Williams to run Mercedes reserve De Vries in FP1 in Spain
Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries will make his Formula 1 race weekend debut when he carries out driving duties for Williams in first practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old Dutchman – who is the reigning Formula E world champion – will borrow Alex Albon’s FW44 for the 60-minute session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
De Vries shares the Mercedes reserve role with Stoffel Vandoorne and has previously tested F1 machinery when he drove the Silver Arrows in last year’s post-season Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test.
His appearance for Williams fulfils one of the British team’s two mandated young driver sessions, which is a new rule introduced for this season.
Williams say De Vries will “aid the team’s preparation work ahead of qualifying and the Grand Prix”.
“We are looking forward to having Nyck de Vries in the car for FP1 as it is always good to work with a new driver and get a fresh opinion on the car's strengths and weaknesses,” said Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson.
“Nyck's experience and professionalism will be crucial on Friday as he will complete some of the key engineering tests in FP1 before he hands the car back to Alex for FP2.”
Sporting Director Sven Smeets added: “I’m looking forward to seeing Nyck join the team for FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix. As he is a very talented and experienced driver I have no doubt that he’ll maximise his time in the FW44 and deliver a strong, capable performance for the team.”
De Vries said: “Firstly, I’d really like to thank Williams for the opportunity to run in FP1. It’s great for me to get to know the team and drive the FW44, and also to get myself out on track during a Formula 1 weekend.
“Preparation for the test is going well so far and the team have been incredibly supportive of me. I’m very much looking forward to the whole experience in Spain now.”
First practice for the Spanish Grand Prix takes place at 1400 local time on Friday. You can follow all the action on F1 TV.