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2023 F1 driver line-ups: latest news and rumours for next season – Motor Sport

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Rumours surround Daniel Ricciardo’s future in F1
Eric Alonso/Getty Images
As Formula 1 approaches the summer break, rumours over the 2023 driver line-up are swirling, with several seats left unfilled, and uncertainty over some drivers who are contracted for next year.
Multiple world champions Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso are yet to confirm their future — and could unlock a major reshuffle of the grid. More than half of the teams still have unfilled seats.
Then there’s the future of Daniel Ricciardo to consider. He insists that he has a contract for 2023, but speculation over his future won’t go away.
There’s a reason they call it silly season, but much of the Formula 1 grid is currently in a state of flux, Here is the latest on drivers confirmed for next year and the spaces remaining.
Click on any team for more details or scroll down for full commentary
 
It has been a much improved season for Alfa Romeo, which has already scored more points this season than it did for all of 2021.
Valtteri Bottas has taken on a leadership role since joining from Mercedes and will remain with the team for at two more years.
Alongside him is rookie Zhou Guanyu, who initially signed for the team on a one-year contract but has put in some impressive performances, making him an increasingly likely prospect for next year.
The young Chinese driver has shown signs of promise this season, a top-10 finish on his debut and eighth in Canada being the standout races, and also developed a very good partnership with Bottas.
“[He is a] very great team-mate and it’s so nice,” Zhou said on the Beyond the Grid podcast. “Valtteri is great because with all his experience, he was able to not just answer all the questions I have, he was even asking me like ‘how do you feel? Do you have something you want to know even more about?’”
If he keeps on impressing, Zhou could well be driving to be driving for Alfa Romeo in 2023.
 
Red Bull made its choice early this season and extended Sergio Perez’s contract, which leaves Pierre Gasly with little likely hope of a return to the team.
It was recently confirmed that he will have another year racing for AlphaTauri in 2023. Nobody would be surprised to see him leave the following year, however, with suggestions that he could move to McLaren or Alpine.
For next season, it is likely that he will line up alongside Tsunoda for a third year. The Japanese driver has shown improvement in 2022 and matched Gasly at various points.
He can also be reassured by the lack of alternative options from the Red Bull Academy.
 
It’s already confirmed that Esteban Ocon will be driving for Alpine next season, with his current deal taking him to 2024.
But Fernando Alonso’s future is less secure and he’s one of the big names that could shape this year’s driver market.
Could he make a surprise return to McLaren and replace the struggling Daniel Ricciardo, or make a bid for Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin seat?
The double world champion says that he wants to continue racing and his performance doesn’t appear to have waned. He qualified on the front row in Canada, although his pace hasn’t been matched by race results.
Alpine is due to discuss a contract extension, and there’s a strong chance that Alonso will stay for 2023, forcing wunderkind reserve driver Oscar Piastri to look elsewhere.
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer is adamant Piastri will be on next season’s F1 grid, but hasn’t specified where.
The current Formula 2 champion has been heavily linked with Williams, Aston Martin and also McLaren – the Australian is a reserve driver for the latter.
After a season of struggles for Aston Martin, Sebastian Vettel’s future has seemed in doubt, but, ahead of the French Grand Prix, the four-time champion hinted that he wasn’t ready to hang up his gloves yet.
“There’s a clear intention to keep going,” he said in a pre-race press conference. With which team, however, is the bigger question and Vettel didn’t dismiss the possibility of a move to McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo.
Should Vettel switch teams or retire, the Aston seat will be much-coveted, despite the team’s poor performance this year. Fernando Alonso may see it as an option, while it could prove a berth for Oscar Piastri. Mick Schumacher’s improved performances could see him in the running too.
There’s no doubt about the other seat: Lance Stroll will continue racing for his father’s team.
 
Ferrari has its driver pairing tied down for years to come, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz forming an impressive partnership.
Leclerc has shown championship credentials since signing for Ferrari, while Sainz has had more mixed fortunes – having driven extremely well in 2021, the Spaniard has struggled with the tricky F1-75 which Ferrari produced for this year.
Last season’s performances earned Sainz a three-year extension and the Scuderia is now focused on one goal: winning the Formula 1 world championship.
 
