Williams stronger, AlphaTauri flop: Will De Vries have regrets already?

Williams stronger, AlphaTauri flop: Will De Vries have regrets already?

21 March - 20:20 Last update: 21:20

Just a train of thought. Would Nyck de Vries still be as happy with his choice of AlphaTauri? Or would the Dutchman, active in Formula 1 for a full year for the first time, have preferred to sit in the Williams afterwards? Judging from the first two races of the season, Williams seem to have things in better shape than Red Bull Racing's sister team.

Suddenly, Nyck de Vries was the centre of attention. It was a gloriously sunny weekend in Monza, during the late summer of 2022. Totally unexpectedly, the then Mercedes test driver had to step in at Williams because regular driver Alex Albon had been felled by appendicitis. De Vries did not disappoint at all: in his first Grand Prix, he immediately finished ninth.

In line for De Vries

In the days that followed, a remarkable scene took place. Where teams did not see De Vries as a potential reinforcement for years, they suddenly lined up for him. Alpine let De Vries test in Hungary (although it was clear that the French preferred to recruit Pierre Gasly) and Williams made no secret of the fact that he could sign a contract immediately. However, De Vries opted for a commitment at AlphaTauri and to become part of the Red Bull family.

At the time, it seemed an understandable choice, as AlphaTauri had a (slightly) better car than Williams, although what the Italians performed was by no means anything to write home about. Moreover, there was far from the prospect of Williams making a serious step forward on the grid this season, while a second disaster season in a row for AlphaTauri could never happen with Red Bull's backing, could it? Well, Williams appear to be a mid-tier team and AlphaTauri seem to be the worst team of all.

Not to be pushed aside

Fortunately for De Vries, teams look beyond the result of a Grand Prix. If the Dutchman was driving dominating Yuki Tsunoda, he might have had a chance to replace Sergio Perez in due course. Maybe even as early as this season, if the Mexican missed the mark. But Perez has shown in the first two Grands Prix of the year to be Max Verstappen's likely sole challenger. Red Bull will not easily push aside a driver who has an ongoing contract and will soon (almost certainly) finish second in the final standings.

Another problem: De Vries was actually behind Tsunoda in the first two races, who is not known as a super talent. If Red Bull had to choose a driver based on these Grands Prix, it would surely have been the Japanese driver. And at Williams? Things are going smoothly there. Alex Albon said in an interview with the official site of Formula One that his car has "a lot of potential" and "it's felt the best since he joined Williams".

Has Nyck also spotted that?

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