A look into how Nyck de Vries got to Formula 1, and how it's going so far. The driver deep dive series explores each driver on the grid, and those who have left their mark in the past.
In this episode of the F1 FunCast, the host shares their excitement about new ideas for the podcast. They discuss recent events in Formula One and mention a scandal from the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix that they plan to talk about. The host also mentions that they have been receiving good ideas from listeners and announces a new segment called "Driver Deep Dives," where they will learn about and discuss the drivers on the grid. They start with Nick DeVries, a 28-year-old Dutch driver who came up through the McLaren young driver program and had a long journey to reach Formula One. DeVries won the Formula Two championship and competed in endurance racing and Formula E before landing a seat with the AlphaTauri team this year. They highlight his mental toughness and determination to keep pursuing his dream. Yes, hello, thank you for joining me today on this week's episode of the F1 FunCast. I'm really excited about some new ideas for the podcast that got through on my way this week and some new things I'm ready to, really excited to share with you today. So let's just go ahead and get all this other stuff out of the way first. You know where to find me, as one of my good friends back in my hometown always says, you know where to find me at F1FunCast at gmail.com or on Instagram or Twitter at F1FunCast. And it's been fun, it's been a fun week, kind of reaching out into the Formula One world and back into the social media world a little bit and talking about everything that's happened from the Australian Grand Prix, looking ahead to Baku. You know there was some noise today, or recently at least, I don't know when you're listening to this, about the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, some big scandal in that race. If you're not familiar, I'm going to talk about it soon and if you are, I'm sure you know that it is 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, as far as I can tell, so far from what I've seen, is really right up there with one of the biggest sports scandals that I've ever really heard about and I had never heard a thing about it before this morning and I looked on Twitter and I looked online and it was everywhere, so that's something I'm looking forward to in the days ahead to talking about. But it's been great, I've been getting good ideas from people out there in the world about things to talk about and things to learn and read and then come back here and discuss it on the podcast with whoever might be listening to this, so I've really enjoyed that and it's been a pretty warm reception from everyone so far that I've encountered. I know social media can be a kind of grueling place to exist, but so far it's been nothing but pleasantries and nice people, so very excited about that and very excited to talk to you guys about this new, well not new format, but one of my new things we're going to do here is I decided I'd like to learn about all the drivers on the grid and I thought what better way to learn than to start with the least experienced drivers because I'm your least experienced podcaster and I did a little Twitter poll and I put the three least experienced drivers up there, put it up there for a day and got some votes between I think it was Alex Alban, Oscar Piastri and Nick DeVries who actually ended up winning the poll in a high turnout, two to one margin, by a two to one margin, two votes against one vote, not like 200 to 100 or 2,000 to 1,000, just two people wanted to hear about Nick and one person wanted to hear about Alex Alban and then nobody cared about Oscar, so that was sad, I like Oscar, I like all these guys, I'm enjoying it, but anyway, so the purpose of these are going to be the driver deep dives, I'm calling it, and that's going to be an episode where I learn about these drivers that are on the Formula One grid this year and we'll probably do it with any new drivers that are assigned to teams and any drivers that fall away from Formula One, I think we'll do something to say goodbye to them as that news comes out, so the focus is going to be mostly on the driver themselves and their Formula One, the road to Formula One, who they are, where they, the ups and downs but we're going to keep it to the racing, you know, people have all sorts of personal lives and things like that and that's not really what I'm interested in, I'm more interested in how they got to Formula One, how they're doing and essentially, you know, who these people are, I don't know that much, I say it every time, eventually I hope this podcast is around long enough where I say that but it's like a joke because I know a lot about the sport but as of now I don't really know very much at all, so with that being said, I can't wait, let's dive right in there and start our first driver's deep dive about Mr. Nick DeVries. So right off the bat here, Nick DeVries, born February 6th of 1995, means he's 28 years old from the Netherlands