The 2022 Formula 1 World Championship has easily been one of the most dramatic and exciting in recent memory – high praise after the rollercoaster that was the 2021 season.
The 2023 season hasn’t even started yet and there have already been soap opera-levels of drama surrounding next year’s driver lineup, with shock retirements, defections and signings dominating headlines – especially around reigning Formula 2 World Champion Oscar Piastri and his signing with McLaren.
We’ve put together a list of all the current drivers and their teams to answer who is racing in Formula 1 in 2023.
The 2023 Formula 1 driver line-up
Lando Norris: contract until 2025, seat secure
Daniel Ricciardo: losing seat, replaced by Oscar Piastri, future unclear
Oscar Piastri: “multi-year” deal
Let’s start things off with the team that’s been the focus of the most drama: McLaren. If you haven’t heard by now, Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo had his three-year McLaren contract terminated early, with the eight-time Grand Prix winner being replaced by fellow Aussie and F1 newbie, Oscar Piastri.
McLaren will be paying out Ricciardo upwards of AU$35 million to release him from his contract, and might also have to pay off Alpine, who they controversially poached Piastri from – much to Alpine’s chagrin.
The writing was on the wall for Danny Ric. Despite returning to his race-winning ways in 2021 during his first season with McLaren with a spectacular win at the Italian Grand Prix, ‘The Honey Badger’ struggled to wrap his head around McLaren’s cars, recording highly inconsistent, rather average results – and been comprehensively outperformed by his younger teammate, Britain’s Lando Norris.
In what’s been a rather disappointing turn of events for Ricciardo fans, it looks like he won’t be returning to the grid full-time next year. Instead, it looks like he’ll be taking a reserve driver role with Red Bull, the team he left back in 2018 for Renault. It’s a crying shame that having left Red Bull to avoid being #2 to Max Verstappen, he’s returning as a #3…
In contrast, Lando Norris’ seat at McLaren is secure, with the young gun having signed a contract extension earlier this year in February that will see him be with the team until at least 2025. McLaren has made it obvious that they see Norris, who has only ever raced with McLaren in F1, as the future of the team.
It’ll be interesting to see how the partnership between Norris and Piastri plays out next year. Will Norris rise to the occasion as the senior driver? Or will Piastri show up Norris the same way Norris showed up Ricciardo? Only time will tell…
Max Verstappen: contract until 2028, seat secure
Sergio Pérez: contract until 2024
Red Bull had a dominant 2022, with Max Verstappen securing his second title well before the season ended – although while both drivers are secured past 2023, tensions have flared between Max and Sergio Pérez.
For most of the year, both drivers seemed to be getting along pretty well… But cracks emerged at the São Paulo Grand Prix, where Verstappen ignored team orders telling him to let Pérez pass – apparently retaliation for the Monaco Grand Prix.
The allegation is that Pérez deliberately crashed during the last minutes of qualifying in order to prevent others, including Verstappen, from recording better times. Seems a bit far-fetched, although Checo did end up winning that race… Still, it seems short-sighted from Max, who has seemed to have alienated Pérez, who up until this point has been a very reliable and compliant teammate.
What does this all mean? If Red Bull remains just as competitive in 2023 as they were in 2022 (or even more so), we might see Max and Checo at each other’s throats, à la Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in 2016…
Anyway, to contracts: Verstappen is Red Bull’s golden child and has a mammoth contract until 2028 – the talented Dutchman won’t be going anywhere soon. Pérez, too, signed a 2-year extension with the team just before his win in Monaco, leading the Mexican to joke that he “signed too early”.
As previously mentioned, it looks like Daniel Ricciardo will be joining Red Bull as a reserve driver for 2023, with the Aussie eyeing a return to the grid full-time in 2024. But if the relationship between Max and Checo deteriorates further, could we see Red Bull swap out Pérez in favour of Ricciardo? Only time will tell.
Lewis Hamilton: contract until the end of 2023
George Russell: signed “long-term deal” in 2022, seat secure
Over at Mercedes, things are far less fractious, at least as far as driver pairings go. Both British drivers will be racing in F1 next year, with George Russell – who joined the top team this season after three seasons with backmarker Williams – locked in for years to come, and Lewis Hamilton locked in for next year.
Russell has definitely made his presence felt at Mercedes, with the young Brit securing his maiden pole position and maiden F1 win plus outperforming his seven-time World Champion teammate, who has been somewhat subdued this season after losing the 2021 World Championship to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen under controversial circumstances.
