Sky F1 commentator criticises premature Red Bull decision to sack Nyck de Vries

Jamie Woodhouse
AlphaTauri driver Nyck de Vries at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

AlphaTauri's Nyck de Vries at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Sky F1 commentator David Croft believes Nyck de Vries was not afforded enough time “to show what he can do” before Red Bull decided to wield the axe and bring in Daniel Ricciardo.

De Vries had failed to live up to the expectations at AlphaTauri set by his strong one-off outing for Williams at the 2022 Italian GP, failing to score a point in his 10 grands prix at the wheel of the AT04.

And ever since Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko revealed that team boss Christian Horner had doubts about signing De Vries to their sister team AlphaTauri, and stating his form was proving Horner right, it really felt like the writing was on the wall for De Vries.

David Croft argues 10 races not enough for Nyck de Vries

Formula 1 history has shown that Red Bull are never afraid to dump a driver mid-season if performances are not hitting their lofty expectations, with De Vries now proving to be the latest casualty.

Croft though believes that ditching De Vries after only 10 races with the AlphaTauri team is particularly harsh.

“Daniel Ricciardo on loan to Scuderia AlphaTauri for remainder of 2023 season,” Croft tweeted. “1st race will be Hungary next week.

“Can’t help think that however nice it will be to have Daniel back on the grid, Nyck wasn’t given enough time to show what he can do – 10 races!”

Fellow F1 commentator Alex Brundle also believes it was a harsh move on De Vries, arguing that he should have been given the chance to see out the season especially with the AlphaTauri AT04 struggling against the competition.

AlphaTauri find themselves bottom of the Constructors’ Championship and arguably with the slowest challenger in the field.

He also claimed that Ricciardo’s move to AlphaTauri shows a lack of confidence from Red Bull in their young drivers, with Liam lawson, currently vying for the Super Formula title, overlooked once more for an AlphaTauri vacancy.

“This is a bit harsh in several directions,” Brundle tweeted.

“A) I think it’s fair to expect a full season to prove you can perform, especially when the car has been such a moving target.

“B) Taking DR and not Lawson seems to demonstrate no confidence from RB in their driver roster.”

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Commentator Alex Jacques also picked up on that overlooking of Lawson, despite him serving as a member of the Red Bull Junior Team since age 17.

“Very pleased to see Danny Ric back on the grid but it really is another classic of the Toro Rosso/Alpha Tauri second seat genre,” he posted.

“De Vries sacked 10 races in.

“Lawson passed over having been with the academy since he was 17

“New driver is 34 and left the team a decade ago.”

Giedo van der Garde talks up Nyck de Vries

While his time with AlphaTauri certainly did not go to plan, it cannot be forgotten that De Vries boasts an impressive list of accolades elsewhere in the world of motor sport, including having a Formula E and GP2 title to his name.

And so his compatriot Van Der Garde, who previously raced in Formula 1 with Caterham, stressed that De Vries is “quick as hell” and still has plenty of success waiting ahead in his career.

“Never expected it to be over so quickly for Nyck,” Van Der Garde wrote.

“If you look back at it, the amount of time he was given to get used to the car and the progress he made (slowly but surely) it’s – in my opinion – been too soon. As for Nyck, this hurts like a m*#%{f^]er.

“I remember when my career ended so quickly, I couldn’t watch a single meter of racing. That’s understandable, but let’s not forget this guy is quick as hell, has proven himself in a lot of categories and has a bright future in motorsport ahead of him.

“It might be too soon to focus on that, but important to keep in mind. Cheer up and you can be proud of yourself buddy.”

The new AlphaTauri pairing of Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda will debut at the Hungarian Grand Prix, an event which Ricciardo won back in 2014 during his first season as a Red Bull driver.

Read next: All the mid-season driver swaps Red Bull have made in their F1 history