Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, refuses to acknowledge rumours about Nyck De Vries being lined up for the second AlphaTauri seat for 2023, on the basis that Pierre Gasly is still contracted for the drive next season.
Since Oscar Piastri snubbed Alpine's proposal of a seat for 2023, in favour of McLaren, the French team have been searching for a driver to replace Fernando Alonso for next season. The name that has been most associated with this position has been Pierre Gasly, who is currently contracted to drive for AlphaTauri until the end of 2023.
However, the general feeling coming from the team and their bosses at Red Bull Racing is that AlphaTauri and Red Bull would be happy to let Pierre Gasly leave and join Alpine, but only if they found a suitable replacement.
In their search for a suitable replacement, AlphaTauri, alongside Helmut Marko, the head of the driver development programme at Red Bull, looked towards Colton Herta, an American IndyCar driver. However, this plan fell through as Herta didn't possess the required FIA superlicence points to make him eligible to race in Formula 1, and when the team's request of an exception got denied, they stopped chasing down this route altogether.
The search for the second AlphaTauri driver continued, with the Italian team setting their sights on the 2019 Formula 2 champion and 2020 Formula E champion, Nyck De Vries. Helmut Marko has confirmed that "there are talks" between the driver and the team, however Christian Horner has adopted a different approach to the media when asked about this topic.
"Pierre Gasly is a Red Bull Racing-contracted driver and continues to be so" - Christian Horner
When asked about why Red Bull are opting to sign Nyck De Vries to their sister team and not one of their own junior drivers, Christian Horner was quick to point out that there is no vacancy for the role as Pierre Gasly hasn't left the team. He referred to it as "making reference to a situation that hasn't even happened yet".
Does Horner's comments change the likelihood of the expected outcome in this situation? Well, probably not. He isn't stating that an announcement on the AlphaTauri driver for 2023 is dependent on if Pierre Gasly leaves the team and the situation changes, but rather when the situation changes. Horner added, "Until that situation changes, there’s nothing really to say about a potential replacement or not. So yeah, that’s all I can give you."
Red Bull aren't the only team eyeing up the Dutchman. Williams, the team that De Vries made his F1 debut with, at the Italian Grand Prix of this year, are also interested in signing him for 2023. Following the announcement that Nicholas Latifi won't be driving for Williams next season, it was rumoured that De Vries would replace him, especially given his impressive, points-scoring debut with the British team.
When asked about De Vries joining the team for next season, Williams CEO Jost Capito, responded with "It’s not just up to us, the interest of other teams in Nyck de Vries is also relatively high."