MONACO — The future of Formula One rookie Nyck de Vries has created headlines in recent weeks but the Dutchman said on Thursday he has no fears he is about to be replaced at AlphaTauri.
Reports last week suggested De Vries had been given an ultimatum by Red Bull’s Helmut Marko to improve his form by the Spanish Grand Prix on June 4 or risk losing his seat at the company’s junior team.
The same reports said Daniel Ricciardo — who is Red Bull’s third driver this year — was being lined up as a replacement, but sources have told ESPN this is not the case.
When asked if he felt his seat was safe, De Vries told reporters ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix: “Yes. And also, I mean, it’s not a shock to me, it’s normal, it’s this industry, it’s always been like that in Red Bull and in Formula One.
“I genuinely believe it’s not different than earlier in the season. You’ve always got to perform, you’ve always got to deliver, and I’ve had that throughout my whole career. As a driver, you always kind of fight for your survival, and you always needs to deliver to continue your career forward successfully. So it’s kind of normal, it’s how it’s been always.”
Ex-Formula E champion De Vries joined AlphaTauri this year after an impressive deubt as a stand-in for Williams driver Alex Albon at last year’s Italian Grand Prix, but has struggled to replicate that form.
Marko, head of the Red Bull driver programme, is notoriously unforgiving when it comes to drivers out of form, most famously demoting Daniil Kvyat and promoting Max Verstappen ahead of the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.
De Vries said he’s not had specific conversation with the Austrian about the situation.
“I think it’s normal to have conversations with your bosses. We didn’t particularly speak very much in the last couple of weeks. And honestly, that’s really what I can say about it.”
Asked if he had read the reports, he replied: “Oh no, not at all.
“Ultimately, I try to not really read media through weekends and around weekends, because I don’t really think that helps me, just actually from earlier in the season. So I kind of picked up on some things, just through receiving messages from some people. But I haven’t actually read anything myself.”
Coverage of the Monaco Grand Prix starts on May 28 on ABC, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes from 7.30 AM E.T..