Nyck de Vries appears to be heading in the right direction to save his F1 career after Helmut Marko delivered his latest assessment on the struggling Dutch driver.
The 28-year-old has been inching ever closer to Red Bull’s chopping block after struggling to make any real impression at AlphaTauri in the early stages of the F1 2023 season.
The situation escalated further earlier in May when Marko issued a “yellow card” warning to De Vries and name-checked junior drivers such as Liam Lawson and Ayumu Iwasa as potential replacements.
That was also followed by a suggestion that the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend had been earmarked as De Vries’ last race to save himself – but Red Bull’s motorsport advisor has now said there is never a fixed date in mind with any under-pressure driver.
“There is never a deadline. We just watch it and look at the performances,” Marko told Motorsport.com.
“When we have to act, then we will act. At the moment we don’t do anything.”
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If Marko’s yellow card was a ploy to spark De Vries into find another step in terms of performance, it certainly seemed to have a positive effect on the Dutchman at the Monaco Grand Prix.
For the first time this season, De Vries finished above impressive team-mate Yuki Tsunoda – even if the latter’s P15 result can be caveated by the fact he was running in the points before suffering from brake problems.
Regardless, De Vries was much more in touch with the standards set by Tsunoda and, more importantly, Marko liked what he saw in Monte Carlo.
“This was by far his best weekend for AlphaTauri,” Marko continued. “Nyck was much closer to Yuki than before. This is what I want to see from him.
“Yuki was also really good until the brake problems came again. This is something that has to be solved by the team, they have brake problems so often.
“Of course we want to see more [from De Vries]. We thought we’d bring in someone with some experience already to challenge Yuki. But that didn’t happen yet, so that is the most important thing.”
De Vries finished P12 in Monte Carlo and, whilst that is a respectable result on a very unforgiving track, he is still one of only two drivers who are yet to score a point so far this season.