After confirming the future of five drivers in the last two days, the market for Formula 1 drivers remains busy. There are no more slots for the best teams after Mercedes announced that George Russell will be teaming up with Lewis Hamilton, but several drivers are still looking forward to being on the grid next year.
In addition to Russell’s announcement, other confirmations made this week were the continuity of the pair Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri, Valtteri Bottas moving to Alfa Romeo, replacing Kimi Raikkonen, who announced his retirement last week, and hiring of Alex Albon by Williams.
Red Bull will continue with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, whose renewal was announced at the end of August. The pairs of Ferrari and McLaren have ongoing contracts and Alpine has already confirmed that it will continue with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
Grid may have Formula E champion
With that, the disputed places are in Alfa Romeo. The current holder, Antonio Giovinazzi, has a chance to continue, but the team talks to other drivers. The Italian is not a Ferrari nomination, but his contract has Italian involvement. In previous years, Alfa Romeo was forced to have a driver with a connection with Scuderia, but that ended with the contract that was renewed this year. This weakens the position of pilots at the Ferrarista academy, such as Callum Ilott, current reserve, and Robert Shwartzman.
A strong name in Formula 2 is Guanyu Zhou, backed by Alpine and strong Chinese investment. The head of the French team’s young drivers’ academy has been trying for months to find a place for the F2 runner-up, and now plays all his chips on Alfa Romeo.
Current Formula E champion and F2 winner in 2019, Nyck de Vries, was present in the paddock at the Dutch GP and spoke with Alfa boss Frederic Vasseur. Running on the outside is Frenchman Theo Porchaire, although his little experience (he is in his first year of F2 and is only 18) is a negative point, especially in a year in which Formula 1 will change its technical regulations a lot. Vasseur would also have shown interest in Alex Albon, according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner, but the Thai has even managed to make his return to F-1 to race with Williams.
In addition to Albon, Williams confirmed the renewal of Nicholas Latifi’s contract. The Canadian continues to bring sponsors linked to his father, a food industry billionaire, to the team.
Aston Martin and Haas have yet to fully confirm their doubles, but these teams are expected to retain their drivers. At Aston Martin, Sebastian Vettel’s contract is for 2021 with the option to extend by one more. Team leader Otmar Szafnauer explained that the team has a “process that contracts go through, with deadlines and targets. We are close to talking about the details in the coming weeks.” Vettel’s teammate Lance Stroll is the son of the team’s owner and is also expected to be confirmed shortly.
At Haas, Nikita Mazepin is under contract, and Mick Schumacher is expected to renew his agreement. The view at the Ferrari Drivers Academy, of which he is a part, is that, even though he is in the worst team on the grid, it is important for Schumacher’s growth that he have stability.