2022 Formula 1 driver market: Which drivers are going where?

F1 silly season is upon us, but what does it look like? Find out which drivers are confirmed, and which drivers could be driving in Formula 1 in 2022, here.

2022 Formula 1 driver market: Which drivers are going where?
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While multiple Formula 1 driver deals have been confirmed for 2022, a number of race seats still need to be officially filled. Here’s how next year’s grid is shaping up.

Mercedes

Mercedes is, arguably, the team with the most attention on its driver line-up. Rumours of Mercedes young driver George Russell getting the call up have surrounded it for years, though so far Valtteri Bottas has managed to bat them away with single-year contracts. Russell’s outstanding performance as replacement for Hamilton in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix gained him further praise and tipped him as a future Mercedes driver. With Russell continuing to improve and Bottas continuing to be outpaced by team-mate Lewis Hamilton, could 2022 be Russell’s year?

Confirmed 2022 drivers:

  • Driver 1: Lewis Hamilton – Hamilton is confirmed to be staying with Mercedes for at least two more years, having extended his contract for 2022 and 2023.
  • Driver 2: Not yet confirmed

Potential Drivers

  • Valtteri Bottas: The Finn’s current contract ends this year after five season with the team. Bottas, unlike Hamilton, has largely had single-year contracts for the Silver Arrows, with the last three contracts all being single-year.
  • George Russell: Russell’s three-year deal with Williams ends this season and he is widely tipped to be nominated for Mercedes in the coming weeks. He’s currently on the Mercedes young driver programme and has shown great potential in the slower Williams, securing his first points for the team at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.

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George Russell, Mercedes-AMG F1 and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG F1 and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Red Bull

Red Bull are in a similar position to Mercedes: stuck with the unenviable task of finding a team-mate to match a mercurial talent. While Verstappen is tied to the team for at least two more seasons, the infamous second seat at Red Bull is more open. Current driver Sergio Perez looks to be the safest bet as the stream of Red Bull junior drivers dries up, however his current contract runs out at the end of the season.

Confirmed 2022 drivers:

  • Driver 1: Max Verstappen – Verstappen’s current Red Bull contract, agreed in January 2020, runs into the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
  • Driver 2: Not yet confirmed

Potential drivers

  • Sergio Perez: The Mexican is currently on a one-year deal but the consensus is that he has done enough to retain the drive, and team boss Christian Horner has indicated that the deal is likely to be extended. There are also commercial considerations, with the cars carrying Mexican backing.

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McLaren

McLaren already has drivers in both of its seats, with both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo likely staying until at least 2023. This consistency in its driver line-up could help it continue the improvements the team has been making over the recent years.

Confirmed 2022 drivers:

  • Driver 1: Lando Norris – in May Norris signed a “multi-year” contract extension that takes him beyond next season.
  • Driver 2: Daniel Ricciardo – the Australian hasn’t had an easy first year with McLaren, but his initial deal continues until the end of the 2023 season.
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Aston Martin

Aston Martin also have its driver line-up confirmed, with both Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll heading up the Silverstone-based team.

Confirmed 2022 drivers:

  • Driver 1: Sebastian Vettel – the former world champion’s contract with Aston Martin runs into next season, and there is talk of an extension.
  • Driver 2: Lance Stroll – Stroll’s place at Aston Martin, owned by his father Lawrence, is secure for the foreseeable future.

Alpine

Alpine has both its seats accounted until the end of 2022, while the French team has tied Esteban Ocon until the end of the 2024 season. The hiring of Fernando Alonso was in part related to the new regulations, which were pushed back from 2021 to 2022 following the pandemic.

Confirmed 2022 drivers:

  • Driver 1: Fernando Alonso – the Spaniard’s original deal, announced in July 2020, had options. However both sides are happy and he is set to stay on for a second year in 2022.
  • Driver 2: Esteban Ocon – in June Alpine announced that Ocon will stay with the team until at least 2024.
Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1, celebrates with Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1, 1st position, in Parc Ferme

Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1, celebrates with Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1, 1st position, in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Ferrari

Ferrari also has a full complement of drivers heading into the 2022 season, despite their burgeoning young driver programme including current F1 drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Mick Schumacher.

Confirmed 2022 drivers:

  • Driver 1: Charles Leclerc – in December 2019 Ferrari confirmed that Leclerc will remain a Maranello driver until 2024.
  • Driver 2: Carlos Sainz Jr – the Spaniard will be in the second year of his current two-year Ferrari deal in 2022.

AlphaTauri

AlphaTauri is one of the four teams who has no confirmed drivers for the 2022 season, though it has a range of options in both F1 and F2. It’s very likely that the current line-up of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda will retain their seats, but with nothing confirmed (and Red Bull notoriously bold with its driver choices), it’s still wide open.

