According to Helmut Marko, Nyck de Vries agrees with the team that performance should improve in the next three races.
Nyck de Vries will make his full-time debut as an F1 driver this season. After years of fighting in other classes, the Frisian has been awarded it. Unfortunately, Nyck doesn’t really like the AT04 that Alpha Tauri gave him. Prior to the season, the team still had high hopes for the new car. But in the meantime an important aero guru within the team has been fired. Franz Tost no longer had any faith in what he was told by this good man. That actually says enough. The Alpha Tauri is potentially the worst car in the field.
Nyck and teammate Yuki therefore have to fight against the Williamses, Alfas and sometimes McLarens for places in Q2 and some few points. With so little glory up for grabs, it is therefore mainly a battle against each other for both. Of course it is in everyone’s interest to make the car better. But we are not talking here, as in Haas F1, about veterans who have already spent most of their F1 career behind them. Nyck and Yuki still want to move forward and must therefore prove themselves.
So far Yuki does that a bit better than Nyck. The Japanese has won four of the five qualifying matches. He also comes out better in the races. Tsunoda even took a point twice, which, as said, is quite an achievement with the AT04. Nyck, together with fellow rookie Sargeant, is stiffly at the bottom of the standings with zero points behind the name.
On the one hand, the difference between Nyck and Yuki is really not that big. That’s the positive news. On the other hand, the difference is almost constant. There hasn’t been a race yet where Nyck wasn’t battling at least a few seconds behind Yuki on track. Nyck must therefore structurally find ‘something’ in the Alpha Tauri. But yes, do that for a sport in which the level is now so high that every tenth counts.
And so Nyck is under pressure. Last week we already reported that the knives have even been sharpened at Red Bull. It seemed to have a bit of the level of gingerbread. But if Autosport reports it, there is often more to it. And now it turns out that is the case. Helmut Marko has spoken out about the matter. And he more or less confirms the story of ‘the three races’:
Nothing will happen in the next three races. We have spoken with De Vries and he agrees with us: he must show improvements. The gap to teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who is doing very well at the moment, is too big. To explain it in football terms: Nyck has received a yellow card, but not yet a red one. If he improves, we won’t think twice about replacing him.
Helmut Marko, put the pressure on
It is not defined how much Nyck has to improve. At least, this is not communicated to the outside world in any case. Nyck can therefore at least still do Monaco, which is cool for the Dutchman. Of course he prefers to stay where he is. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, because Marko has also been thinking about potential replacements. He will look for it in his talent pool. As written before, Ricciardo is not an option and Mick Schumacher also comes nicht im Frage:
If he doesn’t improve, Ricciardo will not replace him. In the worst case, we fall back on our pool of young talents. I’m talking specifically about Liam Lawson and Ayumu Iwasa. Ricciardo plays no part in this. Mick Schumacher is now a Mercedes driver, so we have no plans with him either. Toto Wolff is responsible for him.
Helmut Marko, finally wants to promote one of his own talents
Liam Lawson is only 21 years old, but has been part of the talent program for many years and will compete in Super Formula this year. He is third after three races, behind teammate Tomoki Nojiri and Ritomo Miyata. Now those names probably don’t tell you much, but -fun fact- Nojiri has more than enough points for an F1 Super license based on his results in Japan. However, the multiple champion is also 33 and will probably not make it to F1. Unless Honda wants to give it another Yuji Ide-esque debut. Anyway, Nojiri is a nice benchmark for Lawson.
Ayumu Iwasa is also 21 and has been a member of Red Bull’s training program since 2021. He won the French F4 championship in 2020 and is currently doing his second season in F2. Last year he finished fifth. This season he led the championship until the weekend in Baku. A double clear there means he is now also third in the championship.
So two credible candidates for Nyck’s seat, who could also finally validate Marko’s junior program again. So that will be stomping for Nyck at Imola, in Monaco and at the Circuit de Catalunya. Otherwise, the party will be over before it even starts.
This article Helmut Marko now gives a definite answer about the position of de Vries appeared first on Ruetir.