The appearance of orange shirts in the crowds of Formula 1 races has become increasingly common in recent years, largely due to Max Verstappen’s rise to fame as a top driver in the sport.
With two drivers’ championships under his belt and at the age of 25, Verstappen has the potential to become one of the greatest drivers in the history of Formula 1.
However, in 2023, the sight of orange shirts may not only be in support of Verstappen, as Dutchman Nyck de Vries joins the grid.
Last season, de Vries made a stunning debut in the F1 world, replacing Williams driver Alex Albon at Monza and finishing in 9th place, despite driving a car that was expected to finish at the back of the pack.
This impressive performance sparked interest from several teams, including Williams, but de Vries ultimately chose to sign with AlphaTauri.
There has been speculation that Red Bull could consider a Dutch driver pairing in the future if de Vries excels with their sister team AlphaTauri.
Despite being older than Verstappen, de Vries considers the Red Bull driver to be a mentor and big brother, as they have maintained a strong friendship since their days in the junior categories.
A successful stint with AlphaTauri could lead to a move to Red Bull, as has been the case with Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, and Sebastian Vettel.
Is Nyck too old for Red Bull?
Although some may argue that de Vries, at 28, may be too old to move to Red Bull, the performances of drivers such as Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton prove that age is not a barrier to success in Formula 1.
With Sergio Perez’s contract with Red Bull set to expire in 2024, this may present an opportunity for de Vries to make the move to Red Bull following two seasons with AlphaTauri.
However, he will face tough competition for the spot next to Verstappen, with both Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris also being considered to replace Perez.
While Ricciardo may be a long shot, Norris is well-regarded by Red Bull, meaning that de Vries will need to make a significant impact during his time with AlphaTauri to be considered for a role with the team.
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