Formula E world champions Barcelona are ready to take on the track

Formula E world champion Nyck De Vries is set to take to the track tonight in the first practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix. For the Dutchman session, Williams will grab driver Alex Albon’s car, his Formula 1 debut.

De Vries and colleague Jury Vips, who will run Sergio Perez’s Red Bull for the session, have been given the opportunity due to changes in FIA regulations. The changes are the biggest in the sport for decades, with many people focusing on the main differences between cars and regulations. However, they also include a great opportunity for rookie drivers.

Young talent will be able to take part in Free Exercise 1, each team will be forced to do it twice per season. This could be the same driver twice, or two different drivers on separate occasions.

This is where De Vries comes in. The Mercedes EQ Formula E driver is currently listed as one of the Mercedes F1 reserve drivers, along with his teammate Staffel Vandurn. He has been in that role with the team since 2021, after taking part in the team’s young driver test at the end of 2020.

At that time, he became the first Dutch world champion to win the Formula E 2020-21 World Championship (only Max Verstapen won the title).

(Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1 / Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Although many have discussed why de Vries is testing a Williams vs. Mercedes, it makes sense. Williams Hall is a Mercedes customer team, and has been since 2014. Mercedes has used the team to train young talent, most notably current driver George Russell and new Alfa Romeo driver Voltaire Botas.

Mercedes has a strong driver line-up with Russell and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton for this year, with Williams rumored to be looking to replace Nicholas Latifi.

With Mercedes coming out of Formula E next season, McLaren will take charge of their team from the end of this year. This means that both Vandoorne and De Vries will not have the same relationship with their Formula 1 counterparts as in the previous season.

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Vandurn is ready to move to the new DS-Pensk team, while his teammates have been linked with a series move to the World Endurance Championships.

De Vries out of contract, and Williams looking for a new driver, it makes sense to connect with them. And giving the Dutchmen a chance around Spain is not a problem for the team or their current driver lineup, as the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is the site for their annual pre-season test, which means they already have a lot of data on the nation.

This is a good opportunity for the team to test their talents in their young driver programs, and it is hoped that they can become some team considering the changes before the 2023 season.

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