Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries has been in the rumour mill as he is linked for a Formula 1 move next year. But his hopes could be frustrated because of his link to Mercedes.
The 26-year-old has been driving for Mercedes Formula E team since 2019 and won the 2020-21 Formula E championship with the team. In Formula 1, the Dutch is currently one of the Mercedes reserve drivers.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been finding a place for De Vries on the Formula 1 grid in 2022. This comes after George Russell’s move to the world champion’s team replacing Valtteri Bottas.
There was speculation that De Vries could join Williams team in 2022, but the team confirmed on Wednesday that former Red Bull driver Alex Albon will be taking George Russell’s seat for 2022 beside Nicholas Latifi.
This Means De Vries has only one option left to join the F1 grid in 2022, with Alfa Romeo. The team has signed Valtteri Bottas who is currently driving for Mercedes to occupy one of the seats next year.
Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur in an interview said there were complications with his team, which is Ferrari backed, hiring a Mercedes-backed driver.
“De Vries looks complicated for me because he is strongly linked to Mercedes,” said Vasseur. “It’s much easier for us to deal with someone who is under contract with Ferrari than with someone who is under contract with Mercedes.”
Vasseur also said the team still remains in consideration of Antonio Giovinazzi continuing with them for the fourth season. Giovinazzi was previously a junior Ferrari driver.
“He was part of the deal in the past and he will be part of the discussion with Ferrari,” Vasseur said. “We have a very strong link and very open discussions and it will never be an issue to deal with Antonio and Ferrari.”
Vasseur also admits the team is considering one of the front running Formula 2 drivers such as Guanyu Zhou who is a junior Alpine driver. Sauber, which runs Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team is also keen on one of their highly rated junior drivers, Theo Pouchaire joining Formula 1.
With all these options, Vasseur intends to wait and watch how the Monza and Sochi Formula 2 rounds will play out before making any decision.
“By the end of September we’ll have a good picture of the junior series,” he said. “Antonio is part of the family, he did some good steps. I think we are not in a rush to take a decision if you have a look on the global picture.
“I want to be focused on what we are doing, to give them time to show what they can do, all of them, and we will take a decision probably in the beginning of October.”