In comparison, Hamilton, who has won a race in every season of F1 he’s competed in (16 straight seasons!) finished 2022 without a win.
That stat has only served to further fuel speculation as to whether Sir Lewis will remain in F1 post-2023 and have another crack at trying to beat Michael Schumacher’s record of seven titles, or whether he’ll leave the sport as the GOAT and pursue one of his myriad other interests.
Charles Leclerc: contract until 2024
Carlos Sainz: contract until 2024
Ah, Ferrari. The storied Italian team started off the 2022 season strong but slowly became eclipsed by Red Bull thanks to a heady combination of car unreliability, driver error and embarrassing strategy mistakes. Still, at least they’ve got a good driver pairing that’s secure past 2023… In theory, at least.
There have been rumours that Charles Leclerc, who signed a 5-year deal with the Scuderia back in 2019, has toyed with the idea of cutting ties with the team. The normally level-headed and diplomatic Monégasque, who was Verstappen’s main title rival for the 2022 season, has been vocally frustrated by his team’s strategic blunders, so it’s not entirely spurious.
Sainz’s place on the team seems less up in the air. The Spanish driver recorded his maiden pole position and F1 win at the British Grand Prix this year; is enjoying a warm partnership with Leclerc and signed a contract extension in April to take him to the end of 2024.
Esteban Ocon: contract until 2024
Fernando Alonso: leaving for Aston Martin
Pierre Gasly: contract until 2024 with an option for 2025
The other team mired in drama this year has been Alpine. Fernando Alonso’s shock defection to Aston Martin took the team by surprise, who completely fumbled the pass with their next choice, Oscar Piastri, who has shunned the team to go to McLaren. Much has been said about this drama so we won’t repeat ourselves. All you need to know is Alpine has completely screwed the pooch.
While initially, it looked like Daniel Ricciardo might be the one to fill Alonso’s seat, in the end, AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly has left the Red Bull family to join Ocon at Alpine, meaning there are now two French drivers at a French team. Very fitting.
This might represent redemption for Gasly after his failure to launch at Red Bull and subsequent years in limbo at AlphaTauri. Alpine’s no Red Bull but they seem increasingly competitive.
Esteban Ocon’s contract has been a far less contentious issue, thankfully. The Frenchman has shown promising performance since joining the team, securing his first F1 win at the Hungarian Grand Prix last year. He signed a three-year extension last year, too, so he’s good until 2024.
It will be interesting to see how the two young Frenchies get along. Ocon and Gasly, who came up in karting together and are both from Normandy, used to be very close but fell out years ago and have been rather frosty since. Ocon, however, seemed to welcome Gasly very graciously to the team when news broke. Can bygones be bygones?
Sebastian Vettel: retired at end of 2022 season
Fernando Alonso: signed on a “multi-year” contract to replace Vettel
Lance Stroll: confirmed as Alonso’s teammate, seat secure
Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel’s shock announcement that he would be retiring at the end of the season after 16 years in the sport has been the catalyst for most of the F1 silly season drama this year. That’s not his fault, though.
What was surprising was the news just days later that two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso would be taking his space. Alonso’s contract with Alpine was always going to end at the end of 2022, but most fans thought Alpine would try and retain him (and it’s subsequently emerged that Alpine thought that’s what was going to happen, too…)
It’s a strange move for Alonso, especially seeing how much momentum Alpine’s had lately and comparatively how little momentum Aston Martin has had. Just Alonso being Alonso we guess. He’s got a multi-year contract with the British team.
Lance Stroll’s seat, on the other hand, is the most secure seat in F1, as his dad owns the team. He’s been confirmed as Alonso’s teammate, which is a nice way of saying he’s got an indefinite contract with Aston. Must be nice. He performed pretty well this season so whatever.
Vettel’s departure has been keenly felt in the F1 world, with the German driver seen off in an emotional fashion at the end of this season. Danke Seb.
Another interesting development for Aston: they’ve signed the 2022 F2 Champion Felipe Drugovich as the first member of their new AMF1 Driver Development Programme, with the young Brazilian also joining Aston Martin’s reserve driver roster. Could he be a future replacement for Stroll?
