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Marko: De Vries a very nice guy but the speed wasn’t there

Marko: De Vries a very nice guy but the speed wasn’t there

Marko: De Vries a very nice guy but the speed wasn’t there

Dr. Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s consultant, justified the reason behind the axing of Nyck de Vries, claiming the Dutchman did not have the speed.

De Vries was hired by AlphaTauri to replace Pierre Gasly – who jumped ship to Alpine at the end of the 2022 Formula 1 season – based on the performance he showed when replacing an ill Alex Albon at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix as Williams.

In Monza last year, De Vries scored points on his F1 debut with Williams, which convinced Marko to give him a shot at AlphaTauri.

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However, the Formula 2 and Formula E champion could not deliver the performance expected, and was always outpaced by teammate Yuki Tsunoda, and as a result was shown the door at Faenza following just ten races, with Ricciardo given the nod.

“We contracted Nyck because he performed well at Monza last year,” Marko told De Telegraaf about the reason behind De Vries’ hiring. “We expected him to at least be equal to his teammate Yuki Tsunoda this year but that was not the case.

“He was always three-tenths of a second slower. We didn’t see any improvements,” the Austrian said. “He’s 28, has a lot of experience, and has also been able to gain a lot of knowledge as a test driver in various F1 cars.”

De Vries not a young rookie

Some might argue that a rookie should be given more time, but Marko sees things differently with the 28-year-old; he maintained: “You can’t compare him to a young rookie.

“In Baku, he started the weekend well but then he crashed again,” he pointed out. “We had to do something.

“Why should we wait? What do two more races matter if you don’t see any improvement?” the Red Bull consultant reasoned. “Nyck is a very nice guy but the speed wasn’t there.”

Ricciardo who lost his F1 seat at McLaren at the end of 2022, his contract cut short by the team, was given refuge at Red Bull as a reserve driver, and was running a Pirelli test in the team’s RB19 at Silverstone the day he was announced to be replacing De Vries.

Marko claims the Pirelli test was somehow an audition for Ricciardo and said: “His lap times were competitive on three different tyre sets.

“If Ricciardo didn’t have the speed we would have had to consider something else,”  he concluded.