Nyck de Vries celebrates his 27th birthday today. The Dutchman has been competing in the Formula E championship since 2020 and managed to grab the world title last year. In 2022, the driver from Sneek will also make his appearance in the electric class, but secretly he still hopes for a debut in Formula 1. What are the options?
History of De Vries
In 2017, De Vries made his debut in Formula 2. After a volatile first year, including a switch to another team halfway through the season, the second season is when it has to happen. With very talented drivers like Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and Alexander Albon in the competition, it is a make or break situation for De Vries.
De Vries is showing nice things, but in the end he will end up behind these three names. At McLaren, a seat becomes available in 2019, but that goes to the other McLaren junior: Norris. Other teams don’t want to see the number four in the championship either, so he has one year left in Formula 2. In that year, De Vries does become champion, but there is no serious chance for a seat. Winning the World Championship in your third year in Formula 2 is not seen as a great success.
De Vries had to move to Formula E, where he drove for the factory Mercedes team. In his second season, he wins the world title and confirms that he has what it takes. He was linked with Williams and Alfa Romeo Racing, but they chose Albon and Guanyu Zhou respectively. Where are the 2023 chances for De Vries when it comes to Formula 1?
Contracts in 2023
At the top teams Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and McLaren, it is out of the question that De Vries will get a spot without experience in Formula 1. At Alpine, with Oscar Piastri, they have the 2021 F2 champion ready to go if Fernando Alonso leaves. Esteban Ocon has a contract that has been signed for several years. The services of De Vries will not be called upon at AlphaTauri either, as Red Bull currently has four of its own juniors driving in Formula 2.
Aston Martin wants to storm the top and they too, despite being a customer team of Mercedes, will therefore most likely not appoint a rookie. Lance Stroll is sure of his spot because father Lawrence is the owner of the team. There is a chance that Sebastian Vettel will leave after 2022, so the British formation might have a free spot. At Alfa Romeo Racing, Bottas is reportedly guaranteed a seat through 2024. Zhou has signed a one-year contract, so the Chinese will have to show himself right away. Williams and Haas F1 have their duos Albon/Latifi and Schumacher/Mazepin locked up for this season only.
In short, De Vries must therefore hope for five spots. However, the competition is fierce, whether it comes down to talent or money. De Vries will always lose out financially if a second Zhou shows up next season. De Vries is fortunate, however, that there is not really anyone in Williams’ own junior program who has an immediate claim to a seat in 2023. Alfa Romeo and Haas F1 do not have their own driver academy. It will be difficult for De Vries, but it is not impossible.