The Dutch Formula One fan unfortunately saw how Nyck de Vries will already have to relinquish his seat to Daniel Ricciardo after ten Formula 1 Grands Prix in 2023.
His performance could not please Helmut Marko and his men, and not for the first time the Austrian proved implacable. Did Daniel Ricciardo (and also Liam Lawson) show enough after that to prove that Red Bull/AlphaTauri's choice was justified?
"A difficult question," judges Giedo van der Garde in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365. The former F1 driver is between two minds on the subject.
"Purely on paper, then you will say yes. But that's not entirely fair. After all, don't forget that the AlphaTauri was completely jerky at the beginning of the season and that Yuki Tsunoda couldn't handle it either.
"Nyck was struggling and was under mega pressure after just a few races. We know how difficult it is when Helmut Marko yells every weekend that it has to be better, that it has to be faster, that you have to be ahead of Tsunoda, because you are supposed to be the team leader. Then you snap at some point."
I know how good, how fast and how dedicated Nyck is
'That takes half a year to three quarters of a year'
According to Van der Garde, De Vries was also put by the wrong, unfair yardstick: "Of course, it's not normal to think that when you're new to Formula 1 you can attract such a team to you in one go. That takes half a year to three-quarters of a year. But everyone thought after that one race in the Williams (at 2022 Italian GP) that he would just show it off, but that's not how it works."
"So it's a terrible shame that he wasn't given more time," continued Van der Garde. "It's also a guy who sometimes needs a little longer to show what he really has up his sleeve and I know how good he really is and above all how dedicated he is."
AlphaTauri only managed to pull away from last place among constructors in the closing 2023 with some fine points finishes. Could De Vries have contributed to that as well? His former Racing Team Netherlands teammate has no doubt about that at all.
"I think so, yes. He would have been better in his rhythm by that time and maybe Helmut Marko would have been a bit calmer and more relaxed by that time as well, because there were some points on the scoreboard anyway.
"When the team is more relaxed, you automatically start performing better. You become more one with the car. So I think what those guys showed, Nyck could have shown as well."