Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko revealed that Christian Horner was not keen on signing Nyck de Vries for AlphaTauri, and that currently Horner is being proven right.
De Vries had been a driver close to an F1 breakthrough for some time, but he put himself very much on the radar with his debut showing at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix with Williams, scoring points as he stood in for Alex Albon.
That led to Red Bull snapping him up for the F1 2023 campaign, placing him in their junior team AlphaTauri alongside Yuki Tsunoda.
Christian Horner was not convinced on Nyck de Vries
And it turns out that Marko was the one advocating for De Vries getting that opportunity, while Red Bull team principal Horner was not sold on the idea.
In the end, it was Marko’s stance which was put into action and De Vries was brought into the fold.
Asked on The Inside Line podcast if he and Horner commonly have differing views on driver signings, Marko said: “Not often, but sometimes we do. The last one… I would say de Vries.
“Basically it’s AlphaTauri, but we’re a big family and we get opinions. He [Horner] was not a fan of De Vries.”
Nyck de Vries better fit than Mick Schumacher
AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost, who will retire at the end of F1 2023, recently revealed that he also had an opinion on who he wanted as Tsunoda’s team-mate, with an AlphaTauri seat having been freed up when Pierre Gasly joined Alpine.
And for Tost, the driver in mind was Mick Schumacher, who was released by Haas at the end of the 2022 campaign.
Marko though stressed that AlphaTauri is the junior team for Red Bull, and with Schumacher having been a long-serving member of the Ferrari Driver Academy up until that point, De Vries was a better fit after that single appearance at the Italian GP.
“[It was] Franz Tost who wanted Mick Schumacher, but Mick was with Ferrari Academy for his whole career,” Marko confirmed.
“Basically, AlphaTauri is a junior team. De Vries is different to Schumacher in that he had just one race, very successful in Monza, so he could fit into our philosophy.”
Christian Horner right about Nyck de Vries?
The Dutchman came into the AlphaTauri line-up with a great deal of momentum after that Monza showing, but it is safe to say that his form so far in F1 2023 has eliminated the majority of it.
While AlphaTauri as a whole are not impressing, currently P10 and last in the Constructors’ standings, De Vries has generally struggled to match the performance level of Tsunoda.
Marko then made the brutal conclusion that on current form, Horner was perhaps right to have his concerns.
“I would say at the moment it looks like he’s right,” Marko concluded.
De Vries is one of only two drivers, the other being Williams’ rookie Logan Sargeant, to have not yet scored a point this season.