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AlphaTauri needs to fish outside its own pond; why De Vries is an option

AlphaTauri needs to fish outside its own pond; why De Vries is an option

18-09-2022 18:26

Nyck de Vries has appeared on the radar of AlphaTauri, it was revealed this weekend. At the Faenza-based racing stable, Pierre Gasly is still under contract for next season, but the Frenchman is top candidate to succeed Fernando Alonso at Alpine's team. So why did Marko end up with De Vries? He gives the answer himself at Auto, Motor und Sport.

No Red Bull junior 'ready'

With Liam Lawson, Dennis Hauger, Jehan Daruvala and Ayumu Iwasa, the Austrian racing stable has four active drivers driving Formula 2, but Marko does not consider anyone ripe to make the step to Formula 1 yet. Juri Vips was also part of Red Bull's junior programme until halfway through this season, but he no longer seems to have to count on an F1 debut at AlphaTauri anyway after his racist incident. The Estonian's meagre results certainly don't help him either.

Red Bull is all too keen to give its own talent a chance and an awful lot of money is invested in its own training, so it is very disappointing for Marko that he has to look elsewhere to attract a replacement for Gasly. Red Bull's plan was actually that a Lawson or Vips should have been ready by now.

However, they disappointed. Marko is happy about someone like Iwasa, but according to the advisor, the Japanese still needs to put in extra miles. "He needs a second Formula 2 season," he said. In Formula 3, a big Red Bull talent is driving around in the form of Isack Hadjar. The Frenchman just missed out on the Formula 3 title and will be on display in Formula 2 next year. Marko has a high opinion of him: "He's a guy like Prost", he calls him.

Dash through plan A

From the outside, Colton Herta has always been the first option for Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri, but hopes of the American's arrival have now been abandoned. The 22-year-old driver does not have enough super licence points, which prevents him from debuting in Formula 1 according to FIA rules. However, Herta has had quite a few seasons in IndyCar and he even managed to pick up several victories there.

Marko therefore finds it incomprehensible that the FIA awards very few super licence points for championships like IndyCar and Japanese Super Formula. Formula 2 and Formula 3 award many more points, even though they are not necessarily the best stepping stones to Formula 2. Gasly is one example who has also driven Japanese Formula, for example. "In IndyCar and Japanese Super Formula, there are really fast race cars, and there is strong internal competition. They are clearly underrated compared to our junior series [Formula 2 and Formula 3]," Marko said.

De Vries suddenly in the picture after all

From Christian Horner 's words, during the Grand Prix weekend in the Netherlands, we seemed to infer that for AlphaTaur it was going to be either Gasly or Herta in 2023. There did not really appear to be an option B, but presumably De Vries impressed Marko and consorts very much thanks to his performance in the Italian Grand Prix as Alexander Albon' s replacement.

De Vries already spoke to the 79-year-old Austrian in Graz, although it is not yet a certainty that he will actually be allocated a seat. According to various reports, the former Formula 2 and Formula E champion is said to be in pole position though and clarity should come within weeks. Another advantage for Red Bull is that De Vries could potentially bring interesting information from the Mercedes camp. After all, as a test and reserve driver, he is closely involved in the development of the car(s).