Confirmed 2022 drivers:

  • Driver 1: Not yet confirmed
  • Driver 2: Not yet confirmed

Potential drivers

  • Pierre Gasly: The Frenchman is on a long-term Red Bull contract until the end of 2023, and while he has not been officially announced for 2022, his place at AlphaTauri is not in doubt. In January 2021, AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost said that he doubts Red Bull would let him leave AlphaTauri easily, while Red Bull advisor Dr. Helmut Marko commented in July 2021 that “this is the best Gasly we have seen so far.”
  • Yuki Tsunoda: Tsunoda has a long-term contract with Red Bull and has a lot of momentum behind him. A series of accidents has not helped his cause, but team boss Franz Tost has indicated that he will be happy to keep the Japanese rookie for a second year, saying he doesn’t “see any alternatives” to the current line-up for 2022.
  • Juri Vips: As Red Bull’s leading FIA F2 contender, currently lying fifth in the championship, Vips is the man keeping Tsunoda on his toes, and the Estonian remains an outside bet.
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT02

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo has a tough choice on its hands, and the team might be the only one to enter 2022 with two new drivers. Neither Kimi Raikkonen or Antonio Giovinazzi have contracts that extend beyond 2021, and rumours around who will fill the two seats have been flying.

Confirmed 2022 drivers:

  • Driver 1: Not yet confirmed
  • Driver 2: Not yet confirmed

Potential drivers

  • Kimi Raikkonen: At 41 it’s obvious that Raikkonen is approaching the end of his career, and while there are suggestions that this may be his last season, neither the Finn nor the team has made any decision on his future.
  • Antonio Giovinazzi: Crucially the latest Alfa Romeo sponsorship deal does not guarantee a seat for a Ferrari academy driver, and that weakens the position of Giovinazzi. The Italian has had three years with the team and has done a solid job of late, but his place remains under threat.
  • Callum Ilott: Reserve driver Ilott has impressed the team with FP1 outings but the Alfa deal has weakened his position, and there’s little commercial imperative to run him.
  • Valtteri Bottas: The multiple grand prix winner has two obvious options should he be dropped by Mercedes, and he may well end up with a straight call between Alfa Romeo and Williams. His inside knowledge of how Mercedes operates will obviously be of use. He previously drove for team boss Fred Vasseur in GP3.
  • Robert Shwartzman: Like Ilott, Shwartzman’s chances have not been helped by the new Alfa deal, but his Ferrari academy connections are still of use. He currently lies third in the F2 championship.
  • Mick Schumacher: Although widely expected to stay at Haas for a second season, Schumacher could yet move sideways into Alfa should Ferrari opt to push for such a move.
Callum Ilott, Alfa Romeo Racing

Callum Ilott, Alfa Romeo Racing

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Haas

Haas currently have both of their seats open, though it’s hard to imagine that either Mick Schumacher or Nikita Mazepin will be vacating their respective seats this year. The two rookies have been learning the ropes so far in 2021, and the sponsorship attached to both of them will likely help them continue in 2022.

Confirmed 2022 drivers:

  • Driver 1: Not yet confirmed
  • Driver 2: Not yet confirmed

Potential drivers

  • Nikita Mazepin: The plan for Mazepin was always based around a learning year with Haas followed by an extended stay with the team, but he is yet to be formally announced for 2022. He did, however, comment in April 2021 that he was “pretty sure [he’ll] spend a few years in this paddock at least”, suggesting an extension for 2022 and beyond.
  • Mick Schumacher: As with Mazepin, the German is expected to stay on after conducting a season of learning with Haas, but no announcement has been made. A sideways move to Alfa Romeo remains an outside possibility.

Williams

Along with Mercedes, the drivers at Williams for 2022 are hotly anticipated. The main reason for this is again George Russell – will he stay at Williams or will he be given the promotion to Mercedes (and, if so, who will replace him?). Following the 2020 sale of the William team to Dorilton Capital the firm have had a new influx of cash, reducing the need for pay drivers. Could we see a surprise for 2022?

Confirmed 2022 drivers:

  • Driver 1: Not yet confirmed
  • Driver 2: Not yet confirmed

Potential drivers

  • George Russell: Russell is widely expected to join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, but until the deal is announced he remains in the frame for a fourth year with the Williams team.
  • Nicholas Latifi: Latifi comes with valuable sponsorship that the team may still have to rely on (despite the team having said that they are “not dependent” on F1 pay drivers any more). A strong performance in Hungary indicated that he is better than many think.
  • Valtteri Bottas: Should Bottas be dropped by Mercedes a move back to Williams, for whom he last raced in 2016, remains an option. The team is a lot more attractive now than it was a couple of years ago.
  • Nico Hulkenberg: Hulkenberg has been on the sidelines as Aston Martin’s reserve this year after his supersub appearances at Racing Point last year. He raced for Williams in 2010 and would have obvious appeal to countryman and current team boss Jost Capito.
  • Daniil Kvyat: Now free of any Red Bull ties and serving as reserve for Alpine, Kvyat remains high on the list of drivers with recent F1 experience.
Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW43B , George Russell, Williams FW43B

Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW43B , George Russell, Williams FW43B

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

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