Nyck de Vries has been ordered to repay half of the income he received during his unfortunate stint with Alpha Tauri the previous year.
The Dutch driver, who was dismissed by Red Bull, the team’s owner, during the middle of the season due to unsatisfactory results, was legally challenged by his past supporter, Jeroen Schothorst, one year prior. The property tycoon claimed that the agreement for a EUR 250,000 loan to de Vries included a condition for de Vries to give him half of his earnings from all his Formula 1 contracts.
In February of last year, it was reported that the court actually decided against Schothorst, mandating him to cover all the legal expenses de Vries incurred while contesting the lawsuit.
“Hopefully the wind will die down now,” 28-year-old de Vries, who has now returned to Formula E, said at the time.
However, Dutch publications now report that de Vries has actually lost the follow-up case in an Amsterdam court – and must now pay back the loan with 3 percent annual interest and give Schothorst half of his 2023 pay.
“It was a matter of principle for me,” Schothorst tells Het Financieele Dagblad newspaper.
“As a child, my mother taught me that you have to keep to what you agree. I did what I did out of love for this sport and out of sympathy for the athlete in question. We supported Nyck at a crucial moment in his career when nobody else wanted to.
“We would have preferred to reach a settlement, but unfortunately our attempt to do so were repeatedly rejected by Nyck and his lawyer. This does not alter the fact that I still have a lot of respect for Nyck as a driver,” he added.
According to De Telegraaf newspaper, de Vries’ lawyer Jeroen Bedaux said the terms of the deal was that the loan would be forgiven if the driver failed to make it to F1 by 2022.
De Vries, of course, made a one-off debut as a substitute driver at Williams at Monza in 2022, before securing his first full-time race seat at Alpha Tauri the following year.
“This is a very creative interpretation of the agreement and is not consistent with Nyck’s intention when taking out the loan and what he agreed.”
De Vries is now considering an appeal.
“De Vries fully and to the best of his knowledge fulfilled his obligations up to and including 2022, which has also been confirmed in court,” Bedaux explained.
“The fact that he has nevertheless been ordered to repay the loan and to pay fixed and variable interest for 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,” the lawyer added.