(L to R): Masashi Yamamoto, Red Bull Racing Consultant; Nyck de Vries, Mercedes Test and Reserve Driver; Suzuka, 2022

AlphaTauri expect De Vries “to be very competitive from the first race” in 2023

2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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AlphaTauri are expecting “a lot” from their 2023 signing Nyck de Vires, and believe his learning period to fully adapt to Formula 1 “will be reduced to a couple of tests”.

Formula E world champion de Vries only has one F1 race under his belt, a cameo appearance with Williams at this year’s Italian Grand Prix that resulted in a ninth-place finish and thrust himself into contention for a 2023 seat with several teams.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost, who has overseen the arrival of many F1 rookies, says new signings typically need two to three seasons to adapt themselves. Following that they tend to either win promotion to Red Bull’s main F1 team or are to make way for another newcomer.

However the expectations on de Vries, who has had no previous affiliation to Red Bull and is experienced in high-level motorsport outside of F1, are higher.

“I expect that this learning period for Nyck will be reduced to a couple of tests,” said Tost during last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, when de Vries’ move was announced.

“That means I expect him to be very competitive from the first race onwards in 2023.”

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The first of those tests could come this year. Tost does not expect De Vries will be released from his current reserve driver contract with Mercedes before the end of the season but said “I hope that we can see him in Abu Dhabi in the Young Driver Test” after the final race.

De Vries’ team mate next year will be Yuki Tsunoda who has been signed for a third season at AlphaTauri. The team wants to see a step up from Tsunoda as the more experienced and more successful Pierre Gasly leaves at the end of this year for Alpine.

“The guidance of the team depends on the performance of the car,” said Tost. “If we have a good car, it’s easy for both drivers. If we have problems in the car, then I think that it will not be so easy to sort out everything, because Nyck hasn’t so much F1 experience.

“Yuki is still in a learning process – but I think that Yuki next year should be matured enough to give technical guidance. Nevertheless, I expect a lot from Nyck because he has experience from the racing categories where he won races and championships and therefore once more if the car works, I think that we will have a successful year.”

As de Vries will not be available to AlphaTauri to use in a free practice session this year, the team plans to run their reserve driver Liam Lawson in first practice for the second time this year at either the United States or Mexico City Grand Prix to complete the regulatory requirement of running drivers with less than three grand prix starts in two sessions each season.

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2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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21 comments on “AlphaTauri expect De Vries “to be very competitive from the first race” in 2023”

  1. Well that’s cursed him!

  2. Of course it is evident that De Vries is older than Tsunoda and a more experienced driver in terms of the ladder of junior categories towards F1, but to propel a rookie as team captain alongside a teammate with already two years in F1 under his belt is something I didn’t expect.

    1. Except when that rookie is an experienced driver with world titles in a lot of different categories and spend the last two years as main development driver for Mercedes, and has driven all this machinery multiple times over and at several different teams.

      Calling him a rookie is technically correct, but hardly factually correct.

      1. Yeah, @sjaakfoo, it is kind of the lure of getting De Vries in the first place – that he is a driver with a lot of experience in many cars and simulators (McLaren, Mercedes, Williams, Aston Martin), has done top level racing already etc.

      2. Yep, de Vries is going to do just great, me thinks. Let’s hope they improve the car. No idea why they are always so far behind Red Bull.

    2. propel a rookie as team captain

      Where did you read/deduct this?
      It seems quite the opposite as Tost thinks “that Yuki next year should be matured enough to give technical guidance”.

      1. You are right, it is not in this article. I saw some quotes but they are not from Alpha Tauri but from Helmut Marko: https://www.planetf1 dot com/news/nyck-de-vries-alphatauri-team-leader/

  3. I would expect that De Vries is immediately competitive and brings even more development knowledge than Tsunoda. He’s the most experienced F1 “rookie” I can think of in years, to the extent that I’d be shocked if he wasn’t immediately the team’s lead driver, without trying to disrespect Yuki too much.

  4. NDV is a more experienced than 25% of the actual F1 Rooster, Yuki included, nevertheless he’ll bem needing some time to adapt, less however than usual. At the first Race Next year i think he’ll have it all to beat Yuki.

  5. It’s an embarrassment that many drivers take years to develop into competent midfield drivers. The entire point of the FIA ladder into F1 is to have mature capable drivers that are competitive. Drivers like Schumacher show that the ladder concept is flawed, while drivers like Lando, Russell, Leclerc are all good examples, it’s laughable that Verstappen is F1 champion and didn’t bother with the ladder. Talent used to jump the queue, rightfully so. All of a sudden a guy that couldn’t even get considered for a drive is a team leader, Tsunoda has to feel embarrassed that the left over unworthy scraps is the prize for his team.

    I can’t wait for Pascal Weirhlin to get picked up by Ferrari as team leader

  6. I am surprised there isnt a law suit yet from Mercedes preventing Nick to drive for a competitor team or at least make him have a cool down period. Are they finally getting tired of themselves?

    1. Is it impossible for you to focus on the topic at hand, rather then engage in trivial ‘whataboutism’? To convert any unrelated topic into a slur about Mercedes (in this case) or Hamilton in many others is spectacular. I’ll credit you with consistency, but that’s really being damned with faint praise …

  7. Strange but i notice this now: Nyck de Vries but we call him Nick de Vries in the Netherlands did he change his name or is this just for the internatinal press or so?

    1. Nyck could be old Dutch Nijck or Frisian related anyone knows this?

      1. For all I know it sounds like Nick, but is just spelled as Nyck. I always assumed that it was just a fancy way of writing his parents must have come up with, but I’m happy to be proven wrong.

        1. Problem if you say Nyck in Dutch you would say Nijck with a Eij which the English speaking countries chance into Y.
          That is why i was confused but @matthijs explained it it’s Frisian.

    2. @macleod Nyck has always be named Nyck and not Nick. I think the correct pronunciation is ‘Niek’ as it is a Frisian name.

      1. @matthijs – I take you answer then i was confused as in the most Dutch media he is Nick (written) I know a lot of Old Dutch text and Names but i am very bad in the Frisian lore and Names as i see those in text of battles against the Frisians.
        Thanks for your answer.

  8. Well he is 27 and has two championships to his name

  9. I’ve heard that De Vries is highly rated when it comes to giving technical feedback to the engineers. I guess that’s why he’s had a test and reserve role for a long time. I wonder how he compares to Gasly there, and how he can bring the team forward.

  10. Well, Vandoorne looked like a better prospect after a somewhat similar very good stand-in performance. .. and that turned out a flop (sorry). So I’ll reserve judgement and let his driving next season do the talking.

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