Jul.13 - Dr Helmut Marko has defended his decision to immediately oust rookie Nyck de Vries after just ten races at AlphaTauri.

"Why wait?" the 80-year-old Austrian is quoted by the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

So far, the general reaction to Red Bull's decision is that it is premature - and unfair of Marko to not even give a rookie driver until the summer break to develop.

But Marko says he never saw de Vries, a champion in other categories including Formula E and Formula 2, as a rookie.

"We signed Nick because he did a great job at Monza last year," he said. "We expected that this year he would at least perform at the level of Yuki Tsunoda, but this did not happen.

"In fact, he was constantly three tenths slower and we didn't see any progress. He is already 28, he has a lot of experience and knowledge that he gained by driving the cars of different Formula 1 teams as a test driver.

"In my opinion, Nyck cannot be considered a rookie."

Marko also said he was prepared to wait for de Vries to slowly develop throughout the full 2023 season.

"At the end of April in Baku, Nyck had a great start to the weekend and I thought he improved, but then he crashed the car again. Unfortunately, he did not drive a single super-lap to make a strong impression on us.

"In such a situation, we had to do something. Why do we have to wait until the summer break? What would two races change if we didn't see any improvements anyway?

"Nyck is a very nice guy, but he just didn't have the speed," Marko insisted.

De Vries has been quiet since his sacking, but already this week he has been spotted meeting in a Monaco cafe with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

His ties to Mercedes, via Formula E and as an F1 test driver, are well established.

But Marko said: "I think it will be difficult for him to find another place in Formula 1. At the same time, I believe that he knew where everything was going.

"I think he can build a successful career in endurance racing," he added.

And in the end, Marko said it was an easy decision to replace de Vries with Daniel Ricciardo, who impressed Christian Horner with his pace in the championship-leading Red Bull in the Pirelli tyre test at Silverstone this week.

According to reports, Horner phoned Marko about Ricciardo's pace and the 80-year-old Austrian immediately fired de Vries.

"He (Ricciardo) had competitive times on three different tyres," Marko said. "If Riccardo didn't have the speed, we would look for someone else.

"AlphaTauri is last in the constructors' championship, so we had to do something. Ricciardo will bring new energy to the team."

However, Marko insists that Ricciardo's AlphaTauri promotion is not a dress-rehearsal for the Australian to replace Sergio Pérez at Red Bull next.

"Sergio is second in the drivers' standings, so what is the point of refusing his services now? He had a good race at Silverstone - he just needs to improve in qualifying," he said.

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4 F1 Fan comments on “Marko Defends Decision to Oust De Vries: Not Your Typical F1 Rookie

  1. Jere Jyrälä

    The sacking decision was indeed justifiable, given his vast racing experience beforehand, which is the key factor why he got less slack than Yuki in his rookie season after zero previous pro racing & only limited lower single-seater experience.
    Furthermore, I wouldn't pay much attention to him & Toto being together in Monaco (where both officially reside).
    No team really wanted his services previously until RB offered him a chance, so even less so after his subpar performance.
    Therefore, his F1 career is probably over for good.

    • Jere Jyrälä

      Extremely unlikely because no team really desired him until Red Bull offered him a drive at Alpha Tauri (& even they did that only because their preferred choice proved unavailable at the time), so even less after a 10-GP subpar performance stint that lowered his stocks considerably.


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