Haas had quite a dramatic start to 2022 by releasing Nikita Mazepin while giving Kevin Magnussen a return to F1 after a season out.
Magnussen was awarded a multi-year deal to partner Mick Schumacher who had an impressive rookie season by out-qualifying his team-mate at all but two races.
However this year started difficultly for the German, who at one stage had no points compared to Magnussen’s 15.
Come the British GP though, Schumacher began his turnaround, finishing eighth after battling with Max Verstappen, before scoring a sixth the week after in Austria. That improvement makes his chances of remaining with Haas more likely, and also opens up the prospect of a move: Williams and Aston Martin are both in the frame.
 
McLaren’s 2023 driver line-up is confirmed, but it isn’t really. Daniel Ricciardo has struggled with the car since joining the team and it seems unlikely that the situation can continue into a third season.
Ricciardo has said that he’s committed to the team and won’t walk away, but McLaren boss Zak Brown has said that there are “mechanisms” in the contract, implying that there are ways out of the deal. Behind closed doors, negotiations are likely to be underway
Ricciardo’s woes are in contrast to the stellar form of Lando Norris, who signed a sizeable contract extension to 2025 before the season, underlining McLaren’s faith in him — and its fear that another team might poach him.
 
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will be driving for Mercedes in 2023 with both of them under contract.
Hamilton’s current deal expires at the end of next year while Russell, who joined for this season, is on a long-term contract.
Its main focus is trying to get back to the top for 2023, with its hopes of defending the constructors’ title rapidly diminishing.
The team has struggled with porpoising issues, though the problem seems to have lessened at certain circuits as the season progresses.
Hamilton and Russell are working with the team to fight their way back to the front with both fully committed to Mercedes.
However, considering Hamilton’s age – 37 – he may have some thinking to do about his future in F1 at the end of 2023.
 
Max Verstappen was given quite the reward following his maiden world championship – a five-year extension, reported to be worth $55 million a year and level with Lewis Hamilton’s contract.
By the end of the current deal, Verstappen will be 30-years-old but there is potential to go far beyond that for the brilliant Dutchman.
“You heard on my radio on the in lap [just after winning the title], asking if I could stay for another 10/15 years,” Verstappen said at the FIA prize giving gala.
“I am very happy where I am and I can be myself, and that I think is also really important. It’s not only about just purely F1: we can have fun, we can have a good laugh. It’s not only about performance, also you need to enjoy what you’re doing.”
Alongside him for at least two more years will be Sergio Perez, with Red Bull now settling for a stable driver pairing.
The news of Perez’s contract extension came just two days after his win in Monaco and it will take him to the end of 2024.
“I am so proud to be a member of this team and I feel completely at home here now,” said Perez. “We are working very well together and my relationship with Max, on and off the track, is definitely helping drive us forward even more.”
His extension looks to close the door to Pierre Gasly once and for all.
 
Williams has a decision to make regarding Nicholas Latifi whose contract expires at the end of this season.
The Canadian has struggled with this new era of F1 car and is yet to score a point, while Albon has finished inside the top 10 on a couple of occasions.
The funding that came with Latifi was crucial in previous seasons, but now the team is under private equity ownership, it has said that it is no longer reliant on pay drivers. This doesn’t bode well for Latifi’s future.
Oscar Piastri has been heavily linked with a move to the British outfit for 2023 and it is likely that he or Latifi will be partnering Albon next season who has been highly impressive since joining for this year.
The Thai driver isn’t yet under contract for 2023 but ,should Albon continue the way he is going, it appears only a matter of time before an extension is put in place.
Ferrari F300 chassis No187, in which Michael Schumacher won the four 1998 F1 races he entered it with, is going up for auction
Paddy Hopkirk, who famously won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally at the wheel of a Mini Cooper, has passed away
Several F1 teams tested upgrades in Friday practice for the 2022 French Grand Prix, but it was the same names at the front with Ferrari going fastest in both sessions following a close fight with Max Verstappen
As Mercedes brings another upgrade package to Paul Ricard, George Russell says that the team finally understands the car and he’s confident of fighting Ferrari and Red Bull for victories soon this season
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