Nyck de Vries’ sparkling F1 debut for Williams may have come too late to bag him a race seat with the team in 2023.
That is the view of his compatriot and Dutch Grand Prix boss Jan Lammers, who has an inkling a deal has already been struck between Williams and another driver.
Whom that other driver would be is unclear because there remain several options for Williams – if, as expected, they decide to dispense with the services of Nicholas Latifi following his highly disappointing third season.
De Vries was being spoken about as a potential contender to slot in alongside Alex Albon next year, but that talk has risen to a whole new level as a result of his terrific bow in unexpected circumstances at the Italian Grand Prix.
Called in at a matter of minutes’ notice before FP3, the Dutchman not only reached the second part of qualifying, securing a P8 start due to others incurring grid penalties, but he also scored points in the race.
Unfazed by being part of a DRS train running at close quarters to several rivals, De Vries held his own to come home ninth – collecting two points for himself and increasing Williams’ tally for the season to six.
But the worry for the 27-year-old, as far as Dutch Grand Prix sporting director and ex-F1 driver Lammers is concerned, is that Williams may already have finalised next season’s line-up – and are simply biding their time before announcing it.
“De Vries used to race against drivers like Charles Leclerc [in Formula 2] and he was not inferior to them,” Lammers told NOS, as reported by grandpx.news. “It must have hurt to have to watch from the sidelines.
“It wouldn’t be a surprise if he drives for Williams next year, as logic and common sense say Albon and de Vries would be a great combination.
“But I get the impression they already have a contract with someone else.”
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) September 12, 2022
That ‘someone else’ could be Mick Schumacher, a German compatriot of Williams CEO and team principal Jost Capito and who increasingly looks likely to leave Haas after two campaigns with that team.
Other drivers to have been mentioned in connection with Williams are Daniel Ricciardo, who says he wants to remain in F1 after being released by McLaren to make way for Oscar Piastri, and Logan Sargeant, a Williams Academy prospect and F2 racer set for a rookie’s FP1 outing at his home event, the United States Grand Prix.