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Formula 1 silly season moves closer to completion

Haas and Williams are yet to confirm their 2023 pairings

The Formula 1 silly season has taken another step closer to reaching its conclusion for 2023.

Pierre Gasly will be confirmed at Alpine in the coming days, with Nyck de Vries to be named as his replacement at Scuderia AlphaTauri.

Given the Honda partnership, it makes sense that will happen in Japan this weekend following some movement on the date sources first revealed to Speedcafe.com.

With Alpine and Scuderia AlphaTauri resolved, it leaves just Williams and Haas with unconfirmed seats.

For some time it has been no secret that Nicholas Latifi would lose his drive. Likeable as the Canadian is, he’s not delivered the performance the team wanted.

“Nicky drove three years for Williams now and we had a good time together,” said Williams’ Team Principal, Jost Capito.

“We agreed the objectives, what kind of performance had to be achieved throughout the year, and I think Nicky wasn’t happy about not achieving these objectives and the team neither.

“So it’s hard. It’s on both sides, it is time for a change for both.”

In truth, the writing has been on the wall since May, when the Grove operation agreed to a deal in principle to take Oscar Piastri on loan from Alpine.

Interestingly, there was some suggestion Alex Albon could find his way back into the Red Bull fold with some claiming he was on the radar for Gasly’s Scuderia AlphaTauri seat.

Albon has done much to restore his reputation this year, but he will remain at Williams for 2023 – he recently inked a new deal.

Logan Sargeant and Mick Schumacher are the front runners for the seat alongside the Thai-licenced driver.

The former has enjoyed a strong season in Formula 2 and is part of the squad’s academy programme. He is also American, as is Dorilton Captial, the team’s owner.

“Logan is definitely on the list as he is our junior driver,” Capito confirmed when asked if he was a realistic candidate by Speedcafe.com.

“We supported him and he did a fantastic job in F2 in his rookie year, but he is not the only one [on our list].”

Schumacher meanwhile looks to be on the outer at Haas.

While he has improved after a rocky start, his performances have remained inconsistent at best and has often been overshadowed by team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

Patience within the operation is understood to be wearing thin and the common opinion is that he will be shuffled out of the door at the end of the year. The only possible berth for him is Williams.

His departure is likely to signal the return of a driver to F1, rather than the debut of a rookie, with Antonio Giovinazzi and Nico Hulkenberg the favourites at Haas.

Giovinazzi had a curious Free Practice 1 outing at the Italian Grand Prix with the Ferrari-aligned operation.

The Italian does not meet the criteria in terms of the rookie driver outings which are mandated within the rules. In those instances, a driver must have competed in two or fewer grands prix. Giovinazzi raced full-time with Alfa Romeo Sauber from 2019 until the end of last year.

Officially the line is that he is being afforded the seat time to bridge the gap between the real world and simulator work he does but coming so late in the year it raises questions about exactly what value that offers, and therefore if it is indeed the primary motivation.

Giovinazzi will be back in action at the United States Grand Prix too, while Haas will still have to squeeze in outings for, presumably, Pietro Fittipaldi to satisfy the FP1 regulations.

Haas’ team boss, Guenther Steiner, has stated that he is in no hurry to make a decision, reaffirming that over the course of the weekend in Singapore.

Hulkenberg is another interesting possibility.

At 35 he is now a veteran of the sport but has maintained a solid reputation and relationship despite his last permanent drive being in 2019.

He’s had a handful of COVID-related cameos since then and performed admirably, and to date remains the reserve driver for Aston Martin.

Without Ferrari affiliation, he’s perhaps a longer shot than Giovinazzi but remains a strong candidate nonetheless as