Mercedes-EQ’s Nyck de Vries insists he is focused on the present amidst rumours this could be his last season in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship as the reigning champion targets back-to-back victories at this weekend’s inaugural Jakarta E-Prix.
The 27-year-old also comes into the race off the back of an appearance in Formula One.
He took the place of Alex Albon for Williams during first practice for the Spanish Grand Prix to fulfil one of the British team’s two mandated young driver sessions, which is a new rule introduced for this season. That appearance has added to speculation that this could be De Vries’ last season in Formula E amidst talk of a move to Formula One and Williams.
Jakarta ePrix
Evans wins Jakarta E-Prix to claim third race victory this season after thrilling finish
04/06/2022 AT 12:18
De Vries says he is not currently thinking about anything other than the Jakarta E-Prix.
“I'm highly motivated and committed to achieving what we [are trying] to do," he said. "I really care about our sport, and I have a lot of passion for what we do. So regardless of my future, I obviously want to win and defend the championships.
“There are obviously a lot of rumours, and people like to talk about it, but I'm living in the present. And we are in Jakarta now, and we still have eight races to go to make sure it comes our way.
“It's always very interesting to get the opportunity to see inside or behind the scenes of any organisation and particularly a Formula One team. It’s interesting to learn and see where people are putting their emphasis and how they are building to a weekend and how they're preparing.
“I think as a racing driver, you learn from all different things you do – driving different cars, being part of different teams and organisations and manufacturers. Every little piece is ultimately making you a more complete racing driver.”
The Dutchman currently sits in sixth place in the Drivers’ Championship but lags 46 points behind Championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne.
De Vries has in fact won more races than his Mercedes-EQ teammate this season (two to Vandoorne’s one), but it is the latter’s relentless consistency that sees him topping the standings and favourite for the title.
“It's been a bit up and down,” De Vries admits reflecting on his season up to this point.
“We have obviously had a competitive start to the season, then we had multiple difficult races where we didn't really quite execute the points we were aiming to score. But in Formula E, things turn around very quickly.
“Luckily, we got a good result in Berlin, but it is very competitive and little things can make a big difference because the cars are very similar. I think all the all the powertrains and all the teams are so experienced now with the Gen2 car that the difference between winning and losing is honestly nothing.”
Formula E’s debut in Jakarta is long-awaited with the race initially due to be on the calendar for Season 6 before being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be the first time that the Indonesian capital has hosted an FIA-sanctioned motorsport since 2006.
And, aside from heading into the weekend off the back of a victory, the race holds extra significance for De Vries.
The Dutchman has Indonesian heritage and admits he is relishing the chance to race in Asia at the 2.37km Jakarta International E-Prix Circuit amidst the backdrop of the picturesque Jakarta Bay.
“I am a quarter Indonesian, so I have some Asian blood. I have always enjoyed Asia a lot because the people are very kind, very genuine and passionate about motorsport, so I'm very happy to be back.
“It is obviously an exciting and new challenge for everyone. It's a new track, which no one knows. So, I'm looking forward to that challenge as well.
“The track looks very cool – I’m quite excited about it. When I saw the layout for the first time, I was convinced that it was going to be fun because the corners are not that tight, and the minimum speeds look relatively high compared to some of the other Formula E circuits.
“What can fans expect? What Formula E always provides – a lot of excitement.”
- - -
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship’s most extensive calendar to date continues in Jakarta this Saturday 4 June live on Eurosport 1 and discovery+ with coverage from 09:00 BST
Jakarta ePrix
Talking points: Title race hotting up as racers head for Jakarta
03/06/2022 AT 11:10
Formula E
'The cars are getting faster' - The Power of Initiative with Lucas di Grassi
08/06/2022 AT 20:02