Nyck De Vries believes his abundance of experience in other categories will be a valuable asset as he prepares to encounter his rookie Formula 1 campaign in 2023.
The Dutch driver will be making his full-time F1 debut this season after being selected by Red Bull’s esteemed motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko, to replace Pierre Gasly at the AlphaTauri outfit.
Following several outings for various teams across the grid last year, De Vries made his grand prix debut at last season’s Italian GP, when he stood in for the unwell Alex Albon and impressed by guiding his Williams car to a ninth-place finish in the race.
Although De Vries has downplayed gaining any lasting advantage from the excessive F1 testing time he received last year, the 2020/21 Formula E champion is confident his success in other motor racing categories will prove to be a vital aid in helping him get up to speed.
“There is always healthy pressure,” De Vries said.
“I think that is necessary to be fully focused and switched on. I would say I’m still a rookie. Of course, I had the privilege of driving many different cars, but I think the benefits of that are not so much down to the track time, because actually that was very limited.
“Apart from three rookie tests – two at Mercedes, one with Scuderia AlphaTauri – I didn’t do proper testing. The FP1s were a great opportunity and experience to get myself out during a grand prix weekend.
“That brings a very different pressure to when you are doing a full day of testing because you have very limited time. It’s an opportunity to show yourself but equally, there is more to lose than win so for sure, that is good experience to have.
“I think having the experience to have worked with different teams in different environments will bring a lot of value, but in terms of pure track and race time, I reckon I have less than this year’s other rookies.
“However, I am a bit older and I’ve had the opportunity to race in different championships so that is a level of experience that brings some value,” he noted.
Since Max Verstappen was promoted to a race-winning Red Bull team midway through the 2016 season, F1 has witnessed a huge popularity boost towards motorsport in the Netherlands, with the self-proclaimed ‘Orange Army’ following their home hero in their thousands across the globe every year since.
After the announcement that the Spanish GP will incorporate a grandstand exclusively dedicated to Verstappen for this year’s event, the reigning world champion will have six individual races with his own section of support in 2023, meaning a large Dutch contingent can be expected at multiple rounds throughout the year.
However, De Vries has chosen to remain cautious about predicting whether he will inherit his own fair share of support from his home nation.
“Time will tell. Obviously, Max has done incredibly well in Formula 1,” the Dutchman added.
“He’s dominating our sport at the moment and rightfully, the whole country is behind him and the Dutch are very excited about Formula 1.
“I’m starting my Formula 1 journey, and while Max will be continuing to go for championships, I’ll try to make my mark in my way as well.
“Apart from that, I don’t know how much the support will be divided between us. Of course the fans are behind Max and now they have a second Dutch driver to cheer for!”