Reigning Formula E champion de Vries, part of Mercedes’ F1 reserve roster in addition to his duties with the German manufacturer’s FE squad, has earned a call-up to drive in FP1 at Barcelona – his first outing in an official F1 session. This was helped in part due to new rules mandating teams to run rookie drivers in at least two free practice sessions.
De Vries, who was a long-time member of McLaren’s junior programme before leaving in 2019, was a contender for the Williams drive vacated by George Russell at the end of 2021 as the Brit left to join Mercedes.
However, Williams elected to bring Alex Albon into the fold owing to his two seasons of experience already in F1 with Toro Rosso and Red Bull.
De Vries says the test is a great way to “get myself out there”, and expects to be challenged heavily as he adapts to the FW44 chassis.
“I’m obviously very thankful and grateful for the opportunity to run in an FP1 session and kind of get to know the team, but also to kind of get myself out there during a Formula 1 weekend,” said de Vries,
“I haven’t really thought about real targets; it’s only a one hour session, and you get like three runs on two different compounds, which are both on the extreme end of the spectrum.
“So it’s going to be a very interesting, exciting challenge. But I’m looking forward to the experience, and hopefully I can do well.”
Nyck de Vries, Mercedes W12
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
When asked by Motorsport.com about his goals for the session, de Vries explained that he didn’t know what to expect from the session and expects to be in at the “deep” end.
He also elaborated that he needed time to adapt to the car around the Barcelona circuit, having only driven F1 cars for Mercedes twice in the end-of-year young driver tests.
“In all honesty, from a kind of expectations point of view, I don’t really know what to expect,” de Vries added.
“I think I’m going to be thrown a little bit in the deep, I’ve only driven an F1 car twice, which was both rookie tests in 2020 and ’21 with Mercedes.
“But the last time I’ve actually driven a very quick car on a track, it’s been a little while ago, so will require some adaptations from the street tracks we know.”