‘Brexit’ stops Nyck de Vries from preparing for Singapore GP in Williams sim

Sam Cooper
Williams' Nyck de Vries at the Italian Grand Prix. Monza, September 2022.

Nyck de Vries has blamed Brexit for his inability to practice in the Williams simulator ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

With Alex Albon unavailable due to needing an operation as a result of appendicitis, De Vries made his F1 debut for the team at the Italian Grand Prix and impressed from the off with a P9 finish.

Albon is now out of hospital, having spent some time in intensive care, but it is still not a guarantee that he will be fully fighting fit for the Singapore Grand Prix next weekend.

This might mean De Vries could be in line to double his tally of career F1 races with another appearance around the track at the Marina Bay.

But, his preparation has not been ideal as he said Brexit prevented him for entering the UK and accessing the team’s base in Oxfordshire.

UK residents voted to leave the European Union in 2016 with the country formally withdrawing in January 2020. As a result, travel into the UK has become much harder for European residents as De Vries found out.

He took to Instagram to say he had been unable to gain access with his European Identity card as he tried to fly into London from Budapest. De Vries was not travelling with his passport.

Many countries in the EU are in what is known as the Schengen Area where residents can travel freely between them. However, even before Brexit the UK was not a member of this and since October 2021, a passport has been required for entry into the country.

There is an exception for Dutch nationals who were living in the UK before December 31 2020 who can still enter the country with their ID card up until 2025.

As a result of his failed entry, De Vries was forced to instead return home and miss out on some valuable practice in the Williams simulator.

Impressive Monza debut has made Nyck de Vries a valuable commodity in Formula 1

Given his age, De Vries may have been thinking his F1 chance might never come but being in the right place at the right time often plays a part in someone’s career.

With De Vries already at the Monza track due to his role as Mercedes reserve driver but also as an FP1 pilot for Aston Martin, he was the ideal choice for Williams and there is no doubt he took that chance that he had been waiting so long for.

It has spring-boarded him to the top of many team’s shopping lists and with a potential four 2023 seats up for grab, being placed in the shop window could not have come at a better time for the Dutchman.

As it stands, it appears a move to AlphaTauri seems the most likely but if that were to fall through, there are still plenty of options for De Vries.

A move to Williams would be logical given Nicholas Latifi’s confirmed departure and De Vries’ familiarly with the team but their perennial position as backmarkers may have given the Dutchman second thoughts.

Another potential move could be to Haas with Mick Schumacher’s future looking less certain as the days go by. De Vries could take encouragement from the team’s earlier form, which saw Kevin Magnussen finish P5 in the opening race, as a sign of things to come.

Perhaps the best option left on the table for De Vries would be a move to Alpine. While the French team seem to have their hearts set on Pierre Gasly, that contract is still not signed and the chance to race for a team battling for P4 this season is certainly the best on paper for the 27-year-old.