FR3.5 the 'logical step' for McLaren F1 team junior Nyck de Vries

McLaren junior Nyck de Vries believes that moving into Formula Renault 3.5 in 2015 is the "logical step" following his title success in the Formula Renault Eurocup this year

The 19-year-old sealed the Eurocup crown with a double victory at the penultimate round of the season at Paul Ricard last weekend.

If he moves into FR3.5 he will receive a €500,000 contribution to his 2015 budget from Renault as part of his Eurocup prize.

"Now I think it would be quite a logical step forward to graduate to 3.5, so let's hope we will be able to make that step," said de Vries.

"But it's not up to me to decide what is going to happen. I will go where I am told to go and do the best I can."

McLaren has recent experience of the FR3.5 category - its current Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen raced in the series in 2012-13, beating fellow McLaren protege Stoffel Vandoorne to the title last year.

De Vries, who has been racing in the Eurocup since stepping up from karts to cars for the 2012 season, admitted that missing out on the title was not an option this year.

"We have been working for it a long time so it feels a bit like a relief," he said.

"I've been in the series for three years so it was about time and I knew we had to do it this year.

"We showed our capability and I'm very happy and proud to win the championship with one round to go."

Glenn Freeman, FR3.5/FR Eurocup correspondent (@glenn_autosport)

The 2014 Formula Renault Eurocup field probably won't go down as a vintage bunch in years to come, but Nyck de Vries could only beat what was put in front of him and he did that very well.

It's rare for a driver to spend three full seasons in the Eurocup, but it's also relatively rare for anyone to jump straight into such a competitive series full-time in his first season out of karts.

De Vries showed flashes of speed in his first 18 months in the category, but it was after the summer break in 2013 that he really kicked up a notch.

He finished on the podium in five of the final six races - winning twice - and outscored everybody in the championship over those final three weekends, including current FR3.5 frontrunners Pierre Gasly and Oliver Rowland, and Formula 3 European championship leader Esteban Ocon.

McLaren clearly wanted to see its charge convert that momentum into a title push this year, and while the opposition wasn't as strong as it had been in his first two seasons, de Vries has been a cut above his pursuers.

His average starting position this season is 2.5, while his closest challengers in the title race have averaged 10.0, 9.25, 8.3 and 6.9, and when it comes to leading from the front he looks very comfortable.

There are still creases to iron out - in wheel-to-wheel combat there have been some unnecessarily aggressive attempts at defensive driving, and he's shown a bizarre habit this year of chopping across the front of the field from pole even when he's made a much better start than his rivals.

But surely the main thing McLaren wanted to see this year was prodigious speed and an ability to drive home a championship. De Vries has delivered on both counts.

If he does step up to FR3.5 next year it will be fascinating to see if he can match the high standards set by most recent Eurocup champions Pierre Gasly (currently third), Stoffel Vandoorne (second in 2013) and Robin Frijns (champion in 2012) in their rookie seasons.


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