After impressing many with a one-off appearance for Williams at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, Nyck de Vries will make his full-time F1 debut in 2023. The Dutchman joins AlphaTauri to partner Yuki Tsunoda, and brings with him a wealth of experience in motorsport including championship victories in Formula 2 and Formula E. But did you know that de Vries came close to securing a seat with another team a few years earlier? Or that he acted as his own manager for many years? Here are five things you may not know about Nyck de Vries.
De Vries came close to earning an F1 seat before
After making his way through the motor racing ranks, Nyck de Vries made his debut in Formula 2 in 2017, ending the season in seventh place in the championship with 114 points to his name. In 2018 he joined the Prema team and scored race victories in France, Hungary and Belgium, as well as other podium finishes. This time he ended the championship in P4 with 202 points, with George Russell, Lando Norris and Alex Albon taking the top three positions respectively. Both Norris and de Vries were a part of the McLaren Young Driver Programme, but only one seat was available with the team in Formula 1 for 2019. De Vries later stated that it was clear that the driver to score the most points in 2018 would be given the opportunity, meaning that Norris – who took 17 more points than de Vries – moved to McLaren in F1. Meanwhile, de Vries switched to ART Grand Prix for the 2019 Formula 2 campaign as a replacement for Russell – who, like Norris, had moved to Formula 1 – and raced alongside new teammate Nikita Mazepin. The Dutch driver clinched the championship three races before the end of the season. Over three years later, de Vries arrives into F1. He will be 28 years old when the campaign gets underway, making him one of the oldest rookies in Formula 1's hybrid era. Another older rookie was Brendon Hartley, who was also 28 when he made his debut for Toro Rosso in 2017.
Proud owner of a Mini Moke
De Vries has driven a range of very fast cars during his career, but does not opt for an expensive road car to get him from A to B. The new AlphaTauri driver is in fact the owner of a Mini Moke. When leaving his flat in Monaco one day, de Vries saw such a car and was immediately sold. A Mini Moke weighs about 500kg, has four gears and about 50,000 of the vehicles were made worldwide.
A fan of Toad
Mario Kart is popular with millions of fans across the world, and de Vries happens to be amongst them. Unsurprising, given the competitive nature of a racing driver. In case you were wondering, the Dutchman's favourite character is mushroom Toad.
Most Formula 1 drivers have a manager to assist with various aspects of their career. De Vries has chosen Guillaume le Goff as his manager as he makes the step up to F1. Le Goff also manages the interests of Pierre Gasly. Prior to this, though, de Vries managed everything by himself, something that he credits with helping him to reach this point of his career. According to de Vries, taking initiative has enabled him to keep on pushing forwards, despite receiving rejections en route to F1.
Rejected at the airport
2022 was an eventful year for de Vries. As well as acting as a reserve driver for Mercedes, he took part in Free Practice 1 sessions for the Silver Arrows but also with Aston Martin and Williams. At the start of the Italian Grand Prix weekend, de Vries had been behind the wheel of the AMR22 during FP1, but on Saturday morning was called up to replace Alex Albon at Williams for the remainder of the event, with the British-Thai driver having contracted appendicitis. It turned out to be a golden opportunity for de Vries, who finished the race in ninth place. He went on to test for Alpine at the Hungaroring in the week afterwards, while remaining on possible stand-by for Williams should Albon be unable to return for the next race on the calendar in Singapore. The Grove-based team were keen to bring de Vries to the factory to prepare him for the eventuality, but the Dutchman could not travel to London due to his EU ID card no longer being a valid document to enter Britain following Brexit. At the time, his passport was at the embassy for a visa to Japan, and his spare passport had expired. As it was, Albon did return for Singapore, but de Vries later landed a full-time comeback of his own for 2023 with AlphaTauri.