Nyck de Vries

Nyck de Vries has spent the majority of his motor racing career restricted, held back by misfortune, poor timing, and politics. Nevertheless, his talent has not gone unrecognised, earning him titles in numerous racing series as well as a chance in F1 – an achievement ten years in the making.

Karting and early career

Securing his first podium finish at the age of 10, de Vries’ karting career can only be classed as an overwhelming success. Winning a European title in 2009, the Dutchman was often the pick of the field, drawing the attention of McLaren who signed him to their junior programme in 2010. De Vries continued to find success in the years that followed, winning back-to-back CIK-FIA World Championship’s in 2010 and 2011, before moving into Formula Renault 2.0 in 2012.

Now just 16, de Vries showed maturity beyond his years, finishing fifth in the Eurocup and even picking up a victory in a part-time Northern European Cup campaign. He continued to progress in the 2013 campaign, switching teams and picking up his first two Eurocup wins, but his 2014 season would be his best – capturing 14 race wins across the Eurocup and Alps series, eventually earning him the title in both.

His success helped promote de Vries into the Formula Renault 3.5 series for 2015, where he finished third in the championship and captured a maiden win during the final race of the season, keeping his name afloat as one of the most promising up and comers in motorsport. Unfortunately, political issues at McLaren delayed his progress toward the elite categories, with de Vries being demoted to GP3 for 2016 and subsequently having his worst performing season, despite securing two victories late in the year.

The emergence of younger and more exciting talent further limited de Vries progress at McLaren, forcing him to begin an association with Audi which would allow him to enter F2 with Rapax in 2017.

Formula 2

In similar fashion to his time in karting, de Vries would spend the majority of his F2 career trying to find the right fit, racing for four teams in three seasons. Despite securing a win in Monaco and podiums in Baku and Hungary, his debut campaign with Rampax in 2017 was limited by the teams significant financial issues – forcing a mid-season switch to Racing Engineering.

In 2018, and with McLaren support dwindling, de Vries moved to Prema who had won the F2 title the year before with Charles Leclerc. Competing against the likes of George Russell, Alex Albon and fellow McLaren junior Lando Norris, de Vries was still unable to string together enough strong performances to compete for the title, eventually falling to fourth in the drivers’ standings.

From the archive

Russell, Albon, and Norris were all signed to F1 teams for the following year, with de Vries debating a career in Formula E, before deciding to move to ART Grand Prix for the 2019 F2 season.

Here, the Dutchman would finally reach his full potential, beating out Nicholas Latifi to win an F2 title with one round to spare. In the same year, he would also leave McLaren to join Mercedes, making the decision to join Formula E – making his race debut before the F2 season had even concluded.

Formula E

Formula E provided de Vries with new challenges, finishing 11th in the drivers’ standings in his first season whilst simultaneously acting as Mercedes’ reserve F1 driver. But he reached new heights of performance in 2021, securing a Formula E world title over rivals Edoardo Mortara and Jake Dennis, with standout drives in Saudi Arabia and Spain.

Sensing an opportunity to finally capture a full-time seat in F1, De Vries dropped to ninth in the Formula E standings in 2022, prioritising free practice opportunities with Mercedes, Aston Martin, and Williams. He performed well in each, impressing on a wide variety of grand prix circuits including Circuit de Catalunya and Paul Ricard. But it was ultimately a stand-in drive at Monza that sealed his F1 future.

A chance at Formula 1

Competent drives during practice sessions certainly played their part in earning de Vries a full-time F1 seat, but his heroic performance at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix almost definitely sealed the deal. With Alex Albon forced to the side-lines, recovering from appendicitis surgery, de Vries was called up to replace the Thai driver, stepping into the Williams for the first time in free practice one.

The Dutchman proved his worth immediately, out-qualifying teammate Nicholas Latifi by a tenth of a second and starting in 13th for Sunday’s race. A quick start saw him immediately jump up into the top ten, crossing the line in eighth at the end of lap one, before settling into ninth for the majority of the race. Calm and collected defensive driving allowed him to survive the attacks of Zhou Guanyu and Esteban Ocon in the closing stages, ultimately finishing a brilliant ninth.

He was rewarded with interest of numerous F1 teams, keen on signing him to a full-time seat, but a seat at AlphaTauri proved the most tempting – partnering Yuki Tsunoda for the 2023 F1 season.

Non Championship Races