AlphaTauri driver Nyck de Vries has found himself embroiled in a legal battle with real estate millionaire Jeroen Schothorst, following his impressive debut at the Italian Grand Prix last year. The Dutch driver was called upon at the last minute to replace Williams driver Alex Albon, who was taken to the hospital.
Despite the unexpected opportunity, de Vries rose to the challenge and outqualified Nicholas Latifi, teammate of Albon, and went on to earn points in the Grand Prix which Latifi was unable to do. This outstanding performance landed him a well deserved, full-time seat with AlphaTauri for the 2023 season.
However, this success has come at a cost for the Formula E champion. According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Schothorst is now seeking significant compensation for investments he made in de Vries’ driving career. It is reported that in 2018, Schothorst invested €250,000 through his company Investrand to fund de Vries’ Formula 2 campaign. The loan agreement included an annual interest rate of 3% and a payment of 50% of de Vries’ income from F1. The loan would only need to be paid back if de Vries failed to secure a seat in F1 by the end of 2022.
De Vries has already paid back €190,000 while working as a test and reserve driver in F1. However, the confusion arises from whether his last-minute appearance at the Italian Grand Prix qualifies as becoming a full-time F1 driver. De Vries argues that his debut in Italy does not compare to being a full-time F1 driver and that there was no mention of a ‘reserve driver’ in the contract, therefore, the loan has been repaid.
The case will be heard at The District Court of Amsterdam on February 3rd and if the court rules against de Vries, he will be required to pay Schothorst half of his salary with AlphaTauri. This could have a significant impact on de Vries’ financial stability and career.
De Telegraaf also reported that de Vries has offered to pay the full €250,000, in addition to the interest already paid, but Schothorst has refused the offer. This suggests that Schothorst is not only seeking financial compensation, but also looking to make a statement to other young drivers seeking investments.
This legal dispute raises important questions about the financial investments and obligations of young drivers in motorsports, and the potential consequences of not fulfilling those obligations. It’s a situation that will be closely watched by those in the motorsports industry, and could set a precedent for future legal disputes.
De Vries, meanwhile, will have to balance the demands of this legal battle while also preparing for the upcoming F1 season. It remains to be seen how this legal dispute will ultimately be resolved, but one thing is certain: Nyck de Vries has his work cut out for him both on and off the track.