Nyck de Vries has said losing his seat at Alpha Tauri just 10 races into his Formula 1 career “hurts”.
The 28-year-old Dutchman was dropped by team owners Red Bull last week and replaced by Daniel Ricciardo from this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Of course it hurts that the F1 chance I dreamed of for so long ended prematurely,” said De Vries.
“But life is not a destination, it’s a journey. Sometimes you have to take the hard road to get to where you want to.”
De Vries, a former champion of the all-electric Formula E series, said he “would like to thank Red Bull and Scuderia Alpha Tauri for the opportunity to live my dream”.
He added: “I am grateful for our privileged lives, proud of our journey and my family. This is just another experience – we move on and look to the next chapter.”
De Vries made his full F1 debut for Alpha Tauri this season after Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko was convinced to sign him when he scored two points for ninth place on his debut as a stand-in for Williams driver Alex Albon in last year’s Italian Grand Prix.
De Vries was recruited in the expectation his wide experience of motorsport would enable him to perform strongly from the start of his career, but he has been outperformed by team-mate Yuki Tsunoda and made a series of mistakes.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said this week the decision was taken because “there was a general feeling that Nyck wasn’t quite hitting the mark. And then the question was: ‘What are the options if we were to switch things around?'”
Ricciardo, who himself was dropped by McLaren at the end of last season when his contract was terminated a year early, had rejoined Red Bull as reserve driver this year.
The 34-year-old Australian, an eight-time grand prix winner, earned his return with a test at Silverstone last week that impressed Red Bull.
According to Horner, Ricciardo has now set his sights on proving he deserves a return to Red Bull, for whom he won seven races in five years from 2014-18 before leaving because he believed it had become preoccupied with Max Verstappen.
Horner said Marko had called De Vries to tell him he was being dropped within a handful of laps of the start of Ricciardo’s run.
“It all happened a little quicker than expected, bearing in mind we hadn’t completed the test,” said Horner.
“He [Marko] was the one who had recruited him and he was the one who spoke with Nyck on about lap 11 of the test, I think.”