Sacked Red Bull driver’s fresh start does not go exactly to plan

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen driving the Red Bull RB19 in Brazil.

Max Verstappen driving the Red Bull RB19.

Nyck de Vries’ return to Formula E proved to be a disappointment, with the former Red Bull F1 man finishing out of the points in 15th place in opening race of the new season.

De Vries landed a full-time F1 seat for 2023 following a stunning performance for Williams at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where he scored points standing in for Alex Albon.

The Dutchman was signed for Red Bull junior team AlphaTauri as Pierre Gasly’s replacement for 2023, but was dropped for Daniel Ricciardo after just 10 races after struggling alongside Yuki Tsunoda.

Red Bull F1 flop in muted return to racing

De Vries went on to announce his return to Formula E – the category in which he was crowned World Champion with Mercedes in 2021 – with the 28-year-old also racing with Toyota in the World Endurance Championship in 2024.

His Formula E comeback did not go to plan, however, with De Vries classified last in qualifying at the Mexico City E-Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – the same venue used for F1’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Mahindra Racing driver De Vries went on to finish a lowly 15th in a race won for Porsche by Pascal Wehrlein, who spent two seasons in F1 with the Manor and Sauber teams in 2016/17.

Wehrlein finished just over a second ahead of another ex-Red Bull F1 driver, Sebastien Buemi, who was dropped by AlphaTauri (then Toro Rosso) at the end of the 2011 season. recommends

All the mid-season driver swaps Red Bull have made in their F1 history

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

Ahead of his return to Formula E in Mexico, De Vries revealed he had been keen to return to the all-electric category after losing his F1 seat last summer.

He told the official Formula E website: “There was clearly always an interest from my side to come back to Formula E, hence why I decided to travel to the last race of the championship [in 2023].

“I decided to fly out to London to be back in the paddock, meet old friends, and see what it’s like again.

“That’s when Fred Bertrand [Mahindra chief executive] and I coincidentally bumped into each other.

“From that moment, we planned a call and he explained his plans and where the team is aiming to go. It really appealed to me and together overtime, obviously not overnight, it all developed quite naturally.

“I still have a bit of catching up to do. I also still need to get used to everything a little bit more. Basically, I didn’t drive a Formula E car for 12 months.

“The racing is very different, so I still need a little bit more time to get up to speed with everything. But that’s part of the process.”

Read next: F1 Sprint changes? Three main factors under discussion as final submission looms