Formula 1

F1 News: Alpine to prepare F1 test for De Vries and Colton Herta

Nyck de Vries has entered the ever-changing discussions surrounding the F1 driver market after a highly impressive debut performance at the Italian GP.

De Vries displayed a very high level of adaptability, achieving the joint-best result of the season for Williams (albeit in a circuit suited to the FW44) with very minimal preparation.

Alpine has been at the centre of F1’s driver market this year and is reportedly interested in further analysing Nyck de Vries alongside America’s Colton Herta.

According to The Race, Alpine is preparing a test at the Hungaroring for Nyck de Vries and Colton Herta, who are considered candidates to join the team in 2023.

There is very little certainty about who will partner with Esteban Ocon next year, but team principal Otmar Szafnauer has made no secret about the vast number of drivers available.

As a manufacturer team currently fourth in the F1 standings, it goes without saying that several drivers will aim to earn a contract from the Enstone team.

Pierre Gasly is widely considered the favourite to join Alpine, but his move from Alpha Tauri to the French squad will be difficult.

As it stands, Colton Herta will require an exemption from the FIA to compete in F1 next season as he currently lacks the minimum number of Super License points to race in the series.

Red Bull has made clear they will not release Gasly without an adequate replacement, and Christian Horner has described Colton Herta as the only driver the team is interested in replacing Gasly.

Whilst Alpine’s test could help Colton Herta achieve the necessary Super License points in F1 (and therefore join Alpha Tauri), the French squad is unlikely to offer the 22-year-old a test if they have no interest in him.

Herta’s test with McLaren might have encouraged Alpine to offer Herta an opportunity, in addition to Michael Andretti’s comments about Colton Herta being faster in Alfa Romeo’s simulator than Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen.

Andretti was extremely close to a takeover of Alfa Romeo last season, so it seems plausible that Herta spent time in the team’s simulator.

Of course, it is in Andretti’s best interest to speak highly of their star driver. Still, when combining this information with Herta’s accomplishments in IndyCar, it is understandable why teams are showing interest in Herta’s services.

Herta’s IndyCar record is hardly spotless, but when considering the 22-year-old’s potential alongside the growth of F1’s audience in America, there are several benefits Herta could bring.

Nyck de Vries has spent several years searching for an opportunity in F1. He took full advantage of the one presented at the Italian GP, equalling Williams’ best season result in Monza.

It would be a stretch to suggest De Vries is now guaranteed a seat next season, but his speed and adaptability have seemingly established him as a candidate for next season.

Still, one race is a very small sample size to analyse a driver with, so it seems logical that Alpine will use the three-week gap between the Italian and Singapore GP to evaluate the Dutchman’s skill further.

There is always the possibility that Alpine will not offer a contract to either of these drivers, but it remains useful to observe which drivers are on Alpine’s radar for 2023.

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