F1 2023 Driver Lineup: Which seats remain after Alonso’s announcement?

Fernando Alonso - F1 2023 Driver Lineup
Spread the love

The summer break and silly season kicked off with a bang as Alonso’s switch to Aston Martin stirs up the F1 2023 driver lineup.

When a multi-time World Champion announces their plans for the following season that will make the headlines. When two of them do in short order and involve the same team, well, welcome to the silly season. The F1 2023 driver market was thrown into high alert around the Hungarian Grand Prix. Let’s break down the news, what we know so far, and what remains open.

Two Big Changes Shake Up The Driver Lineup

First, on Thursday, four-time F1 Champion Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement at the end of the season. The messages of thanks and appreciation rolled in. Then came the speculation of who might fill his seat. It didn’t take long as two-time champ Fernando Alonso made the shock announcement he was leaving Alpine to join Aston Martin. With those two big moves confirmed where does that leave the rest of the grid?

F1 2023 – Which seats are still open?

Alfa Romeo: Valtteri Bottas & Open.

Bottas signed a multi-year deal when he moved from Mercedes, while Zhou Guanyu is on a one-year deal. Zhou has impressed, even if the car has faltered lately. It’ll come down to his year of experience and financial backing in China versus the team’s interest in potential F2 Champion Theo Pourchaire. A possible workaround would be making Pourchaire the 2023 reserve driver (in place of Robert Kubica), similar to what Alpine has done this season.

AlphaTauri: Pierre Gasly & Open.

While Tuki Tsunoda has yet to be confirmed for next season, Red Bull seems committed to him for another year, and there is the team’s engine agreement with Honda to consider. It’s unlikely but possible, that they decide to opt for one of their F2 drivers if Tsunoda struggles in the coming races. The other potential is that if Porsche buys into Red Bull and wants a say in the driver lineup, well the first team is locked in, so Yuki’s seat is the only place they could use that influence.

Alpine: Esteban Ocon & Open.

It was surprising to see Alonso’s departure, but in theory, this works out well for Alpine. This now frees up a spot for F2 Champion and current reserve driver Oscar Piastri. Alpine announced Piastri would be joining the team in 2023. And then…Piastri said that wasn’t true.

Aston Martin: Fernando Alonso & Lance Stroll.

They have taken the driver drama title from McLaren this month. Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix. His spot was immediately filled by Alonso following a Monday morning news release. A multi-year year, plus Stroll’s presumed safe roll in the team, locks this duo in for 2023 and probably 2024.

Ferrari: Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz.

Both of the Ferrari drivers are locked in through the 2024 season.

Haas: Kevin Magnussen & Open.

Magnussen’s return came with a two-year deal, a deal that will help Haas in the development of this new car. Since the last update, Mick Schumacher has landed his first F1 points. Given his Ferrari backing, name recognition, and the uncertain available driver market Mick remains the favorite for Haas in 2023. If somehow a Daniel Ricciardo or Alex Albon became available I think they would entertain a switch.

McLaren: Lando Norris & Daniel Ricciardo.

Norris has a contract through 2025 and we’ve discussed the overall McLaren drama recently. “McLaren: Analyzing the F1, IndyCar, and Formula E seats for 2023” While there is interest in IndyCar’s Pato O’Ward or Colton Herta, and Alpine’s Oscar Piastri, Daniel remains the favorite for 2023 before a switch in 2024. Or does Piastri’s comments refuting Alpine’s announcement mean he actually is heading to McLaren?

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton & George Russell.

Russell signed a long-term deal before the start of this season. And while Hamilton’s return was speculation in the winter, he agreed to a two-year contract. That locks in this duo through the end of 2023.

Red Bull: Max Verstappen & Sergio Perez.

Verstappen signed perhaps the longest F1 contract, locking him in with Red Bull through 2028. Perez ahead of his win in Monaco agreed to an extension for 2023 & 2024.

Williams: Both seats remain open.

Alex Albon joined on a one-year deal, has impressed, and is highly rated by Jost Capito. The only way Williams doesn’t retain Albon is if another team offers him a better deal. Nicholas Latifi is most likely out, with Mercedes’ reserve driver & current Formula E champion Nyck de Vries and rising F2 star Logan Sargent as the lead contenders at the moment. Unless someone like Ricciardo, Schumacher, or Tsunoda becomes available, or they are the mystery Piastri team.

Embed from Getty Images

Featured Image Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

READ NEXT: F2 – 5 Takeaways from Hungary