Valtteri Bottas: contract signed “for 2022 and beyond”, speculated to run until 2024
Zhou Guanyu: contract extended until 2023
Alfa Romeo’s 2022 went pretty well, especially compared to 2021. In particular, former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas absolutely drove the pants off his Alfa Romeo C42 car, clearly relishing the chance to be a team’s lead driver after playing second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton for so long.
F1 rookie Zhou Guanyu had a mixed season. He managed a points finish in his very first F1 race, but also survived a shocking crash at the British Grand Prix which saw him flip his car upside-down, skid across the entire track and gravel trap, and bounce over the safety barrier.
It took Alfa a while but they eventually extended Zhou’s contract by a year, meaning he’s safe for now. He shows promise, so hopefully he has a better 2023 and sticks around longer: the first Chinese driver in F1, he has proven to be a charming and considerate presence on the grid – a far cry from Nikita Mazepin’s antics…
Pierre Gasly: leaving for Alpine
Yuki Tsunoda: contract extended until 2023
Nyck de Vries: “multi-year” contract from 2023 onwards
Red Bull’s junior team has long been considered somewhat of a halfway house for Red Bull’s junior drivers – but that might be changing after 2022.
With Pierre Gasly being lured away by Alpine, Red Bull made the surprising move to sign Nyck de Vries: 2019 F2 Champion, 2021-22 Formula E Champion and part of the Mercedes family.
De Vries, who has long been considered worthy of joining F1, made a big impact this year when he subbed in for Williams’ Alex Albon at the Italian Grand Prix and scored points on his debut. Everyone thought he’d be a shoo-in for a Williams drive after that, but it seems AlphaTauri was a more exciting prospect. Ah well. At least he’s on the grid.
Yuki Tsunoda, who had a middling season this year, has had his contract extended by another year. Unless he really impresses next year, we’re not sure how bright his F1 future looks, particularly if he gets shown up by de Vries.
Alex Albon: “multi-year” contract from 2023 onwards
Nicholas Latifi: losing seat
Logan Sargeant: contract for 2023, future unclear
Former Red Bull driver Alex Albon finally found his way back onto the F1 grid with Williams this year and has so far proven to be an adequate performer, securing multiple points finishes for the embattled team this season. His seat’s secure.
Nicholas Latifi, however, had yet another average season, and now the Canadian pay driver’s short and unimpressive F1 career is finally over, with new team owners Dorilton Capital eager to get a more skilled driver in his place: Logan Sargeant.
The Williams junior, who came 4th in the F2 championship, secured enough points on his super license to be eligible for an F1 drive and will be taking Latifi’s place. Sargeant will be the first American driver in F1 for eight years, something we doubt Williams and F1 broadly is ignorant of.
Kevin Magnussen: “multi-year deal”, seat secure
Mick Schumacher: losing seat
Nico Hülkenberg: contract for 2023, future unclear
Lastly, we have Haas, which went from being a bit of a laughing stock in 2021 with the disastrous double rookie pairing of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin to a return to point-scoring in 2022 with the return of Kevin Magnussen.
Russian rich kid Mazepin, easily the weakest driver on the grid in 2021, was booted from the team during testing in Bahrain earlier this year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with his father’s company Uralkali also losing their title sponsor rights.
Magnussen, who raced for Haas between 2017 and 2020, immediately stamped his mark on the American team upon his return, with the Dane coming 5th at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix – ending an 18-month points drought for Haas. K-Mag has continued to record solid performances for the team, with the driver recording both his and Haas’ first-ever pole position in São Paulo. His spot at Haas is secure, having signed “a multi-year deal” with the team.
In comparison, Schumacher’s fall from grace has been spectacular. The German wunderkind and son of seven-time World Champion Michael scoed his first F1 points with an 8th-place finish at the British Grand Prix – but thanks to his continued propensity for expensive crashes and otherwise mediocre performances, he’s lost his Haas seat.
To make matters worse, he’s also been released from his Ferrari junior contract, meaning it’s not clear where Schumi junior will end up next year.
Instead, ‘super sub’ Nico Hülkenberg will be making his full-time return to F1 with Haas next year – something fans are pretty happy about. ‘The Hulk’, who hasn’t driven full-time in F1 since 2019, has been a sporadic presence on the grid over the last few years, subbing in for both Pérez and Stroll at Racing Point in 2020 and acting as Aston Martin’s reserve driver in 2021/22.
Hülkenberg and Magnussen haven’t always been the best of friends previously (who can forget the “suck my balls” incident in 2017?) but we’ll see how they go in 2023.