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Formula 1

From Alonso to Vettel: How much time does each F1 driver have left on their contract?

The coming season will bring drama for Formula 1 drivers not only on but also off the track as a number of seats go up for grabs at the end of 2021, with everyone from the experienced Valtteri Bottas to rookie Yuki Tsunoda out to impress for a new contract. Here is an overview of how all F1 drivers’ contracts stand going into the 2021 season.

Verstappen Horner
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

While team bosses weigh a wide variety of factors when deciding to give a driver a contract, one of the most important is confidence. Given the scarcity of F1 seats, granting a driver a longer deal, such as the five-year contract of Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, demonstrates the depth of investment in a given driver.

Meanwhile the more experienced but under-pressure Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes was given just a one-year extension by the German team at the end of last season, a short window in which to prove his value against a competitive pool of up-and-comers.

However, the teams don’t hold all the cards in this game, and highly marketable drivers such as Max Verstappen at Red Bull are able to have more of a say in the length of their deals, while veteran Kimi Raikkonen opted to sign for a one-year extension at Alfa Romeo last year as his run at the top rolls on.

Of course, as contracts wind down and the build up to the next season begins the urgency for both sides to set themselves up for the future only heightens- for which we only have to look at the current furore surrounding Sir Lewis Hamilton’s employment status as the most recent example.

With three rookies and three drivers in different teams than they were last year, in addition to the return of one former world champion, RacingNews365.com breaks down the current status of all F1 driver contracts.

Mercedes: Valtteri Bottas

Leaving to one side the current world champion Hamilton, who is still yet to sign a new deal for 2021, Finnish driver Bottas has been with Mercedes since 2017 but was given just a one-year extension on his contract at the end of last season.

The 30 year old has it all to do to prove to Toto Wolff and co that he deserves the second seat with the Silver Arrows.

Red Bull: Max Verstappen & Sergio Perez

Despite speculation that Dutchman Verstappen would potentially look to end his association with Red Bull in favour of a move to Mercedes, the 25 year old signed a deal with the Austrian team until the end of 2023 and so will be going nowhere until the earliest 2024, outrageous offers notwithstanding.

Meanwhile Sergio Perez, who was signed on a one-year contract to replace Alex Albon at the end of 2020, appears to be a stop-gap signing for Red Bull, with the Mexican hinting before he signed a deal this year that he already had offers for the 2022 season.

McLaren: Daniel Ricciardo & Lando Norris

McLaren surprised everyone with the announcement they had signed Daniel Ricciardo after the Australian spent just two seasons with Renault, with the British team expressing their confidence in a new team leader with a two year contract.

Ricciardo’s young teammate Lando Norris had a one year contract for his debut 2019 season with McLaren, and following a series of solid performances which saw the Brit adapt seamlessly to F1 that deal was extended until the end of 2022, meaning both McLaren drivers are scheduled to come out of contract simultaneously.

Aston Martin: Sebastian Vettel & Lance Stroll

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel endured a torrid 2020 season with Ferrari, compounded by the fact that his time with the team came to an abrupt end before the year had even started.

Over at what was then Racing Point and now Aston Martin, team owner Lawrence Stroll spied an opportunity and duly signed the German up as the lead driver for the British marque’s F1 revival, replacing Sergio Perez on a three-year contract until the end of 2023.

Vettel will line up alongside Lance Stroll, who has been confirmed in his seat for 2021 and is seen as unlikely to be replaced while his father remains team owner.

Alpine: Fernando Alonso & Esteban Ocon

Fernando Alonso returns to F1 in 2021 to his old stomping ground with a new name, with the 39 year old signing a two-year contract to replace Daniel Ricciardo until the end of 2022.

The former world champion’s team mate Eseteban Ocon has more to prove this season, with 2021 his final year contracted to the French team.

Ferrari: Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz

Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc is set to be the lead Ferrari driver for the foreseeable future after he inked a contract extension with the Scuderia until 2024.

Carlos Sainz replaces the departing Sebastian Vettel alongside Leclerc after he joined on a two year deal from McLaren.

Alpha Tauri: Pierre Gasly & Yuki Tsunoda

Pierre Gasly shocked everyone with a series of strong performances on his return to Alpha Tauri for 2020, with his win at Monza only the second in the team’s history. However, the Frenchman’s contract only runs until the end of 2021 after signing an extension in October last year.

In the Italian team’s other car, Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda has one year to prove his metal at the top level of open wheel racing, following a competitive final season in Formula 2.

Alfa Romeo: Kimi Raikkonen & Antonio Giovinazzi

At 41 years old, Kimi Raikkonen is the most experienced driver on the grid, and the Finn opted to sign up for another one year deal with Alfa Romeo which extends his run in F1 to 17 seasons.

Meanwhile his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi is in a different position, having expressed disappointment at not being considered for the second Ferrari seat as one of the Scuderia’s junior drivers, and after a nondescript 2020 the Italian has just one year to market himself after being granted an extension for this year.

Haas: Mick Schumacher & Nikita Mazpein

Haas waved farewell to its long-serving driver pairing of Romain Grosjean & Kevin Magnussen at the end of 2020, replacing the duo with two rookies from Formula 2 in Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

While the departing drivers publicly pointed to financial motives for the move, Haas has gained young prospects who both bring commercial value to the American team. The exact details of the pair's contracts have not been made publicly available, but are understood to be multi-year deals.

Williams: George Russell & Nicholas Latifi

George Russell got his first taste of F1’s sharp edge when he agonisingly missed out on a clear shot at victory at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix through no fault of his own, in a pulsating cameo for Mercedes while replacing the ill Lewis Hamilton.

However, the young Brit has just one year left on his Williams’ contract, and while his next step remains unclear, rumours abound about him joining Mercedes for real at some point with both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ situations unclear after this season.

Canadian Nicholas Latifi has one more year left on his current deal, but it's expected the driver will be able to negotiate a new contract given the financial backing that he brings with him.


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