Red Bull is at it again with the mid-season layoffs! Nyck de Vries is out at AlphaTauri and Daniel Ricciardo is in.
Unfortunately, De Vries saw the momentum of his great one-off performance with Williams at the 2022 Italian GP quickly fade after moving onto the grid full-time with AlphaTauri.
The Dutchman stumbled out of the blocks and after going winless in the first 10 races, with several rookie mistakes in the mix, Red Bull decided that Daniel Ricciardo’s performance on the Silverstone tire test was enough to convince them it was time for the change.
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The deal sees Red Bull loan Ricciardo to their sister team AlphaTauri for the remainder of 2023, and Ricciardo’s first appearance with the Faenza team since 2013 will arrive at the very next stop on the F1 2023 calendar, the Hungaroring, home of the Hungarian Grand Prix. .
Now, Red Bull have never been shy about making these brutal decisions when it comes to their driver line-up, but was this one just a little too hard on De Vries? Had he been given a fair chance, or did Red Bull make the right decision to give up this partnership?
The writers here at PlanetF1.com have had their say…
Thomas Maher: Sergio Perez’s struggle hastened Nyck de Vries’ Red Bull end
Given that Red Bull’s signing of Nyck de Vries looked more like they were being driven in after dropping Juri Vips and failing to convince the FIA that Colton Herta was worthy of a super license, the Dutch driver has from day one against.
Trying to impress the team as Daniel Ricciardo floated around as the ex-girlfriend who went away for a few years “to find herself”, De Vries’ inability to keep up with Yuki Tsunoda – the Japanese driver not clearly a super talent himself in itself – meant he quickly drew the ire of Helmut Marko, who wasn’t shy about revealing that Christian Horner wasn’t on the side of the signing in the first place.
De Vries’ demise has also been hastened by the fact that Sergio Perez has messed around so badly this year. While this season isn’t a particularly big deal as Verstappen is racking up win after win in a dominant machine, a closer fight would mean that Perez’s struggle could have done a lot of damage to the team.
So getting Ricciardo in the seat for a test drive in the second half of the year is an excellent way to find out if the Australian has what it takes to better support Verstappen next year. After all, Perez could easily be transferred to AlphaTauri without breaking the contract – Red Bull has always made it clear that driver contracts are signed with the company, rather than the individual teams specifically.
If Perez had performed better, De Vries might have had more time to settle in. After all, ten races is hardly time for a rookie racer to get on his feet, with even AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost vehemently saying that three years is the amount of time it takes to figure out a driver’s overall skill.
The problem for all Red Bull drivers is that they are compared to Max Verstappen’s generational talent. Inevitably, almost everyone falls short. De Vries deserved more time to prove himself, but his relatively advanced age for a rookie (28), coupled with Red Bull’s concerns about his place in the leading team, means there was simply no time for mediocrity. It’s harsh, but understandable, and De Vries has just experienced the ruthlessness that has made Red Bull so successful.
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Jamie Woodhouse: The abolition of Nyck de Vries is harsh but not surprising
Unfortunately for De Vries, there were always two obvious factors working against him that would always be extremely difficult to overcome. The first was his ‘rookie’ status, and the second the fact that he was dealing with Red Bull.
Usually it would be a very hasty decision, to say the least, to decide after 10 Grands Prix that a rookie driver was not up to the task, having failed to score a point in arguably the slowest car on the grid. Bull’s standards.
But De Vries was not the classic F1 rookie. He came with expectations. He is 28, has a Formula E and GP2 title to his name and already had a very impressive Grand Prix performance at Monza in 2022 that put him on the Red Bull radar.
And that it was Red Bull also worked against him, this team of bosses who apparently don’t even know the meaning of the word patience.
So, was it a hard move, yes? But if Red Bull has shown the same ruthless streak over the years with their own driver programs, think Pierre Gasly for a fairly recent example, the truth is that as soon as De Vries came out of the blocks stumbling, the writing was on. wall.
Sam Cooper: Little indicates that Nyck de Vries was worth sticking with
If you take the emotion out of it, there isn’t much to suggest that Nyck de Vries was worth sticking with.
He is one of two drivers to have scored another point and while the other is 22, De Vries is 28. He is not a member of the Red Bull academy, meaning the only money the team has put on him, the contract is that they handed him over. late last year.
He is a driver who appears to be a bit of a political hot potato and a potential sore point between the two senior Red Bull figures in Helmut Marko and Christian Horner.
Finally, with Williams improving at Silverstone there is a real risk of AlphaTauri being cut off from the herd. While the decision to do it now and not during the summer break may seem surprising at first glance, dig a little deeper and you’ll find that there are two Grands Prix and a sprint before then. If Red Bull stays with De Vries, they could fall even further behind their competitors on July 31.
Red Bull are a team known for their ruthless decisions and while the decisions with Gasly and Albon could be considered a mistake, it seems unlikely at this stage that the same will be said of De Vries.
Read more: Striking data emerges from Daniel Ricciardo’s Silverstone test report