Nyck de Vries has been chosen to partner Stoffel Vandoorne at the new Mercedes EQ Formula E team, making his series race debut.
The current FIA Formula 2 Championship leader clinched the seat after several drivers, including Gary Paffett and Esteban Gutierrez, were also tried out in the team’s test and development car.
E-racing365 first reported last month that Nyck de Vries had tested and was the favorite to join Vandoorne in the Mercedes EQ team for the 2019-20 season.
While Vandoorne’s deal is believed to have been agreed for some time, de Vries was handed the drive after he tested for the team in Mallorca in early August.
The 24-year-old Dutch driver will make his Formula E debut in November but does have previous experience testing both Gen 1 and Gen 2 machinery for Spark Racing Technologies, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler and NIO.
At the beginning of 2019, de Vries started to be used as a simulator driver for the Mercedes F1 operation.
E-racing365 understands that the first contact regarding a potential future Formula E drive was discussed just after the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May.
“At the start of the season I started doing simulator work for the Formula 1 team and as we went on we built our relationship,” de Vries told e-racing365
“I think it is the right direction for me to take at this stage. I’ve been closely following Formula E for some time now and it has grown and established itself already very strongly in motorsport.
“It’s always interesting to be part of new programs and developments because that is where you learn a lot, so I think for a young driver it is always interesting to be part of this development.”
De Vries will get his second test with the Mercedes EQ Formula E team later this month. He will also complete his FIA Formula 2 season and continue to race for the Racing Team Nederland in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“I will continue to race in WEC with Racing Team Nederland at Fuji, Shanghai and Bahrain and also next year as well as continuing to do simulator work for Mercedes [in F1],” he confirmed.
James: De Vries is “Key to Further Development”
The Mercedes EQ team’s managing director says that the signing of de Vries will be a significant one for the new entity.
Ian James, who was influential in appointing de Vries to his new role, says that the Dutch driver will be instrumental in further developing the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01.
“It’s clear Nyck is immensely talented as a driver and you can see this through his current results in Formula 2,” James told e-racing365.
“When we got him to test, despite his youth there is an underlying maturity which I think will be key to the further development of the team and that will be complementary to the Formula E experience that Stoffel has gained.”
James also thinks that de Vries will create the best possible partnership with fellow Benelux racer Stoffel Vandoorne who raced for the satellite HWA Racelab operation last season.
“For me it was important that in the drivers we had pure out-and-out racing talent but also has people that could communicate and be part of the development process as well and both Stoffel and Nyck bring that to the table,” said James.