The seven drivers out of contract at the end of the F1 2023 season
The F1 2023 season is underway and, before you know it, the latest episode of ‘silly season’ will be in full swing.
With 2022 bringing about completely new regulations in Formula 1, most teams opted for continuity in their driver line-ups and few drivers’ contracts expired at the end of last season.
But this time around, we can currently count a total of seven drivers whose contracts are set to end at the conclusion of 2023, with most of the grid either tied down beyond the end of the year or their contractual status not officially confirmed by their teams – George Russell’s “long-term contract” with Mercedes and Alex Albon being with Williams for “2023 and beyond”, as shows of undefined examples.
As we have seen in the past, contracts in the sport are not always fulfilled when drivers do not perform as expected, or wish to make a move elsewhere – just ask Daniel Ricciardo about this situation for F1 2023.
But, for now, here is a full rundown of the drivers who, as it stands, are into the final year of their current contracts.
All the signs during the off-season suggested that contract negotiations between Hamilton and Mercedes were going to be a straightforward procedure with a new agreement reached before the start of the F1 2023 season.
Fast forward a few months and it may not be as straightforward as first appeared with Hamilton set to be wrestling against another troublesome Mercedes car which already does not look capable of giving him the opportunity to land the highly sought-after eighth World Championship title.
Still nothing to be too concerned about just yet with regards to Hamilton’s future, but openly criticising the team like he did after the Bahrain Grand Prix will only add further fuel to the retirement talk.
Ending an eight-year wait to see the next US driver on the F1 grid, Logan Sargeant will have the chance to earn his keep in 2023 after being selected as the man to replace Nicholas Latifi as Alex Albon’s team-mate.
If he can build up his reputation, especially in his home country, show signs of progression and be competitive against said established team-mate, then James Vowles will be left with a very easy decision to make for F1 2024.
Fail to make an impact, and there will be no shortage of options looking to take his spot.
Nyck de Vries
A sterling effort on his stand-in performance for Albon at Williams at Monza last year not only earned De Vries his first points on debut in Formula 1, but a full-time drive with AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s sister team.
The 27-year-old has won titles in pretty much everything else he has raced in on his way up to Formula 1 (World Karting champion, Formula Renault, Formula 2, Formula E…) and it will be fascinating to see how that impressive CV measures up on the grandest motorsport stage of them all.
Speaking of AlphaTauri drivers…
Tsunoda admitted his surprise at even being given a second season in Formula 1 after a troubled first half of his rookie year in 2021, but a general improvement in showing alongside Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri earned him what could be a make-or-break third year in F1 2023.
Team principal Franz Tost knows a thing or two about driver development, having seen many come and go through Red Bull’s junior ranks, and he acknowledged that what comes next for the young Japanese driver depends “solely on him” for the season ahead.
There are simply no places left for Yuki to hide this year.
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In 2022, Magnussen returned to Formula 1 with what Guenther Steiner described colourfully as a “f***ing Viking comeback” with an excellent P5 finish in Bahrain, returning to the sport on short notice on a multi-year deal to replace the sacked Nikita Mazepin at Haas.
He is under contract for another season with the team, and will be looking to impress to be kept on with a squad he has already represented for five years in Formula 1.
‘Hulkenback’ was made permanent after a series of cameo appearances as Aston Martin’s reserve driver, with Hulkenberg being chosen over Mick Schumacher to partner Magnussen this year.
The duo did not always get on in the past, but between them they will form one of the most experienced driver line-ups on the grid in F1 2023.
A points-scoring debut for Zhou at Alfa Romeo last season underlined his potential after his move up from Formula 2, and he impressed enough alongside Valtteri Bottas to be given another year with the team for F1 2023.
But with the likes of highly-rated Sauber youngster Théo Pourchaire and German driver Mick Schumacher potentially waiting in the wings, Zhou will need to prove his worth at the team if he is to continue for another year as Sauber/Alfa Romeo make their transition towards becoming an Audi factory team.
Driver contracts secured beyond F1 2023
Max Verstappen: 2028
Sergio Perez: 2024
Charles Leclerc: 2024
Carlos Sainz: 2024
George Russell: “Long-term contract” of unconfirmed length signed for start of 2022 season.
Pierre Gasly: 2024 with an option for 2025
Esteban Ocon: 2024
Lando Norris: 2025
Oscar Piastri: 2024
Fernando Alonso: 2024
Lance Stroll: Ongoing
Valtteri Bottas: 2024
Alex Albon: Contract for “2023 and beyond”