Nyck de Vries dismisses rookie status as AlphaTauri highlight ‘wake-up call’
Nyck de Vries believes he’s ready for the switch to F1, with the Dutch driver coming in with plenty of experience from other racing series.
28-year-old Nyck de Vries makes the switch to Formula 1 with a full-time seat at AlphaTauri this season, following on from a busy year serving as a reserve and development driver for Mercedes, Aston Martin, Williams, and McLaren.
De Vries comes from a long association with Mercedes, with whom he raced in Formula E and claiming the 2020/21 season title.
In recent years, De Vries has also raced in European Le Mans, LMP2 in the World Endurance Championship, and Formula 2.
Given his relatively advanced age and experience for a rookie, AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost highlighted De Vries’ contributions from the moment he first stepped into one of their cars – he tested the 2022 AT03 at the post-season Abu Dhabi test.
Franz Tost: Nyck de Vries gave us a wake-up call
“Nyck de Vries is doing a really good job. He is very experienced, you can see this,” Tost told media, including PlanetF1.com, during the Bahrain pre-season test.
“You can see that and feel that he is 28 years old, and that he won a a lot of races and championships.
“I think that he will be able to adapt to Formula 1 immediately. I expect him to perform well from the first qualifying onwards.”
Tost went on to reveal that, following the Abu Dhabi test, De Vries had not been shy about pointing out the weaknesses of the car which saw AlphaTauri slump to ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Always with a new driver coming if it’s a young driver coming from a feeder series, he brings in some input – some technical ideas,” he said.
“With Nyck, we were lucky that, last year, he was in contact with many teams and many cars. I think that our engineers got good technical feedback from his side, especially after the Abu Dhabi test where he did a lot of laps, where he fortunately complained a lot about the car because this was a wake-up call for the engineers!
“It was so funny because the engineers wanted to argue that our solutions are good and I always say to them ‘look at where we are in the Constructors’ Championship!’
“I hope that we can provide him with a car that performs in the way he likes.”
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Nyck de Vries ‘ready’ after ‘gathering experience’
De Vries was asked for his thoughts on the praise of his new boss as he sat down with media, including PlanetF1.com, during the Bahrain test.
“What’s most important is that we are here to be competitive, and we share a common goal,” he said.
“It’s no secret that the team had a tougher year last year and I think when I came to Abu Dhabi, I had a kind of fresh opinion and read on where we are.
“Collectively, we tried really hard to address those areas during the winter and to work on them together. But I definitely felt very welcomed in all parts of the team and definitely heard.”
As for his rookie status, the Dutch driver said that, while experienced, his relevant F1 experience only slightly eclipses that of fellow 2023 rookies Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant.
“In terms of Formula 1 mileage, if you actually would count it, I don’t think that I’m better prepared than other rookies,” he said.
“I think both Oscar and Logan have done more private testing. But I think that’s almost irrelevant to me whether I am titled as a rookie or not – I’m very fortunate to be probably a little bit older and have had the opportunity to gather experience in different championships. Those different experiences have helped me develop myself and become a more complete racing driver. So I think I’m ready.”
With De Vries having completed his first day of 2023 action with 85 laps on the board and a 13th place finish, Tost highlighted the strengths of his new driver: “His professional attitude, his discipline, his feedback also regarding the simulator… ideas for changing working methods. I expect a lot of those after this test here from his side.”
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