De Vries remains focused as F1 pressure rises
By Mat Coch
Saturday 1st July, 2023 - 1:07am
Scuderia AlphaTauri driver Nyck de Vries remains focused on doing his job despite mounting pressure and speculation surrounding his future.
De Vries has found his maiden full season in Formula 1 far more difficult than the cameo he made in place of Alex Albon at last year’s Italian Grand Prix.
There, the Dutchman starred to score points on debut despite only joining the team on the Saturday.
It was a performance that earned him a call-up for Scuderia AlphaTauri this season, during which he has thus far been overshadowed by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.
That has led to him batting away questions about his future in the run into the Monaco Grand Prix.
Performances however had not noticeably improved, and the 28-year-old remains one of just two drivers yet to score in 2023 – the other being Logan Sargeant.
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko revealed on the Inside Line podcast that, while he was in favour of signing de Vries, Christian Horner was not.
“Basically it’s AlphaTauri, but we’re a big family and we get opinions,” Marko said.
“He [Horner] was not a fan of De Vries. I would say at the moment it looks like he was right.”
In response, the Formula E world champion stated that he would do his talking on the track in an attempt to prove Horner wrong.
“But equally, there is no need to force anything,” he said.
“I think whenever you are trying harder, or trying to force something that is not kind of ready, then then it won’t happen and then mistakes will happen.
“The key is to just continue as we are and continue to focus on the job, remain patient and then I think the potential is there.
“It’s just a matter of time for things to come together.”
Adding pressure to de Vries is the prospect of Daniel Ricciardo replacing him.
The Australian is on the books at Red Bull though Speedcafe understands a move to Scuderia AlphaTauri is not especially appealing – especially to partner Tsunoda who is enjoying an especially strong campaign.
Also waiting in the wings is Liam Lawson, who is currently the squad’s reserve driver alongside his duties racing Super Formula in Japan.
The New Zealander is next in line when it comes to Red Bull’s junior programme and is a more logical fit for the Scuderia AlphaTauri drive.
That’s assuming it opens up, with de Vries naturally looking to retain the drive despite acknowledging his performances haven’t been good enough.
“I personally didn’t do a good enough job,” he said of his drive in the Canadian Grand Prix.
“As a team, we also struggled a little bit.
“It just shows that the midfield is very close thing.
“Basically, from P11 to P20, everything is so close that when you don’t execute a good weekend, it immediately puts you on the back foot.
“And it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with direct car performance or development, it’s just a matter of not making the right calls throughout the weekend.
“It was obviously a challenging weekend with circles, different circumstances.
“We’ve got to make sure as a team that we stay on top of everything and obviously, yeah, I’ve also got to do my job.”