Nyck de Vries made his debut in Season 6 of the all-electric race series and ended the year as Best Rookie in eleventh place. He took his maiden podium as runner-up in the Berlin season finale and helped secure the team's first one-two finish in the series. In Season 7, Nyck will once again be lining up for the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team.
Season 7 will be your second in Formula E. Do you now feel at home in the series and in the team?
Nyck de Vries: The team still had to come together to some extent at the start of their debut season and become more practised. That also applied to me, because when I began, I was still in Formula 2 while having to make my preparations for Formula E. I had to do everything at the same time and just went with the flow. I probably didn't feel quite as much at home as I do now. It always takes time and is something that can't be forced. However, we developed a strong working relationship during the season and have gradually become more in tune with one another. I never noticed at the time but can see in retrospect that there's an obvious difference between how I felt back then in the team and now. I am very happy with my position in the team and with all concerned.
How difficult did you find learning to manage energy management and strategy, things that are vital in Formula E?
Nyck de Vries: Although there wasn't much time in pre-season testing, I tried to prepare for what I might have to face at race weekends and in the course of the season, but the truth is, none of it is the same as in a real
race. On a test day, you are out on track alone, posting laps. It's a perfect race to all intents and purposes, but in a real race, you are always battling other drivers and constantly having to make decisions about, for example, whether to use up energy there and then, whether to attack, defend or maintain position for the time being while waiting to see how the race develops. It's very difficult, and striking the right balance is enormously challenging. What's more, you also have to deal with opponents whose strategy you don't know, which is very difficult too. Generally speaking, Formula E's format is hugely challenging. Everything takes place on a single day, and you have very little time for practice - it's all quite different and demanding, but ultimately, that's racing. It's a racing car, and I would say I've adapted well. I still have a lot to learn, of course, but we are on the right track. In the championship, too, everything was new and different initially. You are expected to perform straight away, but at the same time, you must first get accustomed to things. I'm happy with how quickly we've adapted, not just as a team, but also with regard to me personally. Formula E is a very interesting and innovative series - one of the best in my opinion. I think it's the way forward, and am delighted to be part of it.
Are there any areas where you would like to do better in Season 7 compared to your rookie season?
Nyck de Vries: There is never just one route to success. There are always many different aspects that lead to a result. I think qualifying is very important, and I would like to improve a bit in the Super Pole. If we could start a little further forward in the races, then our chances of achieving a decent result with our strong package would be good. However, we were a little further down the order sometimes, making things more difficult for us in races, so I would like to do better in such circumstances, especially as regards to managing energy intelligently and overtaking.
What are you most looking forward to in Season 7?
Nyck de Vries: I'm really looking forward to driving on proper Formula E tracks again and returning to a more normal race schedule and environment after the situation we were faced with at the end of last season. Formula E did a phenomenal job with the Berlin finale and delivered an event that was safe for all concerned, but we had to contest an awful lot of races at the same venue. In actual fact, so far, I've only raced on a third of the circuits that would normally be on the calendar, and I'm wondering what the other Formula E circuits and venues are like.