Mercedes Formula E driver Nyck de Vries is fully refreshed after a winter break and is ready defend his world championship title
The Dutch 26-year-old claimed his first Formula E title in Berlin in August, but for De Vries that is all in the past and he is solely focused on the season ahead, starting at the Diriyah E-Prix double-header under the Riyadh street lights in Saudi Arabia on January 28 and 29.
It is a rapid rise for De Vries who only joined Formula E from F2 in 2019 and is now the reigning champion, but he is not one to rest on his laurels.
“I am feeling good after the winter break,” De Vries said on a virtual chat. “I have recovered from the cold and I also had Covid-19 a while back, but I am all good now. I have been testing for IndyCar, went to Abu Dhabi for the Young Drivers Test with Mercedes and even managed a weekend in Monaco with some friends, so it has been busy but fun — except for the illness.
Despite now being champion, De Vries insists he will still just take it one race at a time and he will not alter his approach to the competition, even though he is now the one to beat.
“Of course I want to do well but I still get the same feeling before each race as I always have. Sure, I am the champion but this is a new year with new opportunities and a new championship, with each driver on a clean slate.”
It is clear De Vries likes to keep himself busy on the track even when the Formula E is in its off season, and the Dutchman has also signed up for the 24 Hours of European Le Mans Series season along with other commitments with Mercedes and in the United States.
“You have to stay on your toes in motorsport and I am very pro staying active on the track,” De Vries said. “Of course it can be hard to fit in other events if you have a 20-25 weekend calendar, but if your calendar is six to 10 events, that is not enough and a driver must keep driving to stay at the top of the game.”
De Vries is relishing a return to Riyadh for a race he won last year.
“Diriyah has been good to me and it is my favourite track,” he said. “It is the fastest track on the calendar and — as it is a night race — it gives it that extra touch. The lights make a huge difference and the emotions are heightened. Everything seems a little faster and a little more intimidating at night. I love it.”
The Formula E season begins with the Diriyah E-Prix on January 28-29, before heading to Mexico City, Rome, Monaco, Berlin, Jakarta, Vancouver, New York City and London before finishing in Seoul in August.