Gunther Steiner, Haas’ team boss, suggests that Alpha Tauri’s decision to replace struggling rookie Nyck de Vries with experienced driver Daniel Ricciardo might have been influenced by Haas’ own Formula 1 strategy.
Dutchman de Vries has finally broken his silence, revealing that losing “the F1 chance I dreamed of for so long” is a painful experience for him.
Franz Tost, Alpha Tauri’s team boss, whose own boss Dr Helmut Marko made the call to oust de Vries, expressed his sympathy for the young driver.
He said: “Believe me, it was a very, very difficult decision because Nyck is a fantastic person with whom I have a very good relationship, and he’s also an excellent driver.”
Speaking to formula.hu, Tost attributes the decision more to recent “dramatic changes” in Formula 1 rather than blaming de Vries entirely. He admitted that they might not have given de Vries enough testing opportunities, considering the upcoming tracks that he is unfamiliar with in the second half of the season.
Tost said, “There will be a lot of tracks again in the second half of the year that Nyck doesn’t know, and we took that into account in the decision-making process because it’s a big disadvantage.”
Drawing comparisons to Haas’ own strategy, Gunther Steiner explained, “We also said last year that we have to do something to bring experience to the team and that’s why we brought in Nico Hulkenberg.” He believes Red Bull might have been inspired by Haas’ approach and decided to follow a similar path.
Despite de Vries’ departure, Steiner remains hopeful for the future of the driver he ousted. Mick Schumacher is now serving as Mercedes’ prominent reserve driver, and he pointed out that there are “many Mercedes customer teams”.
Steiner added, “I think of all the rookies that are out there, he’s still in the best position to find a regular cockpit.”
Regarding the uncertainty surrounding de Vries’ next move, Steiner stated, “I don’t interfere with what other team bosses decide. Everyone has to make these decisions for themselves and live with the responsibility.”