Sep.12 (GMM) Even his highly impressive Formula 1 debut at Monza may not guarantee Nyck de Vries a full-time race seat in 2023.
Up and down pitlane, the sport’s most seasoned operators had to applaud the manner in which 27-year-old Dutchman de Vries handled his sudden F1 opportunity.
It came after his planned Friday outing with Aston Martin, where a day later he was “watching the F3 podium with a cappuccino” when the phone rang about Williams regular Alex Albon’s appendicitis.
De Vries then promptly out-qualified his struggling teammate Nicholas Latifi and, by the end of the Italian GP on Sunday, secured two points on debut.
On the in-lap, he told Williams engineers that his arms were “completely dead”, and was pulled from the car by a mechanic.
“Niki (Lauda) would have taken off his hat,” Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, who has strongly supported de Vries’ career, said.
“I think if one of the teams who still have a free seat don’t pick him up now, then I don’t understand the world anymore,” he added.
Whether that actually happens, however, is another thing entirely.
The most obvious place for de Vries is at Williams, in the place of Canadian Latifi.
Williams boss Jost Capito was asked if Monza was the perfect audition for the role.
“Of course you could put it that way,” he told De Telegraaf newspaper. “I already knew he would be capable of this.
“The seat depends on a number of factors but Nyck certainly showed the entire paddock what he can do.”
Former Dutch F1 driver and now Dutch GP boss Jan Lammers, however, suspects that Williams has other plans for 2023 – with Capito having hailed potential Haas refugee Mick Schumacher earlier in the Monza weekend.
“De Vries used to race against drivers like Leclerc and he was not inferior to them,” he told NOS. “It must have hurt to have to watch from the sidelines.
“It wouldn’t be a surprise if he drives for Williams next year, as logic and common sense say that Albon and de Vries would be a great combination.
“But I get the impression that they already have a contract with someone else,” Lammers said.
Capito doesn’t deny it.
“I’ve known Nyck for a while and we’re friends,” said the Williams boss. “He’s always on the list, but he has other obligations too, so it’s up to him.
“He needs to see what his future holds and from there we move forward.”
But for now, the best de Vries can do is to travel to Singapore in a fortnight to be on stand-by for a recovering Albon.
“Alex has been under general anaesthesia and every person reacts differently to that,” Capito said.
“I understand from the doctors that there is a good chance that he will be fit for Singapore, but Nyck will at least be there as a reserve driver.”