and he's from one of these places where you take a look at it and you think, I'm not going to try to say that name but then I thought that's a little disrespectful, right, maybe I should try to shout it out, so here we go, I think, wow, Nick DeVries was born in Oitvingerga, Netherlands, so that's what I'm going with, Oitvingerga, there's some L's in there, I don't know, no disrespect Mr. DeVries, I gave it a shot but anyway, so the Dutchman drives the number 21 car for the AlphaTauri team this year, he's made four starts in his career, so that's three so far in the 2023 season and we'll talk about a little bit more later on his one start last year in 2022, which was a pretty interesting debut on the grid, but so Nick DeVries kind of, from what I can tell here, is he came up through the McLaren karting program, you know, the young driver, not the karting, I shouldn't say karting, the McLaren young driver program, which is the same young driver program that one Lewis Hamilton went to, so right off the bat, being new to this, that gives a lot of credibility to his, you know, upbringing, as you might say, when it comes to pedigree and race car driving, but he actually took an interesting path and almost didn't make it to Formula One, or you could say he, the timing was really key for him landing his seat here in 2023. So he was a Formula Two driver for three years, which from what I can tell seems to be a little bit long for an F2 driver, and it seems like he struggled a little bit his first two years in F2, and there was great competition. This is off the top of my head from what I was reading, I believe he was in the same class as guys like Albon and Charles Leclerc and George Russell, and that's, I mean, that's heavy, heavy competition. From what I can tell, three years seems to be a long time to nail down your first Formula Two championship in terms of prospect trajectory, if that makes sense. You know, I'm always making comparisons to other sports or other things, but let's keep it to Formula One where, you know, a prospect doesn't pan out. I'm sure there's not too much of a leash because there's so few seats and so many drivers, and it's the very pinnacle of motorsport, a lot say that if you can't do it, if you're not getting there in the timeline that's set out before you, it seems like it's a long shot to get to Formula One, which is what makes Nick DeVries landing a seat this year with AlphaTauri so impressive. I was saying it on Twitter that I think it takes a lot of toughness, mental toughness, and a lot of stick-to-itiveness to finally, for him to get his seat, and that's really impressive. You know, there's sometimes some young drivers that will get a seat, or young athletes in general that will get their spot, and they're not quite ready for it, and it seems like with, so he's 28, right, and he's having his rookie year this year. That's pretty old for a rookie in any sport, and Formula One definitely seems to be trending younger, but so it's impressive. I think it's impressive any time someone really keeps going at something, and they want it, and they maybe were denied the first time, or they didn't quite hit the mountaintop on their first hike, you know, and they gather themselves, and they figure out what they need to do, and they keep climbing, and they go, and it seems like that's, you know, what happened here, and again, I am not doing any deep background on these people, just in terms of what I see, and what I was reading, and I watched some great videos last night about him, and it seems like the route he took, so he won that F2 title, let's just, let's just get into it. He won the F2 title, and there was not really a seat for him, so he was in some endurance, racing endurance competitions, I believe it's Le Mans, I've seen it, I want to do some more research on that race, but I've seen the name Le Mans, just let me know if I'm saying that wrong, because you know, I feel like a jerk, but I know it's an endurance race, and another, I think he was actually the winner of a world endurance racing cup, or you know, within the top three, he was on the podium, or something, and so that's kind of the mindset he, it shows, you know, I'm going to keep going, keep going, and then he was the 2020-2021 Formula E world champion, which Formula E looks like a whole thing that I would like to look into, again, you know, I'm stacked up with stuff to look at, and read here, but Formula E seems to be an interesting place for people, interesting time for drivers careers, and a different circuit, and he did a good job though, he did a good job, and he won the Formula E world championship, so what happened is, in 2022, Formula One, there was a new regulation, I think it started in 2022, that you had to give drivers with no Grand Prix experience at least two free practice sessions a year, and like any good sport, the teams immediately tried to exploit this rule, as to find, the theory of the rule was to get younger drivers experience on, in Formula One cars, and exposed to the, you know, just everything that goes with a F1 weekend, but of course teams were nervous