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Mercedes 'wouldn't be surprised' by de Vries joining Red Bull

Mercedes let their former reserve driver Nyck de Vries go to allow the Dutchman to race for AlphaTauri in 2023. However, the Silver Arrows' Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin, believes that it may only be a matter of time before de Vries moves up to the main Red Bull team.

Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin admits he "wouldn’t be surprised" if Nyck de Vries joined the main Red Bull team in the near future. De Vries previously acted as a reserve driver for the Silver Arrows, but the squad allowed him to leave when the opportunity to race for AlphaTauri in 2023 became available. Shovlin – Trackside Engineering Director at Mercedes – is confident that de Vries can be successful in F1, so much so that he believes Mercedes may regret letting him go. "I have no doubt Nyck has the ability to win races if he is with the right team and with the right car," Shovlin commented in new book Max & Nyck , written by Ivo Pakvis and Stijn Keuris. "Whether he can become World Champion will be down to him. He has less time to achieve it given his age, but he makes up for that with his experience. "We had an agreement with Nyck that if we couldn't put him with a Mercedes team, he could go for the best option. And we might regret letting him go. "I wouldn't be surprised if it’s not long when we’re racing against him in the Red Bull factory team. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that happened in the next 12 months or so."

De Vries 'meant a lot' to Mercedes

While de Vries – who has won championships in Formula 2 and Formula E – was highly valued by Mercedes, Shovlin says that the team were keen to help him to find an opportunity to race. "He fitted in our team very well, but you can’t hold someone back," Shovlin explained. "He was the ideal test and reserve driver for us. If we could have kept him on the shelf to use him when needed, we would have done that, but then we would have prevented a driver pursuing his dream. "With his Formula E title, he has meant a lot to the Mercedes brand and he has also been excellent as a reserve driver. That is why we also wanted to help him further. "This is also important for the future. The chance of Nyck wanting to come back to this team will be influenced by how fair we’ve been with him over the years. There's nothing to say that Nyck won’t be driving a Mercedes one day in the future." What surprises Shovlin is that there was not more interest in de Vries' services across the grid, particularly in light of his impressive substitute performance for an unwell Alex Albon at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix. "What I think was weird was that there wasn’t more of a fight over his services," Shovlin added. "Only Red Bull made a call purely based on ability. And I think there were political elements behind him not getting a seat elsewhere."

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