Dec.11 (GMM) Nyck de Vries didn’t get a “fair chance” to shine in Formula 1, according to fellow Dutchman Tom Coronel.
Alpha Tauri owner Red Bull decided to oust the underperforming 28-year-old Dutch rookie mid-season, but Coronel thinks de Vries was actually caught up in Red Bull’s internal wrangling.
“It only lasted ten races,” Coronel, a charismatic pundit and well-known Dutch racing driver, told the Dutch magazine Formule 1.
“I don’t think he had a fair chance. He should have finished the year,” he insisted. “Nyck made mistakes and some of them were bad, 100 percent. But I did see improvement.
“He just wasn’t able to peak and that’s a shame.”
Coronel thinks de Vries, who has now returned to Formula E, was put under too much pressure from the start of his F1 career.
“Before the season, Helmut Marko positioned him as the leader of the team and Franz Tost also said that he was counting on Nyck to be there from the first qualifying,” he said.
“Nyck is not a talker, not a leader, but he should have said ‘Guys, wait a minute, don’t forget that I need some time’. We know that Daniel Ricciardo was being lined up behind the scenes, that he had a deal and that he had to drive.
“I think Nyck knew very quickly that he would not do the entire season,” Coronel added.
“Daniel just waited and at a certain point he said ‘I’m ready now’. Nyck was actually only an interim solution for Red Bull. What I see clearly is that Christian Horner wanted Ricciardo in that car and Helmut Marko opted for Nyck.
“The two then simply made a deal with each other – Marko said something like ‘If Nyck doesn’t deliver in the first ten races, you (Horner) get your way and we’ll put Ricciardo in’. And that’s just what happened.”
Ultimately, Ricciardo then benefitted from an aggressive and successful in-season development program at Alpha Tauri.
“He performed immediately,” Coronel concedes, “things could also have gone well for Nyck. He just needed a little more time than he got.
“I am absolutely convinced that everything would have turned out fine for him. Let’s not forget that the car he got was a sh*thouse on wheels.”
He admits, however, that de Vries suffered because of his tendency to gradually build up speed with preparation and experience.
“He does the theory first, then practice,” said Coronel. “A talent, a raw driver, like Max Verstappen or Oscar Piastri, does exactly the opposite. But that is also because Nyck has always been a test driver, in retrospect for too long.
“And finally, let’s not forget that Yuki Tsunoda is seriously fast. He’s better than most think. He was in his third year, fighting for his last chance, and racing with the knife between his teeth.”