AlphaTauri rookie De Vries feeling 'at home' in Formula 1 after first pre-season test
AlphaTauri's newest recruit Nyck de Vries says he already feels "at home" in Formula 1, despite being one of three rookie drivers – alongside Logan Sargeant and Oscar Piastri – set to make their first starts as full-time members of the grid in Bahrain this weekend.
De Vries is readying himself for his first race with the Italian outfit – replacing Pierre Gasly, who moved on to Alpine, after performing the role of Mercedes' reserve driver for the last two seasons – while also competing in Formula E, where he won the championship in 2021.
READ MORE: Rookie drivers Sargeant, Piastri and De Vries react to their first pre-season test runs in Bahrain
And speaking after testing in Bahrain, De Vries was asked how it felt to have completed his first pre-season as a Formula 1 driver, to which he replied: “It feels good. I feel like I’m at home. I’m feeling good, ready and I’m looking forward to next week.
“I think both the team and my personal targets and goals are very much aligned. I think as a team we like to raise our game and be more competitive than last year and consistently fight for points in the midfield.
"It appears to be super competitive. I think the whole midfield has compressed massively, so it will require a 100 percent attack to get that job done.”
AlphaTauri completed 456 laps – the most of any team – at pre-season testing in Bahrain, with De Vries himself turning 246 laps of those – the second most of any driver. And the Dutch driver says his team were able to tick all the boxes they wanted to heading into the season opener at the same Sakhir venue.
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“We completed a lot of long runs, kind of race simulation and I feel like we’ve been able to tick all our boxes,” said De Vries. “We did a lot of laps over the past three days; reliability has been great.
"We’ve done a lot of learning, tested a lot of test items, [and] now it’s about learning what we’ve done, understanding what we’ve done and trying to put everything together for next week.”
De Vries also opened up about his integration process within the team, explaining how it has helped him open clear lines of communication regarding AlphaTauri’s 2023-spec AT04's performance, as they set their sights on optimising their package.
READ MORE: The 5 key questions from 2023 pre-season testing in Bahrain
“I think in terms of communication, we’ve been very much spot on,” said De Vries. “I think we’ve had a bit of time to integrate and to spend time together and to learn from each other what we expect, and I think that has been going very well.
“And obviously we are together exploring what the new car gives us. But equally it’s not a revolution, it’s an evolution. Everyone is trying to optimise the package they had, and so do we.”