Nyck de Vries, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2022

Mercedes ‘need to let De Vries go’ if we can’t get him into F1 – Wolff

2022 French Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff praised the job Nyck de Vries did for the team in practice today, but said they’re unlikely to be able to help him find a full-time race seat in Formula 1.

De Vries stood in for Lewis Hamilton in today’s first practice session. He set a best time of 1’35.426 which put him ninth-fastest, 0.545 seconds off team mate George Russell.

“Today was very, very good,” Wolff told Sky after practice. Hamilton looked on in the team’s garage throughout the session. “It was interesting because he was coaching Nick, he was helping him with the overlays and it was quite interesting to see,” Wolff added.

De Vries drove for the team to fulfil part of a new FIA requirement this year for teams to run drivers with minimal prior F1 experience during practice sessions. He previously drove for Williams in first practice for the Spanish Grand Prix and narrowly out-paced the team’s regular driver, Nicholas Latifi.

As well as racing for Mercedes in Formula E, where he is the reigning world champion, De Vries won the Formula 2 championship in 2019. But following Russell’s arrival at Mercedes this year, Wolff says there is no opportunity for the team to help him find a seat in F1.

“I think if we’re not able to provide him with an interesting Formula 1 project, we need to let him go,” said Wolff. “He’s looking at the various options, sports cars and then maybe Formula E. But you must never give up on the opportunity that one day a Formula 1 door can open.”

Mercedes “can’t really help him,” Wolff added. “We can’t really tell any team to look at him and consider him, because that would be felt like an interference, and that goes the contrary way.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Keith Collantine
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21 comments on “Mercedes ‘need to let De Vries go’ if we can’t get him into F1 – Wolff”

  1. Do I remember correctly that last year Wolff was saying totally opposite things about making sure Bottas would “have a safe landing in F1”?

    1. Because Bottas was a loyal team member for years, and helped MB to several championships.

      1. yeah I get it, but it was an interference nevertheless

      2. @greenflag – Right so you’re saying Toto can help but De Vries doesn’t deserve it…?

        1. Bottas getting a seat had nothing to do with Wolff

    2. And pushing Racing Point/Alpine to take Ocon!

      1. It’s almost as if he was doing his job as Ocon’s manager. Shocking.

        This is the problem though, Toto has way too many hats in F1.

    3. @micio Please, could you explain what the point of your comment is?
      Your memory is indeed correct, TW made a different comment, about a different team member, under different circumstances, in a different year. I predict other people in the sport will make unconnected comments about other unconnected things in the future.

      1. @biker56 The point of my comment was to point out the hypocrisy. TW said:

        We can’t really tell any team to look at him and consider him, because that would be felt like an interference, and that goes the contrary way.

        But we know he did that in the last season… So what was the point of saying that?

        1. Charlie Racing
          23rd July 2022, 7:33

          Toto only ever says what’s suits him at that moment

          1. Seems like it. And so many people just take his word for it.

        2. @micio
          The point of saying what he said was to communicate his thoughts to the listener. That is how language works.
          In the case of VB, TW acted differently, because circumstances were different. That is not hypocrisy.

        3. @micio You seem to imply TW is acting in bad faith to secretly harm NDV’s career, in order to further his nefarious scheme to ????? What exactly?

          1. @biker56 I am not implying anything really. Just pointing out that Wolff tried to argument his decision to not help De Vries with something that is generally not true. The truth is that team principals can impact decisions of other teams. And as far as we know TW has been good at placing his protégés in other teams.

            I don’t care whether he wants to help De Vries and why not… I just care that his argumentation was hypocritical.

          2. @micio I really do not understand how TW hurt you so badly. Leave it alone now, don’t keep thinking about him, move on in your life.

    4. Toto is Bottas manager.

      1. Was until Bottas joined Merc

  2. Mercedes may not want to say explicitly to another team to check him out, but making him a reserve driver and giving him FP1 time as well as everything that Toto just said is indeed them saying to other teams that they should check him out. They have said it without saying it.

    1. There is a top of the line IndyCar ride that will be available of he needs to be stashed for a year or two. It worked out great for Montoya.

  3. Another reason why ten teams are not enough.

  4. Williams latifi, though he doesn’t have the sponsors to bring him in.
    Aston martin vettel.
    mclaren ricciardo

    mercedes, alpine?

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