understand the unusual style of racing but is starting to get to grips with it, as proven by his points in China. 

It is something extremely different, which de Vries notes is unlike anything the Formula E drivers have experienced throughout their careers.

"Yeah it's extremely challenging because it's a style of racing that no one has developed because through our careers, I'm quite confident to say that we never needed to race in such a manner," added the Dutchman. 

"And therefore, yeah, it's very different. And it definitely takes time to get used to, but I would certainly not say that I've mastered it. 

"I think there are a couple of drivers that have better statistics so far. I'm just getting used to it."

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