RACING

Silly F1 season: How the 2023 grid could feature several new names

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Sebastian Vettel has sparked much speculation in the F1 paddock with the announcement of his retirement from F1 at the end of the season.

As well as the obvious seat available at Aston Martin, Vettel’s decision will have a ripple effect and potentially lead to significant changes on the grid.

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RacingNews365.com spoke to several sources in the paddock to get the latest information on how the driver market is going and who the movers and shakers are likely to be.

No change in the top three teams

Leading the F1 pack, no changes are expected at Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes between the 2022 and 2023 campaigns.

Max Verstappen has signed his services with Red Bull until 2028, with teammate Sergio Perez recently signing a two-year extension.

It’s a similar story at Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc working on his own long-term contract (which runs until the end of the 2024 season) and Carlos Sainz extending his stay for a further two years.

Meanwhile, Mercedes are expected to continue with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell until at least the end of the 2023 season.

The only change could come if Hamilton decides to retire from F1, but that seems unlikely.

Vettel’s replacement one of the big questions

Further back, and following Vettel’s announcement, things start to get interesting – with several possible changes depending on how the talks unfold.

RacingNews365.com understands that Aston Martin’s two clear options to partner Lance Stroll are Haas driver Mick Schumacher and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Vettel is a friend of Schumacher and has personally backed him as a “great driver” who “keeps learning”, with his recent surge in form to back it up.

As for Ricciardo, he has struggled to match Lando Norris in his time at McLaren to date, and a clean break could suit both parties.

However, the Australian made it clear during his media duties ahead of the weekend in Hungary that his “future is clear” and that he belongs with McLaren.

© XPB Images

Potential debuts for Piastri and de Vries

Ricciardo’s links to Aston Martin lead to another developing situation involving Alpine-backed Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri.

RacingNews365.com understands Piastri was initially offered a seat at Williams from this year’s British Grand Prix as a replacement for Nicholas Latifi.

This agreement would have continued until the 2023 season, allowing him to gain experience in F1 before a return to Alpine in the future.

However, it is understood McLaren subsequently showed an interest in Piastri as a possible replacement for compatriot Ricciardo – with a preliminary deal reportedly in place.

Piastri is already pictured at McLaren, having joined their group of ‘on standby’ drivers earlier in the season.

This would make a Ricciardo/Aston Martin tie-up more plausible, also given his ties to the marque when they sponsored Red Bull.

As such, Williams could now call on the services of Mercedes-backed Nyck de Vries, an F2 and Formula E champion who has impressed both teams with his FP1 outings this season.

What about the rest of the F1 grid?

Elsewhere, Alpine are set to continue with Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso – an extension for the Spaniard is imminent.

AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo also look well placed, with Pierre Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda (backed by Honda), Valtteri Bottas and rookie Guanyu Zhou all set to continue.

Amid Aston Martin speculation and after a year-long round of renewals at Mercedes, Bottas joked: “I never thought I could say this, but I have a contract!”

At Haas, the situation depends on what happens with Schumacher. If he stays, it would be another season alongside Kevin Magnussen, but if he goes to Aston Martin, fellow Ferrari-backed Antonio Giovinazzi could return with Haas.

By the way, it’s understood that Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi – who replaced the injured Romain Grosjean at the end of the 2020 season – is trying to scrape together a big budget to secure a full-time seat.

If he does, it could lead to further talks between Ferrari and Haas, and the Scuderia could waive its seating requirements in return for a cut in the deal.

Crew Driver 1 Driver 2

Red Bull

Verstappen

Perez

mercedes

hamilton

Russell

Ferrari

Leclerc

sainz

McLaren

Norris

Ricciardo / Piastri

Alpine

Alonso

Ocon

Alpha Tauri

Gasly

Tsunoda

Aston Martin

To stroll

Schumacher/Ricciardo

Alfa Romeo

Botta

Zhou

williams

Albon

De Vries / Latifi

Haas

Magnussen

Schumacher / Giovinazzi / Fittipaldi

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