Toto Wolff has conceded Mercedes may have to sever ties with junior driver Nyck De Vries following his run-out in practice ahead of French Grand Prix.
F1 teams are mandated to give designated ‘young drivers’ a practice session on two separate occasions over the course of the season. De Vries stood in for Lewis Hamilton during free practice one at Paul Ricard and finished ninth in the pecking order, a respectable half a second off George Russell, who will hand his car over for a session later in the season.
It is unclear whether that place will go to De Vries other another driver from the Silver Arrows’ talent pool. The Dutchman can count himself unlucky not to have a full-time drive in F1 given he has won the Formula 2 and Formula E championship, but at 27 his big chance may have passed him by.
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The Formula E title was actually with Mercedes, but the German manufacturer is pulling out of the all-electric series at the end of this season and selling up to McLaren, placing De Vries’ future with the team in doubt.
With Mercedes likely to go for a big-name driver to partner Russell once Hamilton retires in the next few years, De Vries is unlikely to land a drive with the Brackley squad. Wolff admits finding another seat on the grid would be tough too.
“If we are not able to provide him [De Vries] with an interesting Formula One project, in a way we need to let him go," Wolff told Sky Sports F1.
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“He's looking at various options, sportscars and maybe Formula E, but you must never give up on the opportunity that one day a Formula One door can open and today was very good. I can't really help him.
“We can't really tell any team to look at him and consider him because that would be felt like an interference and that goes the contrary way.”
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