Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

De Vries loses court case over loan and AlphaTauri F1 earnings

Former AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver Nyck de Vries has lost a legal case initiated by a company that invested in his career by providing him with a loan.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

The Amsterdam District Court has decreed that De Vries will have to repay the €250,000 loan and, in addition, pay half of both his salary and any sponsorship income he earned during his partial F1 season with AlphaTauri up to July 2023. The Dutchman is now considering an appeal against the decision.

De Vries obtained the loan from Jeroen Schothorst’s Investrand company in 2018, when he needed to top up the budget for his Prema Formula 2 drive.

It was agreed that if De Vries became an active F1 driver by 2022, Investrand would take 50% of his income for as long as he competed at the top level. If he didn’t make it to F1 by that time, Investrand would write the loan off. The company later agreed that his activities as a test driver for Mercedes would not count.

A complication arose when, at the 2022 Italian GP, reserve driver De Vries was called in at the last minute as a substitute for the ill Alex Albon at Williams

He duly finished ninth in the race and did enough to catch the attention of Red Bull, which led to him getting the AlphaTauri seat for the following year.

Having lost his drive in the middle of 2023, De Vries has since returned to Formula E and the World Endurance Championship with Mahindra and Toyota respectively.

A dispute arose with Investrand over the 2022 Monza appearance and whether or not that constituted a race deal or was part of his testing activities, as that would make the difference between the loan being written off or the 50% agreement being triggered.

Nyck de Vries, Williams FW44

Nyck de Vries, Williams FW44

Photo by: Williams

In an initial summary court proceeding early last year, the judge sided with De Vries, noting that "it is true that he participated in F1 on 11 September 2022 at the Italian Grand Prix, but he did so as a reserve driver. He was not contracted as a race driver at that time. He was merely filling in for another driver with appendicitis.”

The judge also backed De Vries regarding a claim that he had not kept Investrand fully informed of the details of his contracts over the years.

De Vries indicated to the media at the time that he had in effect won and he hoped that the matter was over, but Investrand now stresses that last year's proceedings were mainly about obtaining information and just a first step towards the main case, which was heard this week in the Amsterdam District Court.

This time the judge backed Inverstrand, confirming that De Vries could not rely on his Mercedes testing contract to override the fact that he took part in the 2022 Italian GP as a race driver within the timeframe of the original agreement.

He will thus have to repay the €250,000 loan plus interest, along with half of his 2023 AlphaTauri earnings.

“We supported Nyck at a crucial moment in his career, when no one else wanted to do so,” said Schothorst.

“I am happy that the judge has now ruled in our favour, although I of course regret that this procedure was necessary.

“We would have preferred to reach an arrangement without procedures through proper consultation, but unfortunately our attempts to do so were resolutely rejected by Nyck and his lawyer.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“This made going to court inevitable. That does not alter the fact that I wish Nyck all possible success in the continuation of his already impressive motorsport career, even though it will no longer be in F1."

De Vries’s lawyer Jeroen Bedaux challenged the decision, noting that De Vries had won on some elements such as any extra payments claimed to the end of 2022, while also indicating that there may yet be an appeal.

“The court's interpretation of the agreement is not consistent with what De Vries in any event intended at the time he concluded the agreement,” he told Autosport.

“And De Vries has also fully and conscientiously fulfilled his obligations up to and including 2022, which has also been confirmed in court.

“That De Vries was nevertheless ordered to repay the loan and to pay fixed and variable interest regarding the first months of 2023 is therefore at odds with what the parties have agreed, which is why De Vries is still considering an appeal.”

He also suggested that counting the 2022 Monza reserve appearance as a race drive was “a very creative interpretation of the agreement”.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article How Hamilton dropped his Ferrari bombshell on Mercedes
Next article Exclusive: F1's "irreplaceable" design king Newey on Red Bull's edge

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe