The world of Formula 1 is bracing itself for chaos next season, as a staggering 14 drivers find themselves out of contract in 2024. The summer transfer window promises to be a major shake-up, with drivers being dropped and changing teams.
The Fate of Sergio Perez
One of the biggest names caught in this contract storm is Sergio Perez. The Red Bull driver's future hangs in the balance as his contract expires in 2024. It is rumored that Perez is unlikely to sign a new deal with Red Bull, possibly prompting the team to secure an early replacement.
Uncertainty for Other Drivers
While Max Verstappen seems set to clinch the world title this year, the uncertain contract situation of more than half the drivers casts a cloud of doubt over the 2024 season. Some key drivers, however, are expected to commit to extensions. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, for example, are yet to pen new contracts but are likely to stay with the team.
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso's future with Aston Martin remains unclear. The team is hopeful that their ongoing project will be enough to convince Alonso to stay, but doubts linger due to the team's declining performance this season.
Pierre Gasly is expected to secure a new deal with Alpine, but there are rumors that Esteban Ocon might depart. Ocon has been tipped as a potential replacement for McLaren's Lando Norris if Red Bull snaps up Perez.
Williams is optimistic about retaining Alex Albon, although he has yet to sign an extension. His teammate, Logan Sargeant, is also likely to continue with the team but with only a one-year renewal, leaving his long-term future uncertain.
Haas is yet to make a decision on their drivers. Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg have been given one-year extensions for next year, and while it's believed they will be retained for 2025, other options are limited. Formula 2 star Oliver Bearman has been suggested as a potential replacement.
AlphaTauri is another team that could be affected by Perez's contract situation. Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda have already been confirmed as the team's 2024 line-up but both of them have their eyes on replacing Perez at Red Bull. If one of them succeeds, AlphaTauri will join the list of teams in search of replacements, potentially targeting reserve driver Liam Lawson.
Finally, Alfa Romeo faces considerable uncertainty as it prepares for a rebrand under Audi in 2026. Zhou Guanyu, who secured a cycle of one-year renewals, is at risk of losing his place on the grid. F2 prospect Theo Pourchaire is being considered as a possible replacement.
The Uncertain Future of Valtteri Bottas
Another driver whose future hangs in the balance is Valtteri Bottas. Since joining Haas from Mercedes, Bottas has under-performed, casting doubts on his continued presence in the sport if he does not improve.
As the 2023 season comes to an end, the upcoming driver shuffle promises to deliver excitement, uncertainty, and potential surprises on the F1 grid in 2024.