The Dutchman joined the team with a big reputation, having won titles in Formula 2 and Formula E. And his profile had also been boosted by an excellent performance when stepping in to race for Williams at Monza last year at short notice.
However, his Formula 1 dream has so far not turned out the way he would have wanted. De Vries has yet to score a point for AlphaTauri and, with top Red Bull officials watching on, the pressure upon him is mounting.
Red Bull have rarely shied away from axing drivers during a season in the past. Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly have both experienced the ruthlessness of those in charge in recent years, both being set from the top team down to AlphaTauri.
Amid De Vries' struggles, speculation persists that he might be dropped out of F1 altogether. And team principal Franz Tost has refused to rule out the possibility of that happening.
Speaking to reporters ahead of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, he said: "Nyck decides. Not the team. If Nyck shows a good performance, why should we change him?"
De Vries has not been helped by the fact AlphaTauri have not had a competitive car so far this season. But team-mate Yuki Tsunoda has still managed to impress by fighting for points at every race so far, while the Dutchman has rarely threatened the top 10.
If AlphaTauri do pull the trigger on De Vries, Red Bull will not be short of options to replace him. Daniel Ricciardo would be the obvious choice for some given he is a reserve already on the books, but the experienced Aussie is not expected to be the man called in if needed.
Instead, The Race reports Red Bull are likely to hand Liam Lawson an F1 debut. The New Zealander has tested F1 cars in the past and taken part in practice sessions and, in terms of racing, has been impressing in the Japanese Super Formula championship so far this season.
Tost said of Lawson: "Liam has done a good job when he was driving for us last year in Abu Dhabi and he is currently also doing a good job in Japan because it's quite a tough championship over there. It's a performance question. We have to find out.
"We have to see which driver is first of all available and matured enough and educated enough and ready to go to Formula 1. This we will see, currently nothing has been decided."
Red Bull have plenty of other talented youngsters on the books currently plying their trade in F2 or Formula 3. But, for all their talent, Tost believes it is too early for the likes of Ayumu Iwasa and Isack Hadjar to be called up to the top single-seater category.
He said: "The philosophy is quite clear – the performance decides. Of course, the philosophy is to educate young drivers. But if young drivers are not currently there... because there are coming some good young drivers – Iwasa is doing a good job, Hadjar is doing a good job.
"But it's simply a little bit too early for them. I see them sooner or later in our team. But if the time is too late, maybe we find another solution. This has not been discussed so far. So far everything is like it is with our team."