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The 2022 F1 driver’s title already seems done and dusted – but there is still plenty to sort out ahead of 2023 with five driver slots to be filled. As it stands, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, Alpine, Haas and Williams all have available seats following a hectic period of confirmed departures.
But remarkably, one driver who it seems won’t be on the grid is Australian star Daniel Riccardo. Having agreed an early release from his contract with McLaren, ‘The Honey Badger’ told Fox Sports after the recent Italian Grand Prix: “I’ve certainly accepted, if I’m not to be on the grid next year, I’m okay with that.”
At Haas, Mick Schumacher is set to depart, despite scoring his first career points this season. Acording to ESPN, Nico Hulkenberg, who last raced full-time in F1 with Renault in 2019 but has made stand-in appearances for Racing Point and Aston Martin since, is the leading candidate to replace him.
The Alpine seat was vacated in explosive style after Fernando Alonso confirmed he was departing for Aston Martin, with Oscar Piastri then denying the team’s claim that he would replace the Spaniard. Indeed, Piastri will instead replace Ricciardo at McLaren, with AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly the hot favourite to step in at Alpine.
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The AlphaTauri vacancy left behind by Alpine-bound Gasly is now set to go the way of Nyck de Vries, according to planetf1. The young Dutchman, a reserve driver at Mercedes, was loaned to Williams for the race in Monza after Alex Albon developed appendicitis and was ruled out on Saturday morning.
De Vries responded by making it to Q2 and finishing ninth in his maiden Grand Prix, outperforming struggling team-mate Nicholas Latifi. The Canadian himself is now facing the axe for the 2023 season, which may yet be an avenue for Ricciardo to remain in the sport.
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As for Alfa Romeo, Valtteri Bottas will again be present, but partner Zhou Guanyu’s one-year contract expires after 2022. After a difficult start, his campaign has slowly improved but he faces an anxious wait to see if he will retain his drive.
If not, Schumacher Jr may yet remain in F1. It is also highly likely they would be interested in Ricciardo, although would struggle to match the wage demands of the former Red Bull man.
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