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Debate | Who will fill the vacant seats for the 2023 Formula 1 season

Debate | Who will fill the vacant seats for the 2023 Formula 1 season

4 August - 10:30 Last update: 10:50
2 Comments

The summer break always comes with the peak of silly season and that's had a whole new meaning in 2022. The driver market is getting really interesting after some messy deals with Alpine, Oscar Piastri and McLaren seemingly being rumoured with every driver. With everything up in the air, our editors at GPblog have tried to predict the grid for 2023. 

Bonne Veenstra - Editor for the Dutch edition

  • Alfa Romeo - Guanyu Zhou
  • AlphaTauri - Liam Lawson
  • Alpine - Daniel Ricciardo 
  • McLaren - Oscar Piastri 
  • Haas - Mick Schuamacher 
  • Williams - Nyck de Vries 

Alfa Romeo would like to put in their own junior, Theo Pourchaire, in the car, but 2023 is still too early for him. Zhou's not great, but not bad, and earns a second year with the team. Tsunoda improved in 2022, but his performance is not good enough yet. In my view, Lawson is the best candidate for the AlphaTauri seat, despite being only eighth in Formula 2 at the moment. 

Ricciardo is out of place at McLaren and performed well during his time with the Enstone team. A logical step is to swap him with Oscar Piastri who is a young, talented driver and a good student. McLaren will do everything it can to steal the Australian from Alpine. Schumi shows that he can do it, but is still not in the flow. An extra year at Haas with Magnussen as a teacher will do him and Haas good. De Vries has no racing experience in F1, but he has worked closely with Mercedes for many years. This, coupled with Alexander Albon, who knows how Red Bull Racing runs things, could see Williams back on the grid.

Vicente Soella - Editor for the Brazilian edition

  • Alfa Romeo - Guanyu Zhou
  • AlphaTauri - Yuki Tsunoda 
  • Alpine - Daniel Ricciardo
  • McLaren - Oscar Piastri
  • Haas - Mick Schumacher
  • Williams - Nyck de Vries 

Alfa Romeo will keep Zhou alongside Bottas. The Chinese driver is 41 points behind his teammate in the standings, but at the moment I don't see the team replacing him for any other driver. Red Bull currently has other good junior drivers in F2, but I think they will keep Tsunoda for the next year. I am not sure about that, but I think the partnership with Honda will play an important hole here. The factory probably wants to keep a Japenese driver in F1.

Things are really crazy out there with Alpine. But I am starting to see Ricciardo driving for them next season. Probably a switch between Alpine and McLaren involving Ricciardo and Piastri, the latter probably has some kind of agreement with McLaren already. Anything can happen, this is a tricky one. Mick Schumacher will have to convince the team through the second part of the season, because Sargeant is knocking at their door. An American team with an american driver, and Libertia Media would like to see that too. But, if Mick performs well, I don't see him losing his seat.

Latifi’s money is very important for Williams, but I really don't think it will be enough to keep him at the team for the next season. The Canadian has been driving badly. De Vries probably could take Latifi’s seat at the team, although he's a little bit older to debut in F1 (will be 28 in 2023), but I think he’ll have his opportunity now.

Rishi Wig - Editor for the International Edition

  • Alfa Romeo - Theo Pourchaire 
  • AlphaTauri - Jehan Daruvala 
  • Alpine - Oscar Piastri 
  • McLaren - Daniel Ricciardo
  • Haas - Mick Schumacher
  • Williams - Logan Sargeant 

Sauber backed wonderkid, Theo Pourchaire, who is now showing his mettle in F2. If he continues on this positive trajectory, he will be a more favourable option, even is Zhou is reliable. Yuki Tsunoda seems to be continuously rubbing Red Bull management the wrong way, with Franz Tost doing all he can to protect the young driver. I expect Red Bull to pull the trigger and bring in F1’s third ever Indian driver.

At Alpine, I think the contract situation is more complex than we all expected. It will be hard to push for McLaren, as Ricciardo remains a domino for that seat. Alpine don’t want to pass up on their star talent and Piastri wants a seat. Relationships will need to be mended however. Mick Schumacher is a stable performer, starting to slowly show his worth in F1. Still learning and gaining guidance while not being a negative influence, he will likely stay. The Williams seat may drag out till the end of the season, but if Sargeant continues his consistent performance and claims third or higher in F2, Williams simply must bring in F1’s next American driver.

