With more than half a year to go until the start of the 2023 Formula 1 season, there are still six seats to be filled after Fernando Alonso's announcement at Aston Martin, with the most coveted cockpit 'open' at Alpine.
'Open' is in inverted commas here, because the fact that Oscar Piastri will be there is an open secret after Alonso's departure.
The retirement of Sebastian Vettel from Formula 1 sparked the seat race, but just as quickly as the market was thrown open, Aston Martin closed it again by confirming Alonso. Suddenly, much more becomes clear.
Nyck de Vries' chances of finding an F1 seat seem to have been dashed. He was mentioned as a candidate at Aston Martin, but that vacancy was only open for four days.
Realistically, there is nowhere else he can go. Maybe Williams? Nicholas Latifi's position there seems to be under threat, but on the other hand his sponsorship dollars would still be welcome there.
The list of potential names at the iconic team is very long anyway. Alex Albon is performing well and they will probably want to keep him.
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Will the driver market explode one last time?
Elsewhere, AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda is starting to make some mistakes again after a good start to the season.
Should Red Bull decide not to continue with the Japanese driver, there may be a promotion opportunity for Albon, although there are plenty of Red Bull juniors in the Formula 2 ranks ready to make the switch too.
Another key driver is Mick Schumacher. He has suddenly started to perform at Haas F1, making it seem more obvious that the American outfit will want to hold on to him. Much, however, depends on what Ferrari wants with him.
If it is judged that Schumacher is a good fit there, he will stay. The 'higher-up' opportunity lies on paper at Alfa Romeo, but in fact Zhou Guanyu is doing everything expected from a rookie there. A contract extension seems obvious.
In the overview below, all confirmed drivers are listed per team. Alongside the name of Daniel Ricciardo there is an asterisk. He has a contract for 2023, but reportedly both parties can get out of it under certain conditions.
The Australian's performance has not been entirely satisfactory to McLaren, so a vacancy may become available there. That could make the driver market explode once again.
Confirmed 2023 F1 drivers
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||George Russell|
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen||Sergio Perez|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc||Carlos Sainz|
|McLaren||Lando Norris||Daniel Ricciardo*|
|Aston Martin||Fernando Alonso||Lance Stroll|
|Alfa Romeo||Valtteri Bottas||-|
|Haas F1||Kevin Magnussen||-|
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