Who is in the seat?
“Will I have a seat for the future?” is what many drivers seem to wonder for themselves when contracts are near expiration. As the season is close to an end, there are still some questions over which drivers will have a seat for next season and moving forward.
Red Bull Racing:
There is no doubt that Max Verstappen, two-time world champion would already have his contract and a long one as well. Verstappen’s contract has been extended to the 2028 F1 season which would secure him another five seasons with the team. With the rate that they are going, they are bound to win more championships as well. On the other hand, Sergio Perez’s contract is until the end of the 2024 F1 season. This means, that there is a chance that Perez might lose his seat for the 2025 F1 season if he does not improve his performance the rest of this season and the next.
After the Italian Grand Prix, the long awaited announcement of whether or not Lewis Hamilton would remain with Mercedes was finally revealed to the world. Mercedes extended Hamilton’s contract until the end of the 2025 season giving him at least another two years with the team. George Russell’s contract has been extended until 2025 as well. The dynamic duo has been performing well so far meaning there is a possibility for double podiums in the future.
Like many others, Lando Norris’s contract also has an extension until the end of the 2025 season. However, with his consistency in podiums this season including his back-to-back podiums for second-place. There is no doubt that with this consistency, Norris will continue to be a part of the papaya-coloured team. Due to his incredible performance as a rookie this season, it was announced this past week that Piastri’s contract has been extended until the end of the 2026 season. The dynamic duo have accomplished so much this season and are still not finished.
Both Ferrari drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. have contracts that extend until the end of the 2024 season. The duo in red have performed well the past seasons but there are some inconsistencies that have occurred this past season that might put their seat for the future in doubt. However, there is still time for this duo to do a complete 180 and show that they belong in this team.
The Spaniard Fernando Alonso shocked many last season after deciding to move to Aston Martin for the 2023 season. When he signed with the team, he signed up until the end of the 2024 season. So far Alonso has shown off his skills this season with the multiple podiums he has given the team. Lance Stroll’s contract is also until the end of the 2024 season and just like Alonso’s, there is still yet to be talk about extending the contracts for the future.
The two French drivers on the team both have contracts that expire at the end of the 2024 season. Pierre Gasly has struggled a bit this season with consistency but nonetheless has managed to still earn points for the team. Esteban Ocon, who has been with the team longer, managed to score a podium this season in Monaco. So far, this has been the only podium for the season. Although there is no update about extending the contracts beyond 2024, the French men still have the rest of the season and a full season to prove their worthiness of a seat.
In only his second season in F1, Zhou Guanyou has shown his determination to score points even when the odds are not always in his favor. Which is why his contract has been extended until the end of the 2024 season. Meanwhile, his veteran teammate, Valterri Bottas has a contract that ends at the end of the 2025 season. Although the future is uncertain for these two, together they have a chance to make a difference in the team.
The American team has surely made a turnaround these past two years. From a team that was expected to not score any points to now having both cars in the third session of qualifying. Which is why both drivers have contracts until the end of the 2024 season. There has not been any talk about contract extensions yet, but surely with the work they have done so far, the team is guaranteed to keep them longer.
This team alone has gone through three drivers this season so far. They had started off with Nyck De Vries and after the summer break switched to Daniel Ricciardo. After suffering an injury, Liam Lawson was next in line to race for the team. Up until now, there was a lot of talk about which drivers would end up with an AlphaTauri seat. In the end, Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda will be racing with AlphaTauri until the end of the 2024 season with Liam Lawson as a reserve driver.
The British team is the only team that has an open seat for the next season so far. Alex Albon has a contract that ends after the 2024 season. However, American rookie Logan Sargeant has yet to be signed again with the team. The future seems uncertain for Sargeant due to his inability to keep up with his teammate at Williams. However, that does not mean the team should not take a chance on the rookie for this next season.
The future might seem uncertain for many but the season is not over yet and they have a lot to prove.