After missing out on a Formula 1 race following his 2019 FIA Formula 2 title, De Vries switched to Formula E and won the 2020-21 championship with Mercedes.

His world title, combined with his duties as test driver and reserve driver for Mercedes, kept him in the frame for a belated move to F1. Then after an outstanding cameo for Williams at the Italian Grand Prix last month, Alpha Tauri moved for the 27-year-old Dutchman to replace Alpine Pierre Gasly for 2023.

Despite being a rookie in Formula 1 and being placed alongside Yuki Tsunodawho will have two full seasons under his belt before the start of next season, Red Bull rider mentor Helmut Marko believes de Vries will be the team’s de facto leader from the start thanks to his vast experience across disciplines.

“Yuki is young and doesn’t have that kind of background and experience, that’s why [Nyck] has to lead the team,” Marco said.

“We’ll see how it goes next year, but based on the experience and the personality he has, he should be the leader of the team.”

Marco believes that De Vries’ driving experience with Mercedes-engined teams, which includes Mercedes itself as well as Williams and Aston Martin, will be useful for AlphaTauri.

“Of course, the team will benefit from this,” he added.

“He’s a reserve driver for almost every Mercedes team on the grid and he’s been involved in different simulators and we get that kind of experience on board.”

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Nick de Vries, Williams FW44

Photo: Williams

When asked about Mark’s comments, De Vries said he appreciated the “compliment” and said he was confident he could live up to the leader’s expectations.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” De Vries replied.

“I don’t think you necessarily need F1 experience to be a leader, it’s about character, personality and who you are.

“Even though I may not have had a season, I still know what I need from the car, the package and the people around me to achieve together. I am sure of that.”

Marco didn’t want to talk about De Vries’ chances of one day forming a Dutch duo Red Bull Racing with the two-time world champion Max Verstappen, who put in a good word for his fellow Austrian to bring him into the Red Bull family. Instead, Marco preferred to focus on delivering De Vries to AlphaTauri in 2023.

“As always for us, it’s performance,” Marco explained.

“When people perform, then you know how it goes…

“But we’re not planning for 2028, or when Nick is at Red Bull Racing one day, it’s just about performance.”

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