McLaren junior Nyck de Vries joins DAMS for 2015 FR3.5 season

McLaren junior driver Nyck de Vries will race for reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion team DAMS in 2015

McLaren junior Nyck de Vries joins DAMS for 2015 FR3.5 season

The 19-year-old Dutchman, who won the FR3.5-supporting Formula Renault Eurocup this year, confirmed his move to the French team at last night's end-of-season awards ceremony in Jerez.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT before the announcement, de Vries repeated his belief from earlier this year that FR3.5 makes sense as the next move in his career.

"The most logical step forward is Formula Renault 3.5," he said. "Other than a Formula E car, I haven't driven any car other than a two-litre (Formula Renault), so I'm quite excited to see how it feels to drive something else.

"You hear so many driver comments about the bigger categories and how much more downforce they have, so it will be interesting and time will tell how I get on."

De Vries - who will take part in this week's post-season FR3.5 test at Jerez - added that while he has a close relationship with McLaren, the F1 team is careful to make sure it does not prove a distraction.

"They are really supportive, and I visit the factory on average once a month," he said.

"They don't interfere, they let me focus on what I'm doing. They just support me and are very interested in my progress."

By stepping up to FR3.5 de Vries also receives a contribution of €500,000 from Renault Sport towards his 2015 budget as part of his champion's prize.

TOUGH ACTS TO FOLLOW

De Vries is the sixth-consecutive Formula Renault Eurocup champion to graduate to FR3.5 the following year (the last driver not to make that step was Valtteri Bottas after winning the 2008 title).

Here's how his predecessors performed in their rookie FR3.5 campaign - setting the bar very high for the McLaren racer:

2014 Pierre Gasly
Second in the championship

2013 Stoffel Vandoorne
Second in the championship (4 wins)

2012 Robin Frijns
Champion (3 wins)

2011 Kevin Korjus
Sixth in the championship (3 wins)

2010 Albert Costa
Fifth in the championship

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Series Formula V8 3.5
Teams DAMS
Author Glenn Freeman
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