Nyck de Vries loses legal battle over unpaid loan

Nyck de Vries loses legal battle over unpaid loan

Nyck de Vries lost a legal battle lodged by a company that supported his racing career by lending him money.

An Amsterdam District Court has ordered former AlphaTauri F1 driver Nyck de Vries to repay a €250,000 loan and a sizeable chunk of his F1 earnings to a Dutch investment company, marking a negative turn in his battle against a heavy financial load.

De Vries applied for a loan from Jeroen Schothorst’s Investrand company in 2018 In order to supplement his Prema Formula 2 drive financing.

The initial investment by Investrand was subject to De Vries advancing to a Formula 1 seat by 2022 and would write off the loan if he didn’t make it to racing in Formula 1 by 2022. Later, the company decided that his stint as a Mercedes test driver would not be taken into account.

However, this stipulation was complicated by his unanticipated appearance at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, where he raced for Williams after Alex Albon was dramatically hospitalized.

De Vries performed enough to attract Red Bull’s interest after finishing ninth in the race and eventually secured an AlphaTauri seat for the following season.

This unexpected participation sparked a legal dispute over whether it fulfilled the terms of the original loan agreement. Initially, a judge’s decision in favor of De Vries indicated that his participation at Monza did not amount to a genuine F1 racing contract, giving him the advantage.

The current verdict requires De Vries to repay not just the original loan but also a sizeable portion of his earnings from his role with AlphaTauri. Representing Investrand, Jeroen Schothorst voiced conflicting opinions regarding the need for legal action while highlighting the company’s earlier support of De Vries during a key point in his career.

“We supported Nyck at a crucial moment in his career, when no one else wanted to do so,” Schothorst. “I am happy that the judge has now ruled in our favour, although I of course regret that this procedure was necessary.

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“We would have preferred to reach an arrangement without procedures through proper consultation, but unfortunately our attempts to do so were resolutely rejected by Nyck and his lawyer.

“This made going to court inevitable. That does not alter the fact that I wish Nyck all possible success in the continuation of his already impressive motorsport career, even though it will no longer be in F1.”

The court’s decision was criticized by De Vries’ legal team, led by Jeroen Bedaux, who also raised the prospect of an appeal by pointing out a discrepancy between the court’s ruling and the agreement’s initial goals.

“The court’s interpretation of the agreement is not consistent with what De Vries in any event intended at the time he concluded the agreement,” Bedaux said. “And De Vries has also fully and conscientiously fulfilled his obligations up to and including 2022, which has also been confirmed in court.

“That De Vries was nevertheless ordered to repay the loan and to pay fixed and variable interest regarding the first months of 2023 is therefore at odds with what the parties have agreed, which is why De Vries is still considering an appeal.”

After losing his Formula 1 drive with AlphaTauri in the middle of 2023, De Vries has since made a comeback to the WEC and Formula E racing for Toyota and Mahindra, respectively.

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