De Vries was the reserve driver all season and followed the weekend races Mercedes garage. He took part in the FP1 session for the team when he stood for Lewis Hamilton in France.

In Singapore, as it became clear, he will most likely land Alpha Tauri pilot the following season, he was forced to take a step back.

He was no longer involved in all meetings over the weekend as the flow of technical information stopped and the arrangement continued in Japan.

However, the team is still to roll out the FP1 rookie session, with de Vries expected to drive George Russell’s car on Friday in Mexico.

Elliott says the team isn’t worried about de Vries getting a taste of the team’s latest developments before heading to a rival camp.

“We’re very excited for him, for the opportunity he’s gotten,” Elliott said. “Maybe it’s a shame where he’s going, but that’s the way it is.

“I think he deserves the opportunity, I think he’s shown he’s a very good driver. Having him in the garage has been brilliant, he’s a really nice guy, very involved and he understands the car.

“I think we have faith in him, that we can put him in the car, we can run tests with him, and we can trust him not to look at things that we don’t want him to look at, and I think he will do a good job.”

Nick de Vries, test and reserve driver, Mercedes AMG

Photo: Steve Etherington / Images of motor sports

Elliott noted that de Vries did relatively little with simulators because he was focused on his own racing program: “He did some. Apparently he also drove in Formula E, which takes up a lot of his time.

“But I repeat, Formula 1 changes so quickly. This learning is happening at such a rate that what he did a year ago probably isn’t helping him much. processes and our systems.

“Like I said, I guess we want to wish him luck. I think he handled us very honorably, so no problem.”

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De Vries stressed that, unlike Russell, he was not a Mercedes protégé and thus could always go elsewhere.

“I guess in the last couple of years I’ve been perceived as a Mercedes driver, which I have been to the point where I’ve competed for them in Formula E and been active as an F1 reserve driver,” said the 27-year-old driver.

“But apart from these contracts, there was no other connection. Of course, we developed a very friendly relationship during the year. So they were very supportive and helpful.

“But at the same time, I’m here to take care of my interests. Of course, I hope that they are disappointed to lose something. I don’t know! You can [have to] ask them this question.

“But I also think they’re happy for me and happy to see me get the chance to start on the grid in Formula 1 next year.”