With Mercedes-EQ set to end its FIA Formula E program after the 2022 season is run, its factory drivers are getting a head start on finding new homes. Holland’s Nyck de Vries, the 2019 FIA Formula 2 champion and 2021 Formula E title winner, will partake in his first NTT IndyCar Series test on December 6 at Sebring International Raceway with Meyer Shank Racing.
His Mercedes-EQ teammate Stoffel Vandoorne will also be in attendance with Arrow McLaren SP, as the former McLaren Formula 1 driver completes his first IndyCar test. Both teams will make use of an “evaluation day” test opportunity made possible by the series.
For de Vries — rated as one of the top young talents to have been passed over by F1 teams — the test could be an indicator of MSR’s future planning as it heads into 2022 with a new full-time line-up comprised of 37-year-old IndyCar champion and Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud and 46-year-old Helio Castroneves, who won the Indy 500 for MSR in May, his fourth since 2001. The highly-rated Dutchman turns 27 in February and could be a perfect fit for the Ohio-based Honda team if it were to make a driver change or add a third car for 2023.
Vandoorne will follow fellow ex-F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg as first-timers to test with Indiana’s AMSP. The Belgian could factor into the team’s plans as it looks to introduce a third entry alongside Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist on a part-time basis next year before making the Chevy-powered car a full-season proposition in 2023.
Assuming both outings are a success, it’s unclear whether Mercedes will allow Vandoorne and de Vries, who also serves as its F1 test and reserve driver, to do more tests or potentially race at select IndyCar events next season. The upcoming Formula E championship runs from January 28 through August 14.