Who Is Racing In Formula 1 In 2023?

Musical chairs.

The Formula 1 ‘silly season’ is in full swing… But who’s actually racing in the sport next year? Whose seat is secure, and who’s facing the chopping block?


The 2022 Formula 1 World Championship is shaping up to be 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.

McLaren

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Image: Charniaux / XPB

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 has 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.

RELATED: It’s Confirmed: Oscar Piastri Will Race For McLaren In 2023

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 has been on the wall for Danny Ric for a while now. 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’ has 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.

It’s not yet clear where Ricciardo will end up in 2023. He’s been linked with a move to Alpine, as well as to Haas or Mercedes (the latter of which being as a reserve driver). It’s also been speculated he might take a break in 2023 and return to the grid in 2024, with a comment caught by the hot mic recently lending credence to that theory.

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…

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell bump fists at the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix. Image: Reuters

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. 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 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.

There’s plenty of 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.

Red Bull

Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen celebrate after the former’s win at the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix. Image: ESPN

Max Verstappen: contract until 2028, seat secure
Sergio Pérez: contract until 2024

Things are happier still at Red Bull, with reigning World Champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez enjoying a surprisingly fruitful partnership and both drivers secured past 2023.

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 at the Monaco Grand Prix, leading the Mexican to joke that he “signed too early”.

Red Bull had previously struggled to find a teammate for Verstappen after Ricciardo left the team in 2018, burning through Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon in quick succession before settling on the more experienced Pérez. With both the 2022 drivers’ and constructors’ titles comfortably in their sights, a happy driver pairing and a Porsche deal on the horizon for 2026, things couldn’t be going better for Red Bull.

RELATED: Porsche To Join Formula 1 With Red Bull Partnership

Ferrari

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc celebrate on the podium after their 1-2 finish at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix. Image: Reuters

Charles Leclerc: contract until 2024
Carlos Sainz: contract until 2024

Ah, Ferrari. The storied Italian team started off the 2022 season strong but has since been solidly 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, might exercise an exit clause in his contract which could see him leave at the end of the 2022 season. The normally level-headed and diplomatic Monégasque, who is Verstappen’s main title rival this season, has been vocally frustrated by his team’s strategic blunders, so it’s not entirely spurious.

However, Leclerc’s exit clause would only become active if Ferrari finished below third in the constructors’ standings, which seems incredibly unlikely. Ferrari is currently 2nd in the standings and although Mercedes seems to be resurgent, 4th-placed Alpine would have to perform miracles to eclipse either Mercedes or Ferrari.

RELATED: Charles Leclerc’s Attitude Is A Refreshing Change Of Pace For Formula 1

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.

Alpine

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon celebrate after the latter’s maiden F1 win at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix. Image: Autosport

Esteban Ocon: contract until 2024
Fernando Alonso: leaving for Aston Martin
Driver TBC

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.

RELATED: Alpine & McLaren Have Both Screwed Oscar Piastri Over

The real question is who Alpine will try and get to fill the void left by Alonso and Piastri. It’s been suggested that they’ll try and nab Pierre Gasly, and we can see why that might work: two French drivers at a French team is obviously quite an appealing prospect, and Gasly is reportedly keen to leave AlphaTauri. That said, Ocon and Gasly famously don’t get on.

Another suggestion is that Ricciardo might come back to the team, which he ditched at the end of 2020 for McLaren. It wouldn’t be the most comfortable of arrangements, Ricciardo returning to Alpine with his tail between his legs, but it’s arguably the best outcome for Ricciardo. If both Danny Ric and Alpine can let bygones be bygones, it could actually work rather well. Indeed, it could give both the driver and team renewed vigour: to be out for revenge against McLaren.

Alternatively, Alpine might promote another junior. They’ve got another talented Aussie on their books with Jack Doohan, or they might try and nab another promising young driver, like Sauber Academy driver Théo Pourchaire (who also happens to be French, hon hon hon) who is 2nd in the F2 championship.

