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F1 Silly Season | The Piastri-soap and four more uncertainties for 2023

F1 Silly Season | The Piastri-soap and four more uncertainties for 2023

16 August - 10:33
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GPblog.com

During the summer break, it is always time for the Silly Season. Fernando Alonso has (not for the first time) caused a lot of confusion. GPblog lists what you can still expect from the transfer market in Formula 1.

The confirmed F1 seats

Many seats have already been confirmed for the 2023 Formula One season. The top three teams have already announced their drivers for next year. Apart from Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and Mercedes, no other team has yet officially completed a full line-up. Alpine hoped for Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, saw Alonso leave for Aston Martin and were then told that the replacement who was ready (Oscar Piastri) has signed a contract elsewhere (allegedly at McLaren).

Also at McLaren there seemed to be nothing wrong. Lando Norris has a contract until 2025 with the team from Woking and Daniel Ricciardo has a contract for 2023 as well. Still, there are rumours about the Australian and now that Piastri seems to have a contract at McLaren, there is a big chance that McLaren and Ricciardo will say goodbye after 2022, but more about that later.

Aston Martin is the last team to have a line-up for 2023. The British team wanted to keep Sebastian Vettel, but saw the four-time world champion announce his retirement. In the meantime, the team shifted gears and brought in Fernando Alonso as a new figurehead. It has not yet been made official, but it seems certain that Lance Stroll, the son of the owner, will have a place in the team.

The Piastri saga

The most interesting soap opera is still going on around Alpine and McLaren. From a position of luxury, the French racing team has allowed itself to be surprised. Ocon is under contract until 2024, but Alpine played with the second seat. It was assumed that Alonso would sign on, but on the day of his deadline he announced his switch to Aston Martin.

Alpine was surprised and hastily announced Piastri's F1 debut. However, the Australian had taken a different route into account. With Alonso at Alpine, Piastri might get a seat at Williams. When McLaren knocked on his door he knew enough and supposedly signed with them. The FIA now has to decide which contract counts, but Piastri will have had a good look at the contract when making such a move. That Alpine is already talking about possible replacements probably says enough.

If McLaren has Piastri and Norris for 2023, that team is also full. Alpine will have to look for a teammate for Ocon. Ricciardo is thus released, but the question is whether the two still want to work together after Ricciardo left the team for the rival.

GPblog has previously published a list of the other contenders for Alpine. Pierre Gasly is perhaps the best, but he is tied up with Red Bull. Other options are Theo Pourchaire, Nico Hulkenberg, Guanyu Zhou, Felipe Drugovich and Mick Schumacher. All much lesser options than Alpine had thought of beforehand.

Four more spots to be allocated in Formula 1

That basically leaves four other spots to be allocated in F1 and probably the same list of names can be put down for that. Valtteri Bottas already has a contract with Alfa Romeo for next season, but the same cannot be said for Guanyu Zhou. The Chinese driver is enjoying a solid debut season but is under pressure from Sauber junior Theo Pourchaire. Mick Schumacher is also linked to Alfa again.

Number seven on the rankings Haas already has the frontrunner for 2023 with Kevin Magnussen, but who sits next to him? Mick Schumacher scored his first points for the team, but seems unsure of his place. Ricciardo would be very interesting to Guenther Steiner, but does Ricciardo want to make that step?

AlphaTauri have signed Pierre Gasly as their only driver for 2023, but there are doubts over the second seat. Yuki Tsunoda's performance in 2022 is better than last season, but it is not yet good enough. The problem, however, is that Red Bull's talents in F2 are disappointing. Liam Lawson and Juri Vips were favourites to take over the Japanese driver's seat prior to this season, but both have failed to deliver. It is therefore likely that Tsunoda will get another year.

Williams is the last team on the grid, but because of its historic name it is always an interesting team to watch. Alexander Albon has extended his contract with the team, so it's a case of looking at the second seat. Nicholas Latifi seems almost certain to lose it, with Logan Sargeant a possible successor. With his American nationality, F1 will be very happy if Williams brings him in and Sargeant, as number three in the F2 championship, is also doing just fine as a Williams junior. Nyck de Vries was also previously linked to the team, but his future seems to lie in Formula E and the WEC.

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