Andrea Bassini - Editor for the Italian edition

  • Alfa Romeo - Guanyu Zhou
  • AlphaTauri - Liam Lawson 
  • Alpine - Daniel Ricciardo 
  • McLaren - Oscar Piastri 
  • Haas - Antonio Giovinazzi 
  • Williams - Nyck de Vries

Zhou, The chinese driver is the safe choice in the troubled market we are witnessing Lawson, the 3rd driver is gonna make his debut in Spa FP1 and it wouldn't be weird seeing him replacing Tsunoda. I think Piastri is eventually going to McLaren, where Ricciardo's place is on the edge and Ricciardo will return to Alpine. Giovinazzi, the actual 3rd man at Ferrari was rumoured some weeks ago and it could be a great second chance for him in F1. De Vries, the Mercedes driver is one of the most desirable man on the market and it could be Williams to be able to get him.

Nicole Mulder - Editor for the Dutch Edition

  • Alfa Romeo - Guanyu Zhou 
  • AlphaTauri - Yuki Tsunoda 
  • Alpine - Daniel Ricciardo 
  • McLaren - Oscar Piastri 
  • Haas - Mick Schumacher 
  • Williams - Logan Sargeant

I think Guanyu Zhou will keep his seat at Alfa Romeo. By scoring points and delivering consistent results I think he's proven himself as much as you can expect from a rookie. Despite his inconsistency this year, I expect Yuki Tsunoda to get another chance at AlphaTauri, especially since the news that Honda will remain a partner to Red Bull Racing as well as its sister team

As for Alpine, it seems they've shot themselves in the foot with Oscar Piastri. Therefore, I don't think we'll see the young driver there but instead we may see Daniel Ricciardo come to Alpine, with Piastri taking his fellow countryman's place at McLaren. Mick Schumacher should reportedly fear for his seat at Haas, but I don’t think that will be the case. Haas have repeatedly expressed their continuous support of their driver, add to that their close ties to Ferrari and it seems unlikely the young German will be without a seat for the 2023 season. With Nicholas Latifi likely leaving Williams, I expect him to be replaced with Logan Sargeant. Nyck de Vries is also an option, but as Sargeant is part of their own driver programme I expect it to be him.

Matt Gretton - Editor-in-chief for the International Editions

  • Alfa Romeo - Guanyu Zhou
  • AlphaTauri - Yuki Tsunoda 
  • Alpine - Daniel Ricciardo
  • McLaren - Oscar Piastri
  • Haas - Mick Schumacher
  • Williams - Nyck de Vries 

Guanyu Zhou had a quiet start to his career at Alfa Romeo, but he's starting to find his feet and become more comfortable. I think he deserves a second season alongside the experianced Valtteri Bottas who is providing many lessons. The Red Bull junior set-up is at its weakest point in history. And whilst I don't see Yuki Tsunoda ever progressing into the main team, I think he'll keep hold of the seat by default. The Honda deal works in his favour as well. 

Forgetting about the messy situation, I think Daniel Ricciardo wants a change from McLaren. He loves Formula 1, but I think he's going to want to rediscover this by moving back to Alpine. A straight swap for the Australian drivers would make sense, and probably orchastrated by Mark Webber. Mick Schumacher will get another year added to his contract in my opinion, but results must improve in 2023 otherwise he will be overlooked. Nyck de Vries seems like the logical choice for Williams.

Rafael Diaz Lehmann - Editor for the English Edition

  • Alfa Romeo - Zhou Guanyu
  • AlphaTauri - Yuki Tsunoda
  • Alpine - Daniel Ricciardo 
  • McLaren - Oscar Piastri
  • Haas - Mick Schumacher 
  • Williams - Logan Sargeant 

While the drivers at Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, and Haas seem to remain static, it's the available seats at Alpine, McLaren, and Williams that seem to be where the silly season will take most effect.

It’s pretty obvious that Piastri will be on the grid for the 2023 Formula 1 season. Whether that’s for Alpine, Williams, or McLaren is yet to be seen.
Ricciardo has expressed intention to continue with McLaren for next season, but the fact that the team hasn’t announced his extension is a sign that something’s brewing behind the scenes. With seats open at Alpine and Williams, it would be surprising to see him out of the sport next year.
While Albon has been signed on to continue with the Grove-based team, there’s still the matter of the second seat to be filled. Luckily, Williams have an Academy driver in the waiting with Logan Sargeant. With a strong rookie campaign in F2 this season seeing the Floridian pick up wins and podiums, could the man placed third in the standings become the first American driver in F1 since Alexander Rossi?


Let us know in the comments who you believe will take the seats!  

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