Axed Red Bull driver displays demons of the past in woeful return to world of motorsport – “Still have a bit of catching up to do”

Former AlphaTauri driver Nyck de Vries had a humbling start to his F1 career and a failure to pick up any points in his first 10 races in the sport meant Red Bull technical advisor Helmut Marko pulled the plug on his deal. Being forced to restart his career in the electric series, De Vries was once again a major disappointment as the Dutchman finished outside the points in the opening race of the season, ending P15.

Jos Verstappen and Helmut Marko. Credit: planetf1.com
Jos Verstappen and Helmut Marko. Credit: planetf1.com

De Vries impressed bosses across F1 largely due to his one-off performance for Williams at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, where he earned a points-finish standing in for Alex Albon. It prompted Red Bull to give him a full-time seat for the following season at their sister team AlphaTauri.

Replacing Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri, there were plenty of hopes pinned on the ‘experienced’ rookie, but he was woefully short of the mark as he simply failed to acclimatise in F1 the way he would have hoped.

Following his dismissal from the pinnacle of motorsport racing, De Vries returned to Formula E, a category where he was crowned world champion with Mercedes in 2021.

Things started poorly for De Vries in qualifying itself, as the 28-year-old found himself in last spot at the Mexico City E-Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

In a race won by Porsche’s Pascla Wehrlein, Mahindra’s De Vries showed plenty of demons of the recently concluded F1 season with a distinct lack of confidence permeating through his performance.

Before the race, De Vries seemed optimistic enough about his chances, but he was unable to deliver when the moment of truth was in front of him.

“There was clearly always an interest from my side to come back to Formula E, hence why I decided to travel to the last race of the championship [in 2023],” De Vries said.

“I decided to fly out to London to be back in the paddock, meet old friends, and see what it’s like again.

“That’s when Fred Bertrand [Mahindra chief executive] and I coincidentally bumped into each other.

“From that moment, we planned a call and he explained his plans and where the team is aiming to go. It really appealed to me and together overtime, obviously not overnight, it all developed quite naturally.

“I still have a bit of catching up to do. I also still need to get used to everything a little bit more. Basically, I didn’t drive a Formula E car for 12 months.

“The racing is very different, so I still need a little bit more time to get up to speed with everything. But that’s part of the process.”

Read more: Lewis Hamilton torn between two realistic options in assessment of post-F1 career – “It would be so wicked”

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