Written by Aditya Bains, Edited by Nakul Naik
The 2022 Formula One season recently kicked off last month and in celebration of the new season, I have brought forth my driver predictions for the 2023 season.
Mercedes - George Russell and Esteban Ocon
Russell has just begun his first year at Mercedes and will likely be remaining there for several years, therefore barring him from a team swap. I think that Ocon will be headed to the Silver Arrows to replace Russell’s team mate, Lewis Hamilton. The writing seems to be on the wall by now: Hamilton most likely will not return after this season. He has had a brilliant career and will undoubtedly be one of the greatest drivers of all time, however, he has been quite vocal about not remaining in Formula One for too long.
If Hamilton truly does pack up his bags and head home at the end of the season, then I believe that Toto Wolff will call up Ocon to take his place. Wolff has fantastic relations with Ocon and was even rumored to have considered him as a replacement for Valtteri Bottas before Ocon signed an extension with Alpine. Ocon has also shown time and time again that he does have the talent to compete with the best drivers on the grid.
Red Bull Racing - Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly
Verstappen is certainly remaining on the team for several upcoming years after finalising a new contract extension with the team. My inclusion of Gasly, however, may confuse some readers as current Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has been a great fit for the team. The case for bringing Gasly onto the team is quite simple when all aspects are taken into account. He has significantly developed his craft since being demoted to Alpha Tauri and still has plenty of untapped potential that even the likes of Helmut Marko can see. For this reason, I do believe that Gasly should be brought onto the team instead of Perez.
Ferrari - Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz
Leclerc and Sainz have both performed brilliantly at Ferrari and both drivers are expected to be retained until at least 2024 with the latter reportedly being very close to signing a contract extension with the Scuderia.
McLaren - Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo
Both of these drivers are highly dedicated to the team and do not seem to be considering a departure from the iconic team. Norris will certainly remain on his current contract and Ricciardo will most likely sign a one-year contract.
Alpine - Oscar Piastri and Théo Pourchaire
With Ocon on the move to Mercedes, Piastri would be brought in to replace him. Piastri is a young talent who is currently Alpine’s 2022 reserve driver. He has immense potential and can be the face of the team for years to come if he is signed as a starter. Instead of re-signing Fernando Alonso, Alpine will possibly want to acquire another young talent in an effort to start fresh with a new driver pairing. This driver would be Pourchaire.
Pourchaire has displayed stellar performances in Formula Two and has been patiently expecting a call-up to Formula One after being a test driver last season. This duo could certainly be the ultimate lineup a few years from now.
AlphaTauri - Yuki Tsunoda and Liam Lawson
Following the departure of Gasly, Alpha Tauri will likely re-sign Tsunoda on a one-year deal alongside the new addition of Liam Lawson, the top driver at Red Bull’s junior academy at the moment who has shown that he can perform when it matters most. Alpha Tauri will likely sign him on a one-year contract to see how he performs against a more experienced Tsunoda. Whoever performs worse will most likely be dropped from the team in favor of Jüri Vips. Vips certainly has more potential than Tsunoda and Lawson, and his arrival to the team is simply inevitable.
Aston Martin - Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll
Aston Martin will retain both their drivers as Stroll is a permanent member of the team, given Lawrence Stroll’s ownership, and Vettel will most likely want to finish the remainder of his career in a familiar and stable environment. Stroll will likely sign a long-term deal while Vettel re-signs a one or two-year deal.
Williams - Alex Albon and Jack Aitken
Albon will be a key component at Williams for 2022 and will likely be extended. Nicholas Latifi will most likely be dropped after his three-year stint with the team and will be replaced by Aitken, who will be signed on a one-year contract to see what he is capable of achieving in the sport. If Aitken is able to make a good impression on the team, he could possibly be re-signed for another year, however, if he fails to perform, he will most likely be dropped after a lackluster rookie season.
Alfa Romeo - Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu
Bottas is expected to remain on the team for several years and Zhou will most likely be re-signed on a one or two-year deal after delivering a solid rookie performance.
Haas - Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher
Magnussen is currently on a multi-year contract and is expected to remain with the team. Schumacher’s contract ends after the 2022 season, however, he will not be called up to Ferrari and will most likely remain at Haas on a short-term contract.