Nyck de Vries deputising as potential Lando Norris replacement at McLaren

Henry Valantine
Nyck de Vries has a McLaren seat fit. Brazil November 2022.

Nyck de Vries has a McLaren seat fit. Brazil November 2022.

Mercedes reserve Nyck de Vries has had a seat fitting with McLaren in case he is needed to replace the unwell Lando Norris in Brazil this weekend.

McLaren confirmed on Thursday that Norris would be absent from the pre-race press conferences at Interlagos as he is suffering from suspected food poisoning.

The team expect him to be fit enough to race over the course of the weekend, but as a contingency plan, Mercedes reserve De Vries was pictured in the cockpit of Norris’ car in McLaren overalls, in case his services are required.

In confirming Norris’ illness, McLaren wrote on social media: “Lando is feeling unwell with suspected food poisoning, so he will rest in the hotel today. We expect him back at track tomorrow.

“Get well soon, Lando!”

De Vries has already driven for several different teams this season, with his role as Mercedes reserve driver also covering their customer teams – having appeared in free practice for Aston Martin earlier in the season, as well as impressing on his last-minute debut for Williams in Monza, which ultimately earned him a full-time drive with AlphaTauri for next year.

The Dutchman is also widely reported to have taken part in a private test with Alpine in the summer while they searched for a replacement for Fernando Alonso, with Pierre Gasly ultimately signing for the French team for 2023.

De Vries will head to AlphaTauri to partner Yuki Tsunoda in Gasly’s absence next year, and has already visited the team’s Faenza factory to introduce himself to his future colleagues.

He took part in FP1 in Mexico for Mercedes at the last round, and De Vries said he will leave the team “grateful” for the opportunities they have given him.

“We’ve had three great years together – actually it was four, but the first year was a bit unofficial – but yeah, we had a good time together,” he said after practice in Mexico City.

“I’m very grateful for all the opportunities the team has given me. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve built up personal relationships within the team, and our relationship is still good.

“So I’m just grateful for that and now I’m obviously looking forward to the next chapter in my career.”

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