Nyck de Vries, at the age of 28, who was previously known as the reserve driver for Toyota in 2022, appears to be inching closer to claiming the racing seat that was initially intended for him in the current season. This information comes from reliable sources at F1 Initiative/F1 Initiative.
Having signed to race Toyota’s #7 GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar in 2023, De Vries had strategically incorporated a clause in his contract that gives him the liberty to assume an F1 seat if the opportunity arises.
As per the information available, it seems most plausible that De Vries replace Jose Maria Lopez, his companion at the #7 crew squad, alongside with Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway in 2024.
Lopez was anticipated to allow his position to De Vries in 2023. However, this plan was revised when De Vries inked his contract with AlphaTauri. Lopez, the Argentine, is reportedly on the last leg of his extended one-year Toyota contract that he signed back in 2017.
In the light of the speculation of De Vries receiving a racing deal, Toyota remains rigidly non-committal. The Dutch driver was replaced by Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri, just before the commencement of the Hungarian Grand Prix event in July.
Team director, Rob Leupen, attempted to dismiss the rumor when approached by reporters from F1 Initiative/F1 Initiative at Fuji earlier this month. “Nyck has multitude of opportunities, and he has also done quite a bit of testing for us. We already have a commendable set of drivers, therefore, I believe we don’t have any issues,” Leupen explained.
However, Lopez, who marked his 40th birthday this year, remained ambiguous about his continuation at Toyota for the sixth consecutive season. “Nothing’s confirmed yet. Although I prefer to continue, I must admit, I am no longer in my 20s. So, we’ll see,” he responded to the F1 Initiative/F1 Initiative.
In general, Toyota reveals its WEC driver squad in late November or December each year, alongside its motorsport activities for the impending season.
Before being signed by AlphaTauri, De Vries had indicated ambitions of fighting dual battles in WEC and Formula E in 2023, even hinted at contesting the latter series with Maserati MSG. Whether he plans to juxtapose the two series next year remains a mystery. However, should he decide to do so, the Dutchman may likely find himself in a schedule conflict between the Spa WEC round and Berlin E-Prix.