Red Bull’s sudden axe is a “death sentence” for Nyck de Vries’ Formula 1 career.
That is the view of Ralf Schumacher, who nonetheless admits that it’s “understandable” team owner Red Bull decided to oust the struggling Dutch rookie from its junior outfit Alpha Tauri.
He is being replaced by returning McLaren refugee and former Red Bull Racing race winner Daniel Ricciardo.
“Daniel already knew before the test at Silverstone that if he colud perform, he would have the cockpit,” said Dr Helmut Marko, who made the ultimate calls.
“He more than survived this pressure situation,” he told Sport1.
28-year-old former Formula E and Formula 2 champion de Vries, however, did not survive the pressure of his opening half season of Formula 1.
“The decision may even be understandable,” former F1 driver Schumacher told Sky Deutschland.
“But you also have to say that, in the middle of the season, it’s not exactly the finest style from Red Bull.”
And he says that while Alpha Tauri can also “certainly afford” a driver change given it is dead last in the constructors’ standings, de Vries’ career cannot.
“Of course it’s an absolute death sentence for the boy,” said the German. “After this, he won’t be able to gain a foothold anywhere. That’s my opinion.”
Schumacher has already been critical of Red Bull’s earlier driver decisions, including the call not to sign up his nephew Mick instead of de Vries for the 2023 Alpha Tauri seat.
Mick has also now been overlooked for a second time.
“Mick would have been available,” said Schumacher, “but we’ve discussed this often enough.
“For whatever reasons, the decision is made against Mick.”
Mick Schumacher, the current Mercedes reserve, is now hoping for another opportunity to test for McLaren – after getting a run in the 2021 car at Portimao recently.
“I wouldn’t say no to another test,” he confirmed.