De Vries relishing 'opportunity to live my dream'

Nyck de Vries (NLD) with Franz Tost (AUT) AlphaTauri Team Principal. 10.11.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Preparation Day.
© XPB 

It's been a long time in coming, but this year Nyck de Vries will finally achieve his life's dream of becoming a full-time Formula 1 driver.

The 28-year-old Dutch driver had looked on course to achieve his objective when he won the 2019 Formula 2 championship, but the Mercedes protege then found his way forward thwarted.

A detour to Formula E saw him win the all-electric world championship crown in 2021, but his heart remained set on F1. He finally made his Grand Prix race debut last year at Monza as a last-minute stand-in for Williams' Alex Albon.

That was the last piece of the puzzle he needed, one that unlocked the gates of F1 and helped him secure a full-time seat at AlphaTauri for 2023, taking over from Pierre Gasly who has headed to Aston Martin.

Asked what he was most thrilled about, de Vries responded: "To get the opportunity to live my dream, but equally to be very excited and motivated to perform and to deliver.

"I think partly because my journey has been slightly unusual and longer, I’m even more grateful for the opportunity, more motivated to grab it and hungrier to show what I’m worth," he added.

Nyck de Vries (NLD) AlphaTauri AT03.
22.11.2022. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Tuesday.

Despite being a former motor racing world champion, and with experience of several of last year's Mercedes, Aston Martin and Williams cars during free practice - a greater variety than any other driver - de Vries insisted that he still felt he was just a rookie again in F1.

"Apart from three rookie tests – two at Mercedes, one with Scuderia AlphaTauri – I didn’t do proper testing," he pointed out. "I had the privilege of driving many different cars, but I think the benefits of that are not so much down to the track time because actually that was very limited.

"Having the experience to have worked with different teams in different environments will bring a lot of value, but in terms of pure track and race time, I reckon I have less than this year’s other rookies.

"It’s an opportunity to show yourself but equally, there is more to lose than win," he suggested. However I'm a bit older and I’ve had the opportunity to race in different championships so that's a level of experience that brings some value."

Since he signed for the team, de Vries explained that he had been spending time building key connections and integrating himself into the set-up at Faenza.

"You can’t force relationships," he admitted. "That always takes a bit of time. But I’ve been very warmly welcomed. It seemed like everyone was very excited about my arrival and we certainly did everything we could to integrate me as quickly as possible.

"We've started to look at gaps where there is room for improvement which we needed to highlight. We’ve used our time well in terms of the physical aspect and we’ve been pushing really hard.


"Yuki [Tsunoda] is a very talented, fast driver and he obviously has experience in F1 now," he said when asked how things were going with his new team mate. "I bring a little bit of a different kind of experience.

"Ultimately I’m very certain that our dynamic and our working relationship will help towards pushing everyone forward. I have no doubt about that.

"I’m just basically enjoying the ride and I’m very excited to start our season," he added.

Team boss Franz Tost has laid out clear expectations about what he wants to see from Tsunoda. While he's more guarded about what he wants to see from his newest signing, it's clear that expectations are just as high for de Vries.

"Nyck has driven in only one F1 race, last year in Monza, where he produced a fantastic performance. Nevertheless, he has a great deal of racing experience, winning races and championships in many of the categories that he took part in.

"I’m quite sure that he will be able to deliver good results soon in the season then to be finishing in the points in the races.

"Nyck is technically very highly-skilled and focused," he continued. "He already gave the engineers good technical feedback. I think that he will immediately understand the new car. He will get familiar with it quickly.

"As I said before, he understands the technical challenges that F1 cars present. I believe he's one of the most adept drivers in terms of technical understanding of the car."

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