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Nyck de Vries

De Vries exclusive: On fresh start and tackling new opportunities

Nyck de Vries spoke exclusively to RacingNews365 on his return to Formula E and dealing with F1 critics.

De Vries Mexico City
To news overview © Sam Bagnall / Formula E

It has been a busy past 12 months for Nyck de Vries, with the Dutch driver competing in three categories over that period.

De Vries started 2023 as a rookie in F1 with AlphaTauri, a move which saw him reject a Formula E seat at Maserati and a spot in Toyota's World Endurance Championship (WEC) hypercar programme.

By completing his move to the Red Bull sister team, de Vries became the first Formula E driver to switch to F1. However, as is now well documented, everything unravelled rapidly for the 2020/21 Formula E World Champion.

De Vries was replaced by AlphaTauri with Daniel Ricciardo after just 10 races, putting him in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. For the bulk of 2023, he suddenly found himself without a drive.

Unsurprisingly, given his speed, talent and natural ability, offers were quickly placed on the table after a period of reflection.

Fast forward to March 2024, and de Vries has returned to Formula E with Mahindra Racing and is part of Toyota's WEC programme, representing something of a fresh start. He has managed to recover from his F1 disappointment, in what he now views as a "past chapter".

"I feel great, I'm very happy with Mahindra, I'm very happy with the programmes I have, the combination between Formula E and WEC, enjoying both championships," de Vries said.

"And obviously here, we're not really where we want to be. But we're all believing in this project.

"I can see that we're making little progress all the time, even though that's not necessarily translated into direct results, we are building that kind of foundation. So I'm very well, very well."

Time is required

De Vries' return to the all-electric series has come in the second season of the Gen3 era, a car he previously tested prior to switching to AlphaTauri. As a result, he had no race experience of the current Formula E regulations ahead of 2024.

Because of this, he feels time is still required to feel comfortable in the Mahindra M10Electro.

"The car is a little bit different," said de Vries. "I'm still getting used to it. It takes a bit of time to fully gel with a different car, especially cars that are so specific like Gen3 with having the front motor, now introduced decelerating with both electric motors.

"It sounds simple, just adding a motor that helps you to slow down, but obviously, it makes the car a lot more sophisticated. It's kind of software and operations because there's just a lot more possible.

"And the racing, so far I haven't really experienced the peloton racing yet. I'm yet to experience it. I would say it's still a learning process, but so it is for our whole team, and we are enjoying it."

With this interview taking place ahead of the São Paulo E-Prix, de Vries has now had his first experience of the chaotic peloton racing.

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

Responding to critics

Unsurprisingly, criticism has followed de Vries back to Formula E, especially as he finds himself toward the back of the grid.

Mahindra also finds itself in a difficult position with an uncompetitive package, however, it is completely open about this.

It is a long-term project which de Vries is committed to, with significant changes to be made ahead of the Season 11 introduction of the Gen 3.5 challenger.

Like many drivers, the 29-year-old avoids reading negative media, although he has fought back at those who have criticised him and Mahindra without knowing Formula E.

"Firstly, I'm not aware of any criticisms," de Vries admitted. "I think it's all about expectations, and being realistic, I think if there are criticisms which I'm not aware of, I'm not reading it. I try to avoid kind of negativity.

"Do they follow the series? Or are they aware the team kind of finished at the back last year and without any hardware change?

"Do you expect that Nico Hulkenberg is going to win the next grand prix? It's like, honestly, I don't have much to say about it. We do us, we focus on ourselves.

"We take our internal little wins and victories because we do still need to seize them because otherwise, it could become frustrating if you don't kind of seize them. And I think we do.

"I'm enjoying the kind of progress and the team and the foundation we are building together and hopefully, in the near future, we can get that reward."

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