Former AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver Nyck de Vries has encountered a legal setback in a case initiated by the company that had invested in his racing career through a significant loan. The Amsterdam District Court has ruled against De Vries, requiring him to repay a €250,000 loan and, additionally, pay half of both his salary and any sponsorship income earned during his partial F1 season with AlphaTauri up to July 2023. Despite this decision, De Vries is contemplating the possibility of appealing the ruling.
The legal dispute stems from a loan De Vries obtained from Jeroen Schothorst’s Investrand company in 2018 to supplement his budget for the Prema Formula 2 drive. The terms dictated that if De Vries secured an active F1 driver position by 2022, Investrand would claim 50% of his income for the duration of his tenure at the top level. Alternatively, if he failed to reach F1 by the stipulated time, the loan would be forgiven. An exception was made for his role as a test driver for Mercedes, which would not be considered.
Complications arose during the 2022 Italian Grand Prix when De Vries, acting as a reserve driver, stepped in at the last minute to substitute for the unwell Alex Albon at Williams. He achieved a commendable ninth-place finish in the race, catching the attention of Red Bull, ultimately securing a seat with AlphaTauri for the following year.
However, in the middle of the 2023 season, De Vries lost his AlphaTauri drive and subsequently returned to Formula E and the World Endurance Championship with Mahindra and Toyota, respectively.
The legal dispute with Investrand centers on the interpretation of the 2022 Monza appearance, debating whether it constituted a racing deal or was part of De Vries’ testing activities. This distinction is crucial as it determines whether the loan would be forgiven or if the 50% agreement would be triggered.
Despite the setback, De Vries remains a prominent figure in the motorsports scene, competing in Formula E and the World Endurance Championship after his tenure in Formula 1. The outcome of this legal battle could have implications not only for De Vries but also for the broader dynamics of financial agreements within the competitive world of Formula 1.