The Amsterdam District Court has decreed that De Vries will have to repay the €250,000 loan and, in addition, pay half of both his salary and any sponsorship income he earned during his partial F1 season with AlphaTauri up to July 2023. The Dutchman is now considering an appeal against the decision.
De Vries obtained the loan from Jeroen Schothorst’s Investrand company in 2018, when he needed to top up the budget for his Prema Formula 2 drive.
It was agreed that if De Vries became an active F1 driver by 2022, Investrand would take 50% of his income for as long as he competed at the top level. If he didn’t make it to F1 by that time, Investrand would write the loan off. The company later agreed that his activities as a test driver for Mercedes would not count.
A complication arose when, at the 2022 Italian GP, reserve driver De Vries was called in at the last minute as a substitute for the ill Alex Albon at Williams.
He duly finished ninth in the race and did enough to catch the attention of Red Bull, which led to him getting the AlphaTauri seat for the following year.
Having lost his drive in the middle of 2023, De Vries has since returned to Formula E and WEC with Mahindra and Toyota respectively.
De Vries now races for Mahindra in Formula E, with little success so far
A dispute arose with Investrand over the 2022 Monza appearance and whether or not that constituted a race deal or was part of his testing activities, as that would make the difference between the loan being written off or the 50% agreement being triggered.
In an initial summary court proceeding early last year, the judge sided with De Vries, noting that “it is true that he participated in F1 on 11 September 2022 at the Italian Grand Prix, but he did so as a reserve driver. He was not contracted as a race driver at that time. He was merely filling in for another driver with appendicitis.”
The judge also backed De Vries regarding a claim that he had not kept Investrand fully informed of the details of his contracts over the years.
De Vries indicated to the media at the time that he had in effect won and he hoped that the matter was over, but Investrand now stresses that last year’s proceedings were mainly about obtaining information and just a first step towards the main case, which was heard this week in the Amsterdam District Court.
This time the judge backed Inverstrand, confirming that De Vries could not rely on his Mercedes testing…