The 2023 F1 "silly season" was supposed to be a quiet one, with most drivers under contract for 2024.
But rumors have been flying about Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, and the Ferrari drivers.
Below, we take a look at the driver situation for next season on each team.
The 2023 Formula One "silly season" is already heating up as rumors are flying about the 2024 driver lineup.
Every year, F1's silly season begins when rumors about next year's lineup start flying, eligible drivers start signing new contracts, and we start to get a better sense of what the next season will look like.
This year was supposed to be quiet, but Daniel Ricciardo is back, Sergio Perez is in the hot seat, Lewis Hamilton's contract still in doubt, and there are an unusual number of rumors surrounding the top teams.
All contract details are from F1 unless otherwise noted.
1. Red Bull
2023 lineup (current championship standing): Max Verstappen (1), Sergio Perez (2)
2024 drivers under contract: Verstappen, Perez
What we know: Verstappen is in contract with the team through 2028, and Perez through 2024. However, that hasn't stopped speculation that Perez could be on the way out thanks to the growing rivalry between the drivers. Verstappen has won two championships with Perez's aid but shows little reciprocation, particularly now as Perez had emerged as the strongest title challenger.
Former Red Bull driver and current AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo would love to replace Perez, but he is probably looking more to 2025. Franz Tost, the team principal for Red Bull's sister team, AlphaTauri, recently speculated that their driver, Yuki Tsunoda, would replace Perez, but again, not until 2025. Former Red Bull driver Alex Albon and McLaren driver Lando Norris (Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is a huge fan) would also likely be on their radar as a potential replacement.
Still, it would be shocking if Red Bull broke up their dominating lineup before 2025, and team principal Christian Horner recently said Perez will remain with the team next season.
2023 lineup (current championship standing): Lewis Hamilton (4), George Russell (6)
2024 drivers under contract: Russell
What we know: Hamilton's contract, set to end this year, was expected to be extended — possibly for $400 million. The deal was assumed to be straightforward, as Mercedes boss Toto Wolff hinted in January that it would be done "in a few hours" once the two sides sat down.
Seven months later, Hamilton has still not signed an extension. There was some speculation that a new deal would be announced before the Canada Grand Prix, but that race has come and gone.
Hamilton is now saying he will stay with Mercedes and that the key details of the contract have been agreed upon, although it is unclear if he is just referring to the driving portion of the deal.
3. Aston Martin
2023 lineup (current championship standing): Fernando Alonso (3), Lance Stroll (9)
2024 drivers under contract: Stroll, Alonso
What we know: Last year, Alonso's shift to Aston Martin stirred up F1's silly season. However, this year should be much quieter for the UK team. Contrary to Red Bull's scenario, harmony appears to be prevailing at Aston Martin. The 41-year-old Alonso, a two-time champion, is on a "multi-year" deal until at least 2024 and seems to be embracing his role as mentor to his younger teammate, Lance Stroll.
As long as Lawrence Stroll is writing the checks, his son Lance's seat would seem to be safe. However, one journalist recently raised eyebrows when he said there is a rumor among teams that the younger Stroll may pursue a tennis career.
2023 lineup (current championship standing): Carlos Sainz (7), Charles Leclerc (5)
2024 drivers under contract: Leclerc, Sainz
What we know: At this point last season, Ferrari and Leclerc looked like they were ready to challenge Red Bull and Verstappen for F1 supremacy. But things fell apart, and the team continues to slide backward this season.
Earlier in the year, there were rumors of Ferrari going after Hamilton. While that seems unlikely, it was interesting to note which driver that would want to keep as the second driver. According to the Daily Mail, if Ferrari had landed Hamilton, they preferred to pair him with Leclerc, transferring Sainz to a third team. However, they were also reportedly open to letting Leclerc jump to Mercedes in a driver swap.
Sainz is signed through the 2024 season and recently noted that there would be no contract negotiations until after the season. However, in a recent interview, he also suggested he would look for other options this winter if he doesn't get an extension.
"I don't want to lie," Sainz told Motorsport.com. "I don't like starting a season knowing it's the last year of my contract. I want to know what awaits me in the long run."
2023 lineup (current championship standing): Pierre Gasly (12), Esteban Ocon (10)
2024 drivers under contract: Ocon, Gasly
What we know: Ocon is under contract through the 2024 season. Gasly joined Alpine this season on a "multi-year" contract. The French team is expected to continue with their all-French lineup for at least one more year.
2023 lineup (current championship standing): Lando Norris (8), Oscar Piastri (11)
2024 drivers under contract: Norris, Piastri
What we know: Norris extended his McLaren contract in 2022 until 2025. However, he opened the door for speculation of an early divorce when he said he is "not the most patient man" amid struggles on the track.
With Alfa Romeo's potential opening if Zhou Guanyu doesn't extend his contract, Norris could theoretically join, though that seems like a step backward for a driver of his talent. Alternatively, Norris could be a Red Bull option if Verstappen and Perez's relationship is beyond repair.
Piastri was at the center of the 2022 silly season when both McLaren and Alpine claimed to have him under contract, but F1 eventually ruled in favor of McLaren, where he is signed until 2024.
7. Alfa Romeo
2023 lineup (current championship standing): Valtteri Bottas (15), Zhou Guanyu (16)
2024 drivers under contract: Bottas (maybe)
What we know: Bottas, in his second year with Alfa Romeo, signed a "multi-year" deal with the team when he left Mercedes. Some reports say the contract keeps him with the team through the 2025 season, although F1 says it is only through the 2024 season.
Zhou signed an extension for this season but is not under contract for next year. Team representative Alunni Bravi recently said the team hopes to keep both drivers together next year.
2023 lineup (current championship standing): Nico Hulkenberg (14), Kevin Magnussen (18)
2024 drivers under contract: Hulkenberg, Magnussen
What we know: Haas put to rest any rumors of a shakeup when they announced that both drivers would remain with the team next year.
2023 lineup (current championship standing): Alex Albon (13), Logan Sargeant (tied 19th)
2024 drivers under contract: Albon
What we know: Williams announced last season that Albon had signed a multi-year extension to remain with the team, as expected.
Sargeant, in his first season with Williams on a one-year contract, has shown glimpses of speed on the track but hasn't scored in the first 12 races. However, he had two of his best three finishes in his last four races (11th and 13th) at a time when he needs to start showing improvement. His unique position as the lone American on the grid at a time when the teams are fighting for the US market offers him some job security.
If they do decide to make a switch, it might make sense to go with another driver that Americans know, IndyCar driver Alex Palou who has drawn interest from multiple F1 teams.
2023 lineup (current championship standing): Yuki Tsunoda (17), Daniel Ricciardo (tied 19th)
2024 drivers under contract: None
What we know: Red Bull surprised many in 2023 when they went outside their own strong junior driver program to sign former F2 and Formula E champ de Vries, a 28-year-old rookie, to replace Gasly. After a disappointing first 10 races, he is out and Daniel Ricciardo is back, but for how long will he be willing to stay at a bottom-rung team? Look for Danny Ricc to be somewhere else next year unless he is promised a Red Bull seat for 2025.
Tsunoda has shown improvement this season and better control of his temper. Tost's prediction that Tsunoda would eventually be promoted to Red Bull implies a strategy to retain him at AlphaTauri for the near future. However, Tsunoda recently said he is open to leaving the Red Bull family if a seat on the main team is not available and it means a chance to drive a more competitive car.
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