‘The phone just kept going’ – De Vries details his whirlwind rise from super-sub to full-time F1 seat
Nyck de Vries has opened up about his unconventional path to the F1 grid for 2023, explaining how he was determined to convert “the momentum and buzz” generated by a surprise race debut earlier this season into a full time race seat for next year.
De Vries caught the attention of many in the paddock when he was called up to replace the unwell Alex Albon at the Italian Grand Prix and scored points at the first time of asking – out-qualifying and out-racing regular driver Nicholas Latifi.
Appearing on the latest episode of F1's own Beyond The Grid podcast, De Vries relived his “out of nowhere” opportunity to start an F1 race and shared what happened in the days afterwards, including further talks with Williams – which began after he won the 2020-21 Formula E title – and a test run for Alpine.
In the end, and spurred on by fellow Dutchman Max Verstappen, a trip to Austria to meet with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko paved the way for his move to AlphaTauri, following confirmation of Pierre Gasly’s switch to the aforementioned Alpine team.
Reflecting on a whirlwind period post-Monza, De Vries said: “The phone just kept going. I really wanted to use the momentum and the buzz that was happening to conquer and create an opportunity for me in Formula 1 in 2023.
“We were obviously in close conversations with Williams for a longer time, and I spoke to Jost [Capito, Team Principal] on the Tuesday after the weekend. The Alpine test was already scheduled... It was scheduled way before Monza; I went to the Alpine facilities just ahead of Spa [in August].
“But then I had dinner with Max on Monday evening in Monaco to kind of celebrate [the weekend]. We talked about it openly, about the possibilities and opportunities. We talked about potentially AlphaTauri, Dr Marko, and that’s how it went. Later that week I was seen in Graz.”
De Vries then shared what happened during the visit and gave his initial thoughts on Marko, who played a key role in bringing the likes of Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo to F1 as part of Red Bull’s dedicated junior programme.
“We had a great time together. We spent two days eating Austrian local food, talking about the future together. He has a good sense of humour and we respected each other,” said the 27-year-old, who also won the F2 title back in 2019.
“I think he appreciated me for being there, representing myself, and having the conversations with him directly. Red Bull is all about performance and winning, and I share that, so it was very straightforward and enjoyable.
“Obviously [the deal] was not entirely in our hands; it was a bit more complicated, as everyone understands. But basically that trip made me understand that there was a very good chance I could be on the grid in 2023.”
De Vries will join Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri next season, with the Japanese racer recently retained for a third campaign – meaning Williams and Haas are the only teams yet to confirm their full 2023 driver line-ups.
Listen to the full eye-opening Beyond The Grid interview with De Vries in the player below or head here to catch it on your preferred platform.