De Vries’ championship-winning experience gives a “fantastic opportunity” for AlphaTauri – Egginton

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Jody Egginton, AlphaTauri’s Technical Director, has praised Nyck de Vries and the championship-winning experience that the 28-year old brings to the Faenza squad, labelling it as a “fantastic opportunity” for the team to evolve. He also elaborated on Franz Tost’s comments on de Vries providing a “wake-up call” for the team.

Photo Credits: Scuderia AlphaTauri

After impressing the paddock on his very late call for a Formula 1 grand prix debut in Monza last year, in which he scored points on debut for Williams, Nyck de Vries’ off-track prowess and ability is also impressing his new AlphaTauri team ahead of the 2023 season.

The Dutchman, Formula 2 champion in 2019 and Formula E world champion in 2021, has provided the team with a wake-up call” during his first test for the Faenza squad in Abu Dhabi last year, according to Team Principal Franz Tost.

This is a view backed by the team’s Technical Director, Jody Egginton, who believes De Vries’ championship-winning racing background and experience in others forms of racing provides AlphaTauri with a “fantastic opportunity” to learn and move forward, with a mutual exchange of knowledge, as opposed to the very one-sided situation when dealing with a “traditional” rookie:

“It’s been good, but I wouldn’t say different,” he said to media during pre-season testing in Bahrain. “I’ve been in this business for a long time, you get a range of drivers in, with different ways of working and different skill sets.

“But what we’ve got in Nyck [de Vries] is a guy who although relatively new to Formula One racing, has got an awful lot of experience and success in other championships, and has also been exposed to competitors’ cars.

“So he’s got a lot of knowledge and a lot of information in there. It takes time to download all of that, so we’ve been taking all the opportunities possible, with the engineers, to speak to him, and understand what his thoughts are, and just sort of download all that experience.

“Whereas if we’re dealing with a traditional young rookie driver, it’s a very different scenario. So for us, it’s a fantastic opportunity.”

He emphasized how the mutual exchange of knowledge between team and driver can “lead to good things” and help the team improve and evolve along the way, adding that it’s been “really positive” already for the team, which lost its experienced lead driver Pierre Gasly at the end of 2022:

“With the opportunity we’ve got to sit down and talk about things with Nyck, it springs new ideas, all of these conversations can lead to good things. He questions some of our views, we question some of his views, and we move forward as a team.

“It’s been really positive to take advantage of that opportunity.”

Asked to elaborate on the “wake-up call” that Tost mentioned, Egginton said the team had seen it coming since the last few races of 2022, and pointed out some of the key aspects of the process that led to the team to have a re-think of many aspects of its operation and car design ahead of the 2023 championship:

“At the end of the day, the wake-up call is quite simple – we finished ninth in the [constructors’] championship and that’s not where we want to be or where we should be, really.

“The wake-up call was coming to us for a while at the end of the season, that was a wake-up call. I can’t speak for Franz [Tost], but at the end of the day, we didn’t have the season that we wanted to have.

“We’ve done an awful lot of reflection, we’ve not panicked, we’ve sat down as a group and tried to understand the key points which didn’t go as we wanted, how we want to address them,” he said. “And what things we did in the past that we probably didn’t execute well in 2022 – because 2019, 2020 and 2021, the numbers are clear, there was a solid progression – and we dropped the ball slightly last year.”

The Briton believes the team has done well to identify the areas in which improvements were needed and then plan the actions that would follow to fix its issues, summarizing this entire process as the wake-up call.

“It’s important to understand in detail where that is, and it’s in many different areas and to varying extents, so we’ve been very honest as a team in how to get back to where we were, because we’ve proven we’re capable of better.

“Essentially, all of that forms, if you wish, a wake-up call at the end of the day,” he explained. “Because the first challenge is to understand where you’ve gone wrong, and then secondly how are you going to address it. So I guess that process could be described as a wake-up call.”

De Vries finished his pre-season testing with AlphaTauri completing 246 laps over the three days in Bahrain, a solid start for the Dutchman in his new team.