Ahead of his first full Formula 1 season, Dutch rookie Nyck de Vries has found himself at the centre of a legal dispute.
De Telegraaf newspaper reports that the former Mercedes reserve and Formula E champion borrowed money from real estate mogul Jeroen Schothorst to fund his racing in Formula 2.
This week, a case involving accusations that de Vries violated agreements and withheld information went to court, with the judge set to rule by early February.
Specifically, Schothorst alleges he loaned EUR 250 000 via his investment company towards de Vries' participation in F1. The supposed terms of the deal involved payment of 3% interest per year, plus 50% of de Vries' earnings once he got to F1.
Reportedly, the loan would be waived if de Vries did not make it to F1 by the end of 2022, prompting the dispute.
In reality, the Dutch driver made his one-off Grand Prix debut at Monza last year, filling an ill Alex Albon's vacant Williams seat.
That performance attracted the attention of Dr Helmut Marko, who decided to sign de Vries for the full season at Red Bull-owned Alpha Tauri this year.
According to de Vries' lawyers, he reportedly repaid about EUR 190 000 to Schothorst while a test driver at Mercedes. Meanwhile, the AlphaTauri driver's lawyer said de Vries proposed to repay the full loan in addition to the EUR 190 000 already paid, which Schothorst rejected.
The Amsterdam court is set to issue the judge's ruling in writing on 3 February, with Schothorst demanding the full disclosure of de Vries' contracts between 2018 and 2022.