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Sport

Motor racing-De Vries says it would boost Formula E if he can get F1 seat

LONDON (Reuters) - Newly-crowned Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries reckons it would be a boost for the all-electric series if he were to secure a drive in Formula One next season.

Formula E wrapped up its seventh season in Berlin on Sunday with the 26-year-old Mercedes driver becoming the first Dutchman to win a single-seater FIA-sanctioned motor racing world championship.

Red Bull’s Formula One title contender Max Verstappen could join his compatriot as a world champion by the end of the year and they could be racing each other in 2022 with de Vries, a Mercedes F1 reserve, linked to Williams in media speculation.

It is a move the 2019 Formula Two champion would clearly relish and also one he feels could boost the image of electric racing, which has been a home for plenty of ex-Formula One drivers.

“I think at the moment just the other way around happened a lot,” de Vries told select media in a video call on Monday while on his way to Le Mans to continue his other role in endurance racing.

“I think it would be a good sign. If it happens, I don’t know.

“It’s nice to hear that people talk about it but apart from that I’ll wait and see what happens in the next couple of months and what my future will look like.”

Formula E, whose first five champions were all ex-F1, has also welcomed plenty of drivers who failed to progress beyond Formula One’s feeder series but has yet to prove a springboard for talent in the other direction.

Mercedes Formula One boss Toto Wolff said recently that both his reserves, de Vries and Belgian Formula E team mate and ex-McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne, deserved to be on the grand prix grid.

Former F1 champions Williams, who use Mercedes engines, could have a vacancy if George Russell leaves to replace Valtteri Bottas alongside seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton at the Mercedes team.

Verstappen has huge support in the Netherlands, with an army of fans following him as he battles Hamilton for the title, but de Vries said his own success had also brought plenty of attention at home.

Not that he was making any claim on bragging rights, however.

“I don’t have that sort of feelings, or objectives, to be the first Dutch guy to win a world championship in motorsport. It’s a funny fact but I add zero value to it. I add value to the title and to what it means in our community,” he said.

“It is acknowledged by our community as a very strong championship, that is what is important for me, not necessarily the fact that I am now the first one.”

How long Mercedes stick around in Formula E as a factory team remains to be seen, with Sunday’s race marking a farewell for Audi and BMW.

A report on the autosport.com website on Sunday indicated that Mercedes could also quit before the introduction of a new Gen3 car for the 2022-23 season.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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