De Vries set for Williams FP1 outing at Spanish GP
Williams have confirmed that Nyck de Vries will make his Formula 1 race weekend debut by contesting FP1 in the FW44 in Barcelona.
As part of a new ruling for the 2022 season, teams must now run a driver with no more than two grands prix of experience during FP1 at two rounds during the campaign.
Williams will be the first team to use one of these mandatory ‘rookie driver’ outings, with de Vries set to replace Alex Albon in what will be his first Formula 1 action during a race weekend, having previously appeared for Mercedes at the Abu Dhabi Young Drivers’ Test.
De Vries currently serves as reserve driver for both the Mercedes and McLaren teams.
The team can confirm that @nyckdevries will take part in FP1 on Friday, fulfilling one of the two mandated young driver sessions this season 👍
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) May 16, 2022
Reacting to the announcement, de Vries said: “Firstly, I’d really like to thank Williams for the opportunity to run in FP1.
“It’s great for me to get to know the team and drive the FW44, and also to get myself out on track during a Formula One weekend. Preparation for the test is going well so far and the team have been incredibly supportive of me. I’m very much looking forward to the whole experience in Spain now!”
Dave Robson, Williams’ head of vehicle performance, added: “We are looking forward to having Nyck de Vries in the car for FP1 as it is always good to work with a new driver and get a fresh opinion on the car’s strengths and weaknesses.
“Nyck’s experience and professionalism will be crucial on Friday as he will complete some of the key engineering tests in FP1 before he hands the car back to Alex for FP2.”
De Vries was actually linked with a race seat at Williams for 2022 when George Russell’s move to Mercedes was confirmed, though Albon ultimately received the nod.
Talk of de Vries to Williams then resurfaced recently due to Nicholas Latifi’s early struggles, though the Dutchman said he did not know where the basis for such rumours had come from.
“These rumours are new to me,” he told GPFans.
“I have no idea where you read them [the rumours] or where you came across them. But then I’m very curious where they got that from, because honestly, I have no idea.”
Outside of Formula 1, de Vries has found great success in Formula E, winning the 2020-21 title with Mercedes.
More Albon heroics for Williams in Spain?
Alex Albon has made up more places on the first lap than an other driver this year, which is exactly what Williams need.