De Vries cleared of any wrongdoing over €250K loan

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Nyck de Vries has won his legal dispute over a €250K loan from a benefactor who had been a long-standing supporter of his racing career.

De Vries had been accused of withholding financial information and breaching the terms of a loan agreement with the Dutch financier Jeroen Schothorst's investment company Investrand.

Dutch newspaper Financial Dagblad reported last month that Investrand provided de Vries with a personal loan of €250,000 to help the latter secure his seat with Italian outfit Prema in the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship.

According to the report, de Vries was charged three per cent annual interest on the loan and was obligated to hand back half of any income related to F1 - but that this would expire if de Vries failed to secure an F1 drive for 2022.

De Vries went on to win the F2 title in 2019, and then switched to the ABB FIA Formula E championship, which he won in 2021 before setting his sights on F1 again with free practice appearances in 2022 for Mercedes, Aston Martin and Williams.

That led to de Vries making his maiden Grand Prix appearance at Monza when Williams driver Alex Albon fell ill with appendicitis the day before the Italian GP. De Vries stood in, and managed to finish in the points.

Nyck de Vries (NLD) Williams Racing FW44 Reserve Driver on the grid. 11.09.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race

The legal situation with Investrand subsequently came to a head after de Vries went on to secure a full-time f1 race seat with AlphaTauri for 2023 as a result of his stand-in success.

De Vries was under the assumption that the loan had expired after he failed to to secure a full-time spot on the grid last year, while Schothorst argued that the Dutch driver's reserve and testing role constituted 'entering F1 in 2022'.

The case was held at a court in Amsterdam, with the judge coming down on de Vries' side of the technical argument.

"It is true that he participated in F1 on 11 September 2022 at the Italian Grand Prix," stated the summary judgement released on Friday. "But he did so as a reserve driver.

"He was not contracted as a race driver at that time, he was merely filling in for another driver with appendicitis.”

The judge also rejected Schothorst's argument that de Vries had failed to provide financial information needed to keep them informed about relevant developments concerning his driving career, including copies of various contracts.

The judge said that Schothorst had agreed to a payment of €114,361 being paid over the period up to and including 2021, and not protested a payment in two parts of €75,000 for 2022 when de Vries earned €150,000 as a test and reserve driver for Mercedes.

De Vries was able to demonstrate regular contact with Schothorst and Investrand between 2017 and 2022, and submitted a 26-page printout of a related WhatsApp conversation between the parties.

De Vries was also accused of withholding a 2018 agreement with McLaren for €56,000, but the court ruled that this was a sponsorship deal not a driving contract and as such outside the terms of the loan agreement.

Arguing that his deal with Investrand had now lapsed, de Vries declined to share the terms of his 2023 driver contract with AlphaTauri.

"I have fulfilled all my obligations towards Investrand under the loan agreement and have always provided him with all the information he was entitled to under the loan agreement," de Vries said in a statement.

"As far as I am concerned, the fact that the judge ruled in my favour was in line with my expectations," he told "Hopefully things will now die down so that I can focus on preparing for the Formula 1 season."

His lawyer Jeroen Bedaux referred to the "positive verdict" and added: "yck is obviously not surprised, but pleased that the judge also [fully] endorses Nyck's view."

De Vries has been spending Saturday at Paul Ricard undertaking a wet weather Pirelli tyre test for AlphaTauri's. He can then focus on the launch of the team's 2023 AT04 car next weekend on February 11.

That will be followed by three days of pre-season testing at Bahrain International Circuit from February 23 to 25. The first race of the new season will be in Bahrain on March 5, with de Vries racing alongside team mate Yuki Tsunoda.

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