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F1 2023

The F1 reserve and back-up drivers for 2023

F1 teams are sometimes required to call on the services of a reserve driver. Here's who has been confirmed for the 2023 season, with some spots still vacant.

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To news overview © XPBimages

There are times when Formula 1 teams will be unable to call upon their usual Grand Prix drivers and must find a replacement.

It can happen for a variety of reasons such as injury, suspension, or in more recent times, a positive COVID-19 test.

In 2022, two reserve drivers were called into action as Nico Hulkenberg took over the Aston Martin for the season-opening Bahrain and Saudi Arabian Grands Prix as Sebastian Vettel was affected by COVID.

In Italy, Alex Albon of Williams was replaced after Friday practice having suffered appendicitis, with Nyck de Vries being drafted in.

De Vries was officially the Mercedes reserve, and had driven the Aston Martin on the Friday, but as per an agreement between the Mercedes-powered teams, headed down to Williams - shining in qualifying and banking two points for ninth place on race day.

There has been a shuffling of the pack for 2023, as some reserves step up to race drives, some race drivers become reserves, and others swap teams altogether.

Reserve and Development Drivers 2023

Team Reserve Driver(s) Development/Junior Driver
Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo ('third' driver) Liam Lawson ('reserve' driver)
Ferrari Antonio Giovinazzi Robert Shwartzman
Mercedes Mick Schumacher Frederik Vesti
Alpine Jack Doohan N/A
McLaren Alex Palou/Mick Schumacher N/A
Alfa Romeo Theo Pourchaire N/A
Aston Martin Stoffel Vandoorne Felipe Drugovich
Haas Pietro Fittipaldi N/A
AlphaTauri N/A N/A
Williams N/A N/A

The Big Three shuffle drivers

At World Champions Red Bull, former driver Daniel Ricciardo returns as third and reserve driver after leaving in 2018 for Renault.

Those spells at Renault and McLaren were relatively unsuccessful for Ricciardo, and following a poor 2022 season, he will be given the chance to reset ahead of a potential return in '24.

In the meantime, he is due to attend a number of Grands Prix, and complete simulator and marketing work while shadowing Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Antonio Giovinazzi is the current Ferrari reserve, with the Scuderia having cut ties with Mick Schumacher at the end of the season. Robert Shwartzman will take up FP1 young driver duties as Giovinazzi has more than two Grand Prix starts.

At Mercedes, Schumacher joins to work alongside Lewis Hamilton and George Russell having departed from Haas after a two-year spell.

He is set to attend every race and help develop the W14 as Mercedes look to regain their championship crowns.

			© Mercedes
	© Mercedes

Alpine, McLaren, Aston Martin and Alfa

Oscar Piastri was the designated reserve at Alpine in 2022, and they had planned to promote him following Fernando Alonso's departure, but as RacingNews365.com exclusively revealed, multiple failures drove him to McLaren to sign a contract.

Piastri was replaced by Jack Doohan as 'next in line' but the Australian has not been officially confirmed as the Alpine reserve for 2023, with the focus on him securing the F2 crown.

McLaren will be drawing on the services of Alex Palou - the 2021 IndyCar champion - as their reserve driver.

Palou will be at races which do not clash with his IndyCar commitments with Ganassi. His fellow INdyCar driver Pato O'Ward may also have opportunities to impress in 2023.

Former McLaren racer Stoffel Vandoorne takes up residency at Aston Martin alongside fellow GP2/F2 champion Felipe Drugovich, having departed Mercedes while also defending his Formula E world title.

Meanwhile, at Alfa Romeo, Theo Pourchaire is likely to continue, but incoming group CEO Andreas Seidl could look to have input of Alfa Romeo's driver roster.

			© McLaren
	© McLaren

Haas, AlphaTauri and Williams

Pietro Fittipaldi is the long-time Haas reserve driver, having filled in for Romain Grosjean following his fiery accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix in the last two races.

It is unclear whether Fittipaldi will continue on in the role, with it being dependent on his full-time racing plans.

As for AlphaTauri and Williams, they have not yet officially confirmed any plans for their reserve runners - although there are some clues.

AlphaTauri is likely to take a Red Bull driver, with Liam Lawson the most logical candidate. However, he is spending 2023 planning an assault on Super Formula in Japan.

As is often the case with the Red Bull academy team, any young driver free practice outings are likely to depend on which driver has stolen a march in the junior racing categories. The likes of Formula 3 hotshots Zane Maloney and Isack Hadjar are part of the growing roster.

Williams are likely to continue a partnership with engine-supplier Mercedes - the same one that brought them the services of De Vries at Monza, meaning Schumacher could be called up if he is not required to replace Hamilton or Russell.

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