DRIVER MARKET: Will Nyck de Vries be on the F1 grid in 2023 – and if so, with which team?

A few months ago, Nyck de Vries’ hopes of making a dream change to Formula 1 next year seemed dim. At the French Grand Prix, the Mercedes-backed driver borrowed Lewis Hamilton’s car for early practice, but after the session Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff admitted the team might not be able to provide his junior with an “interesting Formula 1 project”.

Although well rated by many in the paddock, there were simply no obvious landing spots for De Vries, who has Formula E and Formula 2 titles on his CV, in 2023.

READ MORE: Williams announces he will split from Latifi at the end of 2022

But in the space of two days during the Italian Grand Prix weekend, everything changed. De Vries completed a race for Aston Martin in FP1, as scheduled, but then received a late call on Saturday morning to replace Alex Albon (who was due for appendicitis surgery) at Williams.

The Dutch driver got up to speed incredibly quickly – having only driven this Williams once in Spain during an FP1 appearance. Not only did he start in the top 10 – helped in part by a slew of penalties for others – but he held on to score two points on his debut.

In the blink of an eye, De Vries has become the most wanted driver on the current grid with Alpine, AlphaTauri and Williams all realistic options for a racing seat in 2023. But where will he end up?

De Vries’ performance for Williams at Monza came at the perfect time for the Dutchman

Option 1: Williams

Williams was impressed with his efforts when he drove the car in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year. The 27-year-old worked diligently on the program, got up to speed very quickly despite never having driven a 2022 spec car and gave high quality feedback.

So when it became clear that Albon could not contest the Italian Grand Prix weekend after practice on Friday, De Vries was an obvious and available candidate to replace him.

READ MORE: ‘He definitely deserves a place in F1′ – Russell and Verstappen sing De Vries’ praises after Monza

It is understood the team were already interested in signing him for next year in place of Nicholas Latifi – who is now confirmed to leave at the end of the year – and his performance at Monza has only bolstered this interest.

Of his options, Williams is the least competitive. But the team are well funded by owners Dorilton and have a clear path on how to improve in midfield. It could be the kind of long-term project he wants to get into.

He has time to make up his mind and may well have another chance at the wheel of the Williams if Albon does not recover in time to race in Singapore.

De Vries has been linked with a move to Alpine who are looking to replace outgoing Fernando Alonso

Option 2: Alpine

De Vries is believed to have tested an old-school Alpine this week in Hungary in what would have been the fourth different team he has driven for this year, as he ponders a potential opportunity in what is currently the fourth best F1 team.

Alpine needs a driver to partner Esteban Ocon for 2023 after Fernando Alonso left the door and rising star Oscar Piastri opted to sign for McLaren.

READ MORE: Alpine set to run three riders in private test this week

They are the most attractive proposition based on current performance and are arguably best placed to battle towards the top three – Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. Sign here and he would fight for good points on a regular basis.

Alpine are reportedly keen to sign him, although there are several drivers in the mix – including Pierre Gasly, who could be released from his AlphaTauri contract if Red Bull can find a suitable replacement to fit into his current seat.

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De Vries is also seen as a possible option for AlphaTauri next season

Option 3: Alpha Tauri

With Red Bull’s hopes of bringing Indycar driver Colton Herta to F1 with AlphaTauri after confirmation he is not currently eligible for a super licence, the energy drink company has turned to De Vries.

They would expect him to be able to score regularly from the start, provided AlphaTauri gives him a car capable of doing so, and his quality is such, Red Bull would see him as a suitable replacement in the squad. factory if Max Verstappen or Sergio Perez will not be able to race.

ANALYSIS: Why AlphaTauri selected Tsunoda for 2023

It would also provide a great yardstick for judging Yuki Tsunoda’s potential, the Japanese driver having secured a third season with the team next year, and a different driver Tsunoda can learn from.

De Vries would join a team that would offer him a potential route to a Red Bull factory ride in the future – and with AlphaTauri able to run more older sister team Red Bull parts next year as that will be the second year of these radical new regulations, it is likely that the car will be more competitive.

A possible return to Formula E is on the cards for De Vries

Option 4: Formula E and World Endurance Championship

As De Vries’ hopes of a break from F1 faded earlier this year, he naturally looked at his options in other motorsport categories to get into racing.

F1 NATION: Max’s dominance, De Vries’ delight and the Alpine driver’s dilemma – that’s our triple review

He is believed to have a solid option with a Formula E team, which he could complete with a competitive seat in the World Endurance Championship.

It’s a very attractive package for any driver, but you could say he’s only 27, so those opportunities will likely arise in the future if he delays focusing on his F1 dream.

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