about how much money they're going to blow on these kids wrecking their F1 cars, so Nick DeVries, there he was, Formula E champ, and you know, kind of a, not a burnt out prospect, but someone who had been overlooked, and not really had his timing right, was, was there, and available for a lot of these teams who said, hey we just want this older, consistent, 27 year old at the time, guy who's not going to wreck these cars, and he's going to put in a good time, and it's, it's a, a win-win for us, you know, we, we get good times, we can sell, we have got a professional driver driving these cars, we're checking off the regulations, and the car's coming home safe, right, which everybody at the end of the day, that's, especially for a lot of these lower budget teams, I'm sure that's very important. So DeVries, with his previous connections with Mercedes, ended up driving a lot of those free practice sessions last year, um, he drove for Mercedes, he drove for AlphaTauri, he drove, um, I think AlphaTauri, I got that in my notes, but that might be because of his car this year, but I think he drove for Williams, he drove for Aston Martin, he drove a bunch of Formula One cars, you know, during practice sessions last year, and put in good times, and put in good laps, and quality work, which is important for any professional organization to see, and then, like anyone that, uh, that keeps with it, and keeps going, and keeps working, he, he got a break, he, he got a, a chance to show his stuff in a Williams, when, um, who was it, Alex Albon last year, had, had to miss a weekend, because of, uh, I think pancreatitis, do you all remember, remember vaguely when Albon had to miss the weekend, he was in the hospital, and, um, Nick DeVries qualified in P8, and then finished P9 in a Williams that was not really, you know, getting across the line all, all year long, and they were dragging it with, uh, it took a lot, it took a lot for, for those Williams to, to get anything, and there's Nick DeVries, sits in for professional F1 driver Alex Albon, and lo and behold, he's got some points in his pocket, walking off the paddock, I mean, what about, you couldn't ask for a better way to start, um, to put your name out there, it's pretty much look at me now, anyone who has a seat in 2023, here I am, you don't need to look anywhere else, I'm, uh, I'm Nick DeVries, and I'm, I'm ready to drive, and so that, that was his big break, and I think, I have to say, there's a lot to be said for that hard work, and that sticking with it, and making yourself available, and being there when you're needed, and boom, he had his chance, and, uh, I was reading Nicholas Latifi, you remember that speed wizard was, um, he was a little salty after DeVries finished in the points, and the Williams, and he said something along the lines of, well, that's about where that car should be finishing, that's where, where the car, you know, that's what it's built for, it's, it's about a ninth position car, and it's like, Nick, Nick, you've been finishing P18, P19, P20, P20, I mean, I don't know if he knew what a self-owned that was, or how ridiculous he looked, but something to be said for why I think Nicholas Latifi's stuff online says former race car driver, former Formula One driver, I think he's just hanging out, having a good time, hey, and nothing against Latifi, or anything along those lines, personally, but just, um, it's, it was pretty, pretty nice to see Nick DeVries get his chance, and put that car up there, and get some points, and, uh, just what an amazing way to start your, your career, any career, you know, think about whatever it is you do for work, or whatever it is, you know, you, you aspire for in your life, and imagine that day when you just finally get a chance, and you, you, you do it better than you ever think you, you could, and you, you blow everyone away, and all the bosses are there, and the whole team is looking at you, and you step up, and, and you, you nail it like that, it's got to be great, got to be one of those days, he must have felt about 10 feet taller when he went, went back to his hotel that night, or his, whatever, helicopter, or floating party boat, or whatever Nick DeVries does on the weekends, but, um, I can't imagine, I can't imagine, so with that, he was, uh, I would say probably the number one, maybe, probably the number one sought-after driver for the 2023 season, when, uh, when AlphaTauri scooped him up, which, uh, so yeah, that's his Road 2 F1, and, well, let me, let me stop myself, because you heard me hesitate there, and, uh, yeah, I don't think he was the most sought-after driver, um, we had the whole Oscar Piastri, uh, debacle going on, but then when Pierre Gasly left to, uh, and vacated his seat at AlphaTauri, Red Bull Racing was certainly very keen to, uh, to give Nick DeVries a call, and give him a chance, I mean, again, why not, you know, why not, but, uh, yeah, so that's his Road 2, Red Bull Racing, and AlphaTauri, and, and all that stuff, and now let's just take a little peek at how he's done besides that, uh, pole position, or not pole position, geez, points finish