‘Signing Nyck de Vries a ‘masterstroke’ from Helmut Marko’

Henry Valantine
Nyck de Vries speaks to reporters. Suzuka October 2022.

Nyck de Vries is formally announced as an AlphaTauri driver for 2023 at a press conference. Japan October 2022.

Dutch racer Tom Coronel believes Red Bull’s swift poaching of Nyck de Vries was a “masterstroke” from Helmut Marko, with others interested in the Dutchman’s signature.

De Vries’ substitute appearance at Monza put him on the radar of the remaining teams with seats available for 2023, with the Dutchman having been rumoured to have been involved in Alpine’s recent private test at the Hungaroring, as well as being a prime candidate to replace Nicholas Latifi at Williams next season.

But with Alpine looking to secure Pierre Gasly, the failure to get IndyCar driver Colton Herta an FIA Super Licence saw Red Bull, and Marko specifically, quickly turn attention to signing the former Formula 2 champion for AlphaTauri.

The deal was struck quickly for De Vries, who will take part in his first full Formula 1 season in 2023. And Marko in fact believes the rookie will be able to take on the team leader role Gasly will vacate at the end of the year.

Given how quickly Marko and Red Bull acted to sign De Vries, Coronel thinks their decisiveness has been one of their biggest strengths over time – and bringing the 27-year-old in next year is another example of how acting swiftly will pay off.

“I think this is a masterstroke from Red Bull,” Coronel told the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com.

“You should think twice. You are now Doctor Helmut Marko and think ‘oh, Williams would like to have him’ and ‘oh, he is going to test at Alpine.’

“Furthermore, with all those customer teams, Mercedes also knows what he can do, so boom, I need to capture this guy right now. Then I’ll be ahead of everyone and I can choose from all the candidates on the market. And Marko doesn’t just do anything eh, he is brilliant at one thing and that is spotting young drivers.

“They have a kind of brutality in that area. It’s a matter of ‘we want that guy, bam, here you have a contract right away and we’ll sort it out’. They actually think very simply and act quickly.”

De Vries has had to bide his time in his quest for a Formula 1 seat, having won two World Karting titles, the Formula 2 championship and becoming Formula E’s first official FIA World Champion.

The long-time Mercedes reserve has the pedigree for the top tier, then – as Coronel argued.

“We should not forget: in karting, he won a championship every year. If you look at his CV, so purely titles, he is actually bigger than most in this paddock. There are few who have such a list as Nyck,” he reasoned.

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