While highly ranked by many in the track, there were simply no obvious landing spots for De Vries, who holds both the Formula E and Formula 2 titles on his resume, in 2023.
READ MORE: Williams announces they will move away from Latifi at the end of 2022
But in a couple of days over the weekend at the Italian Grand Prix, everything changed. De Vries completed a run for Aston Martin in FP1, as previously planned, but then got a call late on Saturday morning to jump into Alex Albon (who was going to have appendicitis surgery) at Williams.
The Dutch driver managed to get incredibly fast – having only once driven Williams back in Spain in an FP1 appearance. Not only did he start inside the top ten – helped in part by a series of penalty kicks for others – but he also held two points on his debut.
In the blink of an eye, De Vries has become the most sought-after driver on the current grid with Alpine, AlphaTauri and Williams all realistic options for a racing seat in 2023. But where will he end up?
Option 1: Williams
Williams was impressed with his efforts when he drove the car in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year. The 27-year-old worked hard through the programme, woke up very quickly despite not having previously driven the 2022 car, and provided quality feedback.
So, when it became clear that Albon could not run for the Italian Grand Prix this weekend after Friday’s practice, De Vries was an obvious candidate and available to stand.
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It is understood that the team was already interested in recruiting him for next year rather than Nicolas Latifi – who is now confirmed to be leaving at the end of the year – and his performances at Monza only cemented that interest.
Among his options, Williams is the least competitive. But the team is well funded through owners Dorilton and has a clear path on how to improve their midfield. This might be the kind of long-term project he’s fantasizing about to get his teeth going.
He has some time to make a decision and may get another chance behind the wheel of Williams if Albon does not recover in time to race in Singapore.
Option 2: Alps
De Vries is believed to have tested an old Alpine model this week in Hungary in what could have been his fourth different team to drive this year, as he considers a potential opportunity in what is currently the fourth best team in F1.
The Alps need a driver for Esteban Ocon’s 2023 partner after Fernando Alonso walked out the door and rising star Oscar Piastre opted to sign with McLaren.
Read more: Alpine is set to run three drivers for a special test this week
They are the most attractive offer based on current performance and arguably in the best position to fight for the top three – Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. Sign here and will fight regularly for good points.
Alpine is understood to be keen on recruiting him, although there are several drivers in the mix out there – including Pierre Gasly, who could be laid off from the AlphaTauri contract if Red Bull can find a suitable replacement to fill his current seat.
Option 3: AlphaTauri
With Red Bull hoping to bring Indycar driver Colton Herta to F1 with AlphaTauri after confirming he is currently ineligible for a super licence, the energy drink company has turned its attention to De Vries.
They expected him to be able to score consistently from the start, which would give AlphaTauri a capable car, and with his quality as such, Red Bull would see him as a suitable backup in the working team whether Max Verstappen or Sergio Perez would not be able to race.
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It would also have provided a great benchmark for evaluating Yuki Tsunoda’s potential, as the Japanese driver gets a third season with the team next year, and a different rider Tsunoda can learn from.
De Vries will join a team that offers a potential route into Red Bull racing in action in the future – and with AlphaTauri able to run more old parts of its sister team Red Bull next year, as this will be the second year of these comprehensive new regulations, the prospect is that The car will be more competitive.
Option 4: Formula E and the World Endurance Championship
As De Vries’ hopes of a Formula One break faded earlier this year, it was understood he had considered his options in other motorsport classes for racing.
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He is believed to have a solid option with Formula E apparel, which could match a competitive seat in the World Endurance Championship.
It’s a very attractive package for any driver, but you could argue that since he’s only 27 years old, it’s likely that these opportunities will arise in the future if he delays focusing on his F1 dream.