Lucas di Grassi draws ‘clear’ Red Bull conclusion from Nyck de Vries firing

Michelle Foster
AlphaTauri's Nyck de Vries at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023.

AlphaTauri's Nyck de Vries at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023.

Lucas di Grassi believes Red Bull’s decision to sack Nyck de Vries after just 10 races shows the decision to sign him and their decision-making process was “wrong”.

2021 Formula E World Champion De Vries entered the running to replace Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri when he impressed Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko with his points-scoring debut at last year’s Italian Grand Prix during a one-off appearance for Williams.

Although Marko has since revealed he and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner didn’t agree on the decision, Marko ultimately signed the Dutchman as Yuki Tsunoda’s new team-mate.

Nyck de Vries fired after just 10 races

But 10 races into the season and De Vries has found himself sidelined after being sacked by Red Bull in favour of signing former driver Daniel Ricciardo to the junior team.

It was a brutal decision that caught the attention of the motorsport world including De Vries’ former Formula E competitors.

“When you fire a driver after ten races, you make it clear that the decision-making process and the decision itself is wrong,” Di Grassi said as per Total Motorsport.

“The motorsport world relies a lot on instinct or on one lap instead of looking at the long term, the methodology of analysing the data and making the car faster should also help to choose the right driver.”

He believes just because a driver excels in Formula E that doesn’t mean he’ll do well in Formula 1, and the opposite is also true.

“It is difficult to say which category is better or worse, simply because a different type of technique is used inside the car. You can have a driver who is very good in Formula 1, but not so good in Formula E and quite the opposite,” said the Brazilian.

“I would say that the level of Formula E is quite good. I think it is the second or third best Championship in the whole world and the level of the drivers is incredibly high.”

He went on to claim that Antonio Felix da Costa, Sam Bird and Mitch Evans are “three, without a doubt, who deserved a chance” in Formula 1.

Da Costa: We know how ruthless Red Bull are

Da Costa had once knocked on that door with the Portuguese racing driver attached to Red Bull’s junior programme, only to be overlooked for F1 when AlphaTauri – then competing under the name of Toro Rosso – instead signing Daniil Kvyat in 2014.

Prior to news of De Vries’ axing, he took to Twitter to say he “can only imagine how hard it must be to quickly get used to an F1, perform with only a couple days testing.”

He was asked about that tweet at the start of the Rome E-Prix weekend, and told The Race: “Honestly, I tweeted that in the morning of that, maybe six or seven hours [before] – I had no idea that was going to happen that day.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Revealed: The shortest F1 careers this century in the brutal world of Formula 1

Memorable meltdowns and temper tantrums: Five drivers who lost their cool on team radio

“I had heard a few rumours, but I heard Nyck would have had a couple more races at least, so maybe he would have gone even to the end of the year.

“Things change very quickly in this sport, especially under the Red Bull banner, we know how ruthless they are.

“I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, that’s just the way it is. We all know that.”

He added: “I just feel sad for Nyck, you don’t win Formula 2 and Formula E and don’t know how to drive.

“I’m not too worried for him because I reckon he’ll be back on his feet. I think we can see him back here in Formula E, and I’m pretty sure we’ll see him in the WEC as well.”

Read next: Sebastian Vettel weighs in on Red Bull’s ‘brutal’ sacking of Nyck de Vries