Wolff “in two minds” over placing Formula E champion De Vries in Formula 1

2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he is weighing up whether to move Nyck de Vries into Formula 1, but sees Alexander Albon as the “main protagonist” in the 2022 driver market.

De Vries won the Formula 2 championship in 2019 and clinched the Formula E title with Mercedes this year. The Dutch racer has emerged as a candidate for a move into Formula 1 as RaceFans revealed this week.

With Mercedes junior driver George Russell widely expected to replace Valtteri Bottas next year, moving De Vries into Formula 1 would ensure the world champions have another of their young racers in F1.

However Wolff admitted he would regret losing De Vries from their Formula E programme, which has one season left to run before they leave the series.

“Nyck is a Mercedes driver in Formula E and he’s won the Formula E world championship and helped us to win the constructors world championship and he’s an extremely important member of that team,” said Wolff in today’s FIA press conference. “I admired his decision back in the day after winning the F2 title to say ‘I want to be part of a works team and that’s why I’m joining Mercedes in Formula E’ rather than running behind the dream in Formula 1.

“Now the time has come that people recognise his talent and his ability and therefore those talks are taking place. But for us, most important is that he stays within the family. I don’t want to lose him at that stage for another Formula E championship, but I wouldn’t block him for Formula 1.”

Whether De Vries gains a place in Formula 1 may ultimately depend on whether Red Bull team principal Christian Horner finds a seat for Alexander Albon, Wolff admitted.

“At the moment it revolves around Alex Albon, who, as Christian said, deserves a seat. He’s a really good kid and he’s probably the main protagonist in the moving chairs.

“So Nyck has a guaranteed seat in Formula E with us and I’m in two minds. As I said before, I wish him to be in Formula 1 but I don’t want to lose him from our Formula E campaign.”

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6 comments on “Wolff “in two minds” over placing Formula E champion De Vries in Formula 1”

  1. I think Nick deserves a shot. I don’t rate him as highly as I rate Norris or Russell.. but I think he could surprise a few people in the paddock. If Albon gets a second shot in F1, I feel Nick at least deserves one season, even if it is in a Williams or Alfa.

    1. someone or something
      3rd September 2021, 14:22

      He’s proven to be adaptable, and it’d be fascinating to see whether the extreme emphasis on energy management in Formula E might give him a unique advantage in F1.
      I remember hearing an anecdote about a WEC driver who noticed, upon returning from FE, how much more fuel he was able to save with his broadened horizon. Of course, fuel efficiency is still more important in endurance racing than in F1, and the anecdote doesn’t tell if that driver was able to use that feat to become more competitive. But still, if a driver is able to cover a race distance with less fuel, the saved weight, by putting less strain on the tyres and components, could add up to decent advantage.
      And of course, there’s the possibility that a freshly crowned champion in two rather different categories in short succession might not be one of the slowest, either.

  2. So they want him but they don’t know where do they want him. To be or not to be..

  3. Formula E cars have about the same power:weight as a Formula Ford. Not exactly a reliable benchmark for F1 transition success

    1. @frasier He was the 2019 F2 champion too though. With Mazepin as his team mate far behind. Also beating Latifi who was in the championship winning team. Took him more than one season in F2 to win it, but still

      1. Good point, I’d forgotten that..

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