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.

Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll pose with the 2022 Aston Martin AMR22 F1 car. Image: Twitter

Sebastian Vettel: retiring 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.

RELATED: Sebastian Vettel Says McLaren ‘Failed’ Daniel Ricciardo

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.

Alfa Romeo

Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas at the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season. Image: thesportsrush.com

Valtteri Bottas: contract signed “for 2022 and beyond”, speculated to run until 2024
Zhou Guanyu: TBC

Alfa Romeo’s 2022 is going pretty well, especially compared to 2021. In particular, former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has absolutely driven 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.

RELATED: Valtteri Bottas Shares ‘Viking’ Secret Behind Succeeding In Life

F1 rookie Zhou Guanyu has 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.

Botta’s seat is secure but it remains to be seen whether or not Zhou will race in F1 next year, especially considering how many other drivers are waiting in the wings. It would be a shame to see Zhou go: 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…

AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda joke around at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Image: Red Bull

Pierre Gasly: contract until the end of 2023
Yuki Tsunoda: TBC

Red Bull’s junior team has long been considered somewhat of a halfway house for Red Bull’s junior drivers, and accordingly, big questions remain over both drivers’ futures with the team.

Pierre Gasly, who is comfortably the #1 driver at the Italian team, officially has a contract until the end of 2023, but as previously mentioned, there’s been talks that Alpine might want to try and lure him away from the Red Bull family. Red Bull has come out and said that Gasly’s sticking with them but that remains to be seen.

Yuki Tsunoda’s future seems less certain. His contract’s up at the end of this year and his performance has been average at best. Without Honda officially involved with the team, he doesn’t have that Japanese support anymore, either. He’s likely to get at least another year with AlphaTauri but he’ll also have to contend with Red Bull junior Liam Lawson and Alex Albon for his seat in 2023.

Williams

Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon during pre-season testing in Spain. Image: Williams Racing

Alex Albon: “multi-year” contract from 2023 onwards
Nicholas Latifi: TBC

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. His seat’s secure.

Nicholas Latifi, however, has failed to score a single point this season. It’s widely considered that the Canadian pay driver’s short and unimpressive F1 career will be over at the end of the year, with new team owners Dorilton Capital eager to get a more skilled driver in his place.

There are three junior drivers who are likely to take Latifi’s seat: Nyck de Vries, who is currently Mercedes’ reserve driver and reigning Formula E champion (Williams has a strong relationship with Mercedes); Logan Sargeant, a Williams junior who’s currently 3rd in the F2 championship; or Felipe Drugovich, who is leading the F2 championship and isn’t aligned with a junior program.

Each of these options has its own allure. De Vries is a proven winner who’s benefitted from experience with Mercedes. Drugovich is massively talented, too. Sargeant is American, which could help bring in much-need sponsorship money and eyeballs for a sport desperate to bring in more American fans. Alternatively, Daniel Ricciardo could be in the mix, too – this is less likely as it would represent a major demotion for him.

Haas

Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher in the Haas garage at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Image: grandprix.com

Kevin Magnussen: “multi-year deal”, seat secure
Mick Schumacher: TBC

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.

RELATED: Don’t Feel Sorry For Fired Formula 1 Driver Nikita Mazepin

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, sitting above race winners like Ricciardo and Vettel in the championship. His spot at Haas is secure, having signed “a multi-year deal” with the team.

Schumacher, on the other hand, hasn’t done quite so well. The German wunderkind and son of seven-time World Champion Michael scored his first F1 points with an 8th-place finish at the British Grand Prix, but he’s also had a couple of heavy crashes and has been rather outperformed by his older teammate.

Schumacher’s Haas deal ends this season and he’s also been let go from his Ferrari junior contract, meaning his future is rather uncertain. Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has expressed an interest in retaining Schumacher, but we also know he’s not happy about Mick’s crashes over the last two seasons.

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