How Nyck de Vries lost his F1 seat to Daniel Ricciardo

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Time is up in Nyck de Vries’ Formula 1 career – at least for now.

After de Vries went without points and made repeated mistakes through the first 10 races of the season, AlphaTauri replaced rookie with Daniel Ricciardo on Tuesday, effective immediately. Ricciardo has been spending this season as Red Bull’s third driver, and now he will be “on loan” from Red Bull (Alphatauri’s sister team), joining the grid for next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The move comes after months of speculation about de Vries’ future in Formula 1 as he has largely underperformed this year, culminating with finishing P12 (at Monaco) and making it outside Q1 just three times.

All F1 beginners face a steep learning curve. As in the calendar, there are many unfamiliar tracks for them, such as Melbourne or Miami. Going into the season, de Vries already had F1 racing under his belt when he replaced Alex Albon and picked up points for Williams during the 2022 Italian Grand Prix. But his 2023 film didn’t live up to the hype the performance generated. He even admitted in May that he “made a lot of mistakes.” However, de Vries said he still felt secure in his seat during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend the athlete In Canada it is “unfair” to measure success in terms of numbers and achievements.

“If you measure success solely by victories or championships, what are all your other years of not winning? Are the rest of your life a failure or no success?” de Vries asked in Montreal, musing about how he defines success. Personally, I don’t believe it. And especially in our industry, a lot of different variables have an impact on the bottom line of the outcome. If you are honest and realistic with yourself, you will know when you did a good job and when you didn’t.

“What is success? I think it’s almost a moving target.”

Here’s how de Vries’ 2023 season unfolded and what he (and others) had to say as the weeks went by.

“If you measure success solely by wins or championships, what are all your other years of not winning? Are the rest of your life a failure or no success?” De Vries told The Athletic in Montreal. (ANP via Getty Images)

First round: Bahrain Grand Prix

The first race of the season went well for the rookie.

De Vries made no major mistakes, and his progress was hampered by strategy when AlphaTauri missed an opportunity to dent during the late Virtual Safety Car. P19 started but was overtaken by Pierre Gasly at the start, leaving him in last place as the first lap ended. The Dutchman fought his way to P11, but choosing not to be affected made de Vries vulnerable to those around him. He finished 14th.

De Vries seemed optimistic about the day’s developments, but Red Bull team advisor Helmut Marko said he wanted more.

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Marco said in an interview with German edition of Motorsport.com. “He has been closely involved with Mercedes, driving as third or reserve driver in almost all of their Formula 1 and customer team cars. He has extensive knowledge, but this is AlphaTauri, not Mercedes. In terms of budget and manpower, they are not comparable. .

“There were positive things for sure, but now he also realizes that this is a different team. The idea now is for him to focus on his performance… he needs to pick up the pace.”

Marko later notes that it was only one race, but his high expectations for the rookie were evident from the start.

The second round: the Grand Prix of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

De Vries may have led three F1 debutants in the final results from Jeddah, but it wasn’t the race that made him happy.

The rookie made a terrific pass on Logan Sargeant in an unusual overtake, diving on the inside at the final corner. But in other pivotal moments, he said he “loses a lot of ground.” It took De Vries a bit to get into a rhythm. However, the novice felt that he was still a “step up” from Bahrain.

Meanwhile, AlphaTauri technical director Jody Egginton praised de Vries, saying results are once again down to strategy.

“We couldn’t get Nyck into the points with strategy, but he made some progress from his starting position, had some good fights, and was putting up solid lap times in both compounds tonight.”

Round Three: Australian Grand Prix

De Vries battled from behind, never fighting for points throughout the race and lacking the pace of teammate Yuki Tsunoda. A late restart with two laps to go offered de Vries an opportunity to climb the grid if he made a successful start, but he couldn’t stay out of trouble – through no fault of his own. Logan Sargent misjudged the braking point, running straight into the back of de Vries’ AlphaTauri. They ended up beached in the gravel and dropped out of the race.

Fourth round: Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Another weekend to forget de Vries as he crashed twice.

Chances of more points were on the table with the first weekend of the year, but he came away empty-handed. De Vries’ first shunt came during Friday’s qualifying when he crashed at Turn 3, leaving him at the back of the grid for the Grand Prix. Come Sunday, the rookie scored his second consecutive DNF when he clipped a wall, smashing the track into the front of the car.

De Vries admitted his mistake, telling Viaplay, “Maybe the impatience behind Zhou, I was a bit stuck in there. But it doesn’t make it right, I still made the mistake, and that shouldn’t happen.”

There is, as I always say, a learning process and a downtime, said team principal Franz Tost on Saturday in Baku. Because if the drivers don’t crash, they don’t know the limit. That’s credit you have to give them, otherwise it won’t work.

“And there was no driver and he didn’t crash. I remember Sebastian (Vettel) in the first races most often came back to the first lap without his nose. That’s part of the game.”

Fifth round: Miami Grand Prix

De Vries’ season looked like it might have taken a turn when he outlasted qualifying Tsunoda for the first time all season. That was until the opening lap during the race when he closed up and hit the back of Lando Norris’ car, which “weakened our first stint a bit because there was a lot of vibration on the front right and that affected our pace”.

Round 6: Imola (Cancelled)

Seventh round: Monaco Grand Prix

As the Monaco Grand Prix weekend approaches, noises are starting to build up around de Vries. Speculation began after Miami that Red Bull was indeed considering a driver change at the sister team, but when the athlete De Vries asked if he felt his seat was secure, his answer was simple.

“Yeah. And it’s not a shock to me. It’s normal, it’s the industry. It’s always been like that in Red Bull and Formula 1. I really think it’s no different than it was earlier in the season. You always have to give, you always have to give.” And I’ve had that my whole career.”

De Vries sparred with Kevin Magnussen in Canada and again in Austria. “He’s, I think, racing for his future and maybe he’s in a bit of a desperate situation,” said the Haas driver of the rookie. (Joe Portlock – Formula 1 / Formula 1 via Getty Images)

He realized he made mistakes, and by the end of the weekend, he had put together his cleanest performance of the season. He qualified 12th and basically stayed there for the race, stopping the string of mistakes.

Eighth round: Spanish Grand Prix

It looked like the positive trajectory might continue in Spain as the rookie finished P3 during the first practice, earning Tost’s praise.

“As I always say, nowadays, if newbies come to Formula 1, it’s difficult for them to learn everything so quickly – because if you look at the first races, some tracks, they don’t even know” in Spain, Tost said. “Melbourne, for example, or Saudi Arabia, or Miami – and then you have a sprint race like in Baku with qualifying right after the first free practice – and it’s not easy for the two young drivers. The midfields are very close together. It’s only hundreds of seconds of difference, and to get a good performance you really have to get everything together.”

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Come race day, de Vries had a strong start, but “he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got stuck on the inside, so we lost a lot of places and then got stuck behind other cars.” Undermining his rivals didn’t work as he struggled to pass the other drivers, but he did stay out of trouble during the race.

Round nine: Canadian Grand Prix

Things went south for de Vries when he got involved in a wheel fight with Kevin Magnussen, sending them both down an escape route. The AlphaTauri driver moved inside Haas, which seemed to force Magnussen wide. Their wheels collided, and George Russell passed both of them. But it didn’t end there. He said De Vries tried to charge the inside but locked up when he tried to brake.

Neither driver blamed the other, and de Vries called it a “racing accident”.

Round 10: Austrian Grand Prix

Coming into the weekend, it felt like de Vries was driving into lost time. Marco asked about Inside Line podcast Whether he and Red Bull boss Christian Horner disagree on driver signings remains to be seen. He revealed that de Vries was one of them – “He (Horner) was not a fan of de Vries.” Marko also said Tost wanted Mick Schumacher in the seat.

Austria was another weekend for de Vries to forget as the rookie had another moment with Magnussen. The rookie held his line as Magnussen was out (and level with de Vries), pushing Haas into the gravel and earning de Vries a five-second penalty. The Haas driver later said, “He’s, I think, racing for his future and maybe he’s in a bit of a desperate spot.”

Round 11: British Grand Prix

Quiet de Vries place in Silverstone, nothing too flashy or problematic. Struggling on cold tyres, he fell in Q1, and the safety car timing during the race was unlucky for the rookie. One of the highlights was that de Vries wasn’t too far behind Tsunoda’s pace, but it didn’t matter much in hindsight.

Nic de Vries (bottom left) is replaced by Daniel Ricciardo (top right). (Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The bigger picture

De Vries joins a long list of young drivers who have faced challenging courses at AlphaTauri and Red Bull. To point out some recent history, Pierre Gasly replaced Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso in 2017 after the Russian had a poor form during the season. In 2019, Gasly was replaced at Red Bull mid-season by Alex Albon, who lost his seat to Sergio Perez after the 2020 season.

In hindsight, Red Bull may have acted impulsively by signing de Vries so soon after the Monza performance. It was an impressive debut, the kind a driver needs when packing his bag for an F1 seat. But dropping him before the halfway point of his rookie season is shocking, regardless of his track record. After all, Tost was adamant that drivers need three years to adjust to Formula 1.

However, De Vries struggled to match Tsunoda’s performance throughout the season and crashed several times. The writing seemed to be on the wall with the public criticism, and Tost even avoided the opportunity to say the rookie would finish the season.

The Dutchman’s underwhelming 10-race stint presented an opportunity for Ricciardo, a driver who (as Luke Smith wrote) has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

(Feature photo of Nyck de Vries at the Australian Grand Prix: Peter van Egmond/Getty Images))

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