‘Cutthroat.’ ‘Brutal.’ ‘That’s how Red Bull works’: F1 drivers on de Vries’ sacking

2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Nyck de Vries’ sacking just 10 races into his first full season as a grand prix driver is typical of Formula 1 in general and Red Bull in particular, according to several drivers.

“That’s how Red Bull do it,” said Lewis Hamilton when asked about the team’s decision to cut de Vries from its junior team AlphaTauri before the halfway mark in the season.

Asked whether the decision reflected how F1 works, Hamilton replied: “I’d say that’s how Red Bull works.”

The team has some form in making dramatic driver announcements, such as when it promoted Max Verstappen to Red Bull in place of Daniil Kvyat four races into the 2016 season. De Vries’ place has been taken by Daniel Ricciardo, who hopes to use the opportunity to gain a return to Red Bull.

De Vries lost his F1 drive last week
“It’s not the first time Red Bull has made decisions like this,” noted Valtteri Bottas. “They obviously follow their view what is the best.

“Obviously it’s really a shame for Nyck it was quite a short rookie season unfortunately. But also then it’s nice for Daniel he clearly wants to be back and now he’s got this opportunity. That’s F1, sometimes, pretty cutthroat.”

Lando Norris also felt the move was typical of Red Bull’s approach to managing drivers, but believes de Vries has proved he’s quick enough to find another opportunity in motorsport.

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“It’s happened to many other drivers,” said Norris. “I know it’s happened in that team more than any other team. It is brutal because it’s someone’s career.

De Vries will find “plenty of opportunities”, said Gasly
“I rate Nyck and I think he’s a very good driver so I feel like he’s not going to have a problem finding a seat somewhere else.

“But I guess it’s just your dream to be in Formula 1 and for it to kind of go so quickly… I also feel like it came very quickly for him, which is a very good thing, and sadly, it’s gone quickly too, which is a shame. To only have 10 races to perform, it’s not an easy task, I can tell you that. But Oscar [Piastri]’s come in, it’s his first season of Formula 1, he’s doing an extremely good job.”

Other drivers reached out to de Vries after Red Bull announced his departure from AlphaTauri last week. “It’s obviously very difficult for Nyck,” said Charles Leclerc. “I sent him a text yesterday because I’m sure that it’s a difficult one to take.

“I’m sad. I think it’s too harsh for Nyck. But obviously also happy to see Daniel back in the paddock. It’s part of Formula 1 but it’s true that it’s very harsh for Nyck.”

Pierre Gasly, who experienced another of Red Bull’s tough driver decisions when he was dropped by Red Bull after half a season in 2019, also empathised with de Vries’ situation.

“Obviously I’m kind of sad to see Nyck going because I have known him for the past probably 15 years. I just know he’s a great guy, and this chance probably didn’t achieve as much as he would have liked, but I just want to wish him the best. There’ll be plenty of opportunities out there for him.”

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2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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11 comments on “‘Cutthroat.’ ‘Brutal.’ ‘That’s how Red Bull works’: F1 drivers on de Vries’ sacking”

  1. A future star let alone a superstar has never failed to impress in their first 10 races. There was zero point in continuing with ND. Tsunoda would be gone too already if it weren’t for Honda.

    1. Yet again, this thinking or theory many people seemingly have that Red Bull would care about external factors even though they’ve only ever cared about performance with their driver choices for either team.

      1. They do. Tsunoda’s performance has been underwhelming at best, and compared to Gasly, simply poor.

        Tsunoda will be dropped the second they can, and they’ve already put a time line on this with various comments from Tost. Note also how Horner and Marko, the real bosses of that allegedly independent team, basically never talk about Tsunoda.

      2. Tsunoda’s performance is way too poor to deserve a toro rosso seat on merit: the nationality surely has to do with it because of the honda ties, or otherwise he’s only there because there’s not a lot of good talents in the minor series ready, cause if they could, performance wise he should be out.

      3. You just need to compare with the previous drivers who have been there, those who stayed there that long like sainz were performing significantly better.

    2. That is not really true though. Lauda, Graham hill, even Damon Hill and others actually took time to really get attention.

  2. Drivers should be getting sacked much more often. 1 or 2 of them should be gone each year.

    1. The longevity of drivers in F1 definitely contributes to the lack of interest in the midfield. There’s basically only Mclaren’s duo that has top team potential (and even then we shouldn’t forget how Norris fared against Sainz).

      1. and even then we shouldn’t forget how Norris fared against Sainz

        Strange comment: drivers normally improve during their career.

  3. I find the reactions once again a bit exaggerated and many people are happy to see their prejudices about Red Bull confirmed.
    In the past, the two Red Bull teams have given many drivers a chance and quite a few of them even for many years. Kvyat, Gasly, Tsunoda, Sainz, Vergne, Buemi and others drove for Torro Rosso for many years without really achieving anything amazing.
    And those who promised potential were given a chance in a top team. Of course, it’s bad luck when the team’s internal benchmark is a prodigy, but in a world of perfection, sometimes you don’t have the capacity to give twenty-somethings years of development.

    1. If you fire your driver after just 10 race for lack or performance, maybe you shouldn’t have hired him in the first place. RB as an entity is not perfect, no one is, and pointing that out is not confirming anyone’s prejudice.

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