last year for Williams, let's take a, take a little look at how his rookie season's been going, and then we will wish Mr. Nick DeVries well on his journey, and thank him for being the subject of our first episode of the Driver Deep Dive series, but, uh, yeah, let's take a look at 2023 now. It's been a tough start to the year for, uh, Nick DeVries here, but, uh, here's what we've got, we've got, uh, Bahrain, he qualified 18th, and he finished 14th, P14, so that's not too bad, gaining four spots, I don't remember, to be honest, if there were a lot of DNFs in that race or not, but, hey, you, you qualify 18th, you finish 14th, you're, you're going in the right direction, and then Njeta, uh, same thing, he, uh, qualified 18th, sorry, in Bahrain, he actually qualified 19th, and finished P14, so that's five places, which is pretty nice, you gotta give him that, uh, Njeta is where he qualified 18th, finished P14 again, um, and then in Australia, qualified 14th, which was the first time he qualified ahead of his teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who qualified P15, and then, um, DeVries finished the race P15, but if you remember, Australia was that crazy three red flag, I'm not sure who survived it and made it out of that alive, so can't take too much, uh, away from that, they may have had something cooking, I think, in the middle of that race, and then the red flags bogged them down a bit, but, um, so it's been, you know, a middling start here for DeVries, but I think there's, if, if I learned one thing about reading his path up to Formula One, is he's gonna keep going, you know, he's not someone who's gonna pout and walk away from this, he's going to, uh, he's gonna give him a good effort, and I think he's a good, he's a good teammate for a guy like Yuki Tsunoda, who needs a little bit of focus, I think, and a little bit of maturing, um, from what I've seen, that might not necessarily be the case, and, and all signs point to Yuki improving and having a little bit better year so far in the early going in 2023, but I think it's a good pairing for AlphaTauri, uh, just a little bit of a veteran driver, even though he's a rookie, with, um, a little bit of an immature driver, even though he's a veteran, and it's not immature in a bad way, it's just like in anything else, um, Yuki could stand a little seasoning, I suppose, um, but also he's got phenomenal pace, and, and he's, uh, a lot of fun to watch, too, so that's nothing negative, really, there to say about Yuki Tsunoda, but that's, uh, this isn't the Yuki Tsunoda podcast, this is the Nick DeVries Deep Dive, and, uh, I've really enjoyed it, I've enjoyed, uh, learning about this guy, I really truly knew nothing about him, and, uh, knew that he was a driver this year on the grid, and that was about it, so this has been, uh, fun reading up on him, and reading how he got to Formula One, and again, as these, these podcasts get bigger and longer, and these shows get bigger, and we're going to start, I mean, we're going to start talking about, we will start talking about things, and subjects, and people that are very deep when we get to the Lewis Hamilton, or the Max Verstappen Driver Deep Dive, you can expect that to be a couple hours long, and, and potentially with, with guests, or, you know, just a lot more information, and, um, detail to, to cover, so that's why we're starting here with these younger and experienced guys, as I said, because I'm growing my experience here too, and I appreciate you listening here to the F1 FunCast, and like I said at the beginning, you can always, and I would encourage you to, uh, tweet me, or do whatever you do on Instagram, or email in at F1FunCast across those three platforms, and share what you can, and I really want this to be an interactive experience, and, um, I've really enjoyed the input, and the feedback from people so far, and I'm looking forward to doing another one, and I appreciate, um, Nick DeVries, and his, his path here to F1 2023, and, uh, being the first subject of what I hope is a, a long-running series of Driver Deep Dives, because it doesn't have to stop with the, the current grid, right? There's been hundreds of Formula One drivers over the years, so that's always, there's always room to do deep dives on everyone, great drivers, bad drivers, funny drivers, drivers that were banned for life that I've never heard of before, who knows? So this could be the first of many, many, many, and someday, um, I'll look back on it, hopefully, and say, wow, he could have learned a lot more about Nick DeVries, and maybe we'll come back and do a 2.0, but for now, this is, this is what I've got, and it's been a lot of fun, and please email, text, tweet, Instagram, whatever it is, I hate having to say that stuff, but really, that's, uh, that's the only way to get the message out there, and, um, yeah, thanks for listening to this, and please share it around, and, and enjoy, and next week we'll be doing another one, so keep your eyes out for the next edition of the Driver Deep Dive, and thank you for listening to the F1 FunCast. I'm out of here. Check your flag, baby.