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Nyck de Vries in AlphaTauri racing overalls.

De Vries: ‘Of course’ early F1 departure ‘hurts’

Nyck de Vries makes his return to racing soon, having signed with Mahindra Racing for season 10 of Formula E

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Nyck de Vries opens up about his short-lived AlphaTauri stint ahead of Formula E homecoming.

Nyck de Vries and Edoardo Mortara
Nyck de Vries is set to make his return to Formula E with Mahindra Racing. (Image Credit: Mahindra Racing)

When Nyck de Vries joined the F1 grid at the start of the 2023 season, it was with a weight of great expectation upon his shoulders. Although he had a Formula E World Championship to his name, for many fans of F1, their first impression of De Vries was his appearance at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, where he raced in Alex Albon’s stead.

It was an impressive performance. De Vries scored points on debut, coming across the line in ninth – and, crucially, ahead of then full-time Williams driver Nicholas Latifi. It was a drive that drew praise and recognition, catching the eye of one Helmut Marko. Not even a full month had passed before the announcement came that De Vries would replace the outgoing Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri.

In hindsight, the haste in which he was put into an F1 car set the tone for his F1 career. It felt that as quickly as the Dutchman joined the grid, he was just as soon axed from it. After only 10 races, the announcement came that De Vries would no longer race for AlphaTauri.

A new chapter

In a recent interview with The Race, De Vries reflected upon his time at AlphaTauri. The 21/22 World Champ was candid about the emotional impact of his quick dismissal.

“Of course, it hurts to end things prematurely,” said De Vries. “It was something I’ve dreamed about for many years, but the way I kind of personally see it is that through life, you go through different phases and different chapters.” 

He continued, “As I wrote in my personal post some days after it all happened, life is not a destination, it’s a journey. I think when you truly look at it from that perspective it also helps you to kind of reset and look forward.” The Dutchman added:

“As I said, we’re here at the start of a new chapter, something I’m really excited about the project and the perspective it has, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

The new chapter in question will see De Vries join Mahindra Racing for next season and beyond. He’s set to drive alongside Edoardo Mortara, who only recently parted ways with Maserati. 

Whilst a return to Formula E had been expected, De Vries’ decision to join Mahindra was somewhat surprising. Last season was difficult for the team, the fiasco in Cape Town a particularly painful point. Equally troublesome was the fact their driver, Oliver Rowland, parted ways with them mid-season

It’s clear that both De Vries and Mortara see potential in Mahindra. Speaking about his decision to join the team, the Dutchman said, “I think it’s no secret that the team has had a bit of a rough start to Gen3.”

‘There were positive signs of improvement during the second half of last season, he continued. ‘I believe the team can continue to build on those learnings, and with the additional changes and plans in place for the future, we can make even greater steps forward in performance at the start of our new journey together.”

Slow and steady wins the race?

Development seems to be the name of the game for Mahindra next season. Mahindra Racing CEO Frédéric Bertrand praised the team’s new acquisitions, pointing to the knowledge and expertise both drivers can bring to Mahindra’s mission to build back stronger.

“As a team, we are all embarking on a journey to bring Mahindra Racing back to the front of the grid in the coming years,” said Bertrand. “With their speed and experience, Nyck and Edo will play a key role in driving the team towards that goal, and I know everybody is feeling very motivated to work with them. Equally important for the team are the drivers’ appetites for a long-term project, which makes them the perfect fit for Mahindra Racing at the beginning of this journey.”

“We anticipate next year will be another year of development and progress, and in a championship like Formula E, success is impossible to achieve overnight. But the signing of Nyck and Edo, along with new recruits within the wider team, puts down a solid foundation on which we can build.”

De Vries and Mortara will make their public debut with Mahindra at the end of October when Formula E heads to Valencia for pre-season testing.

Featured Image Credit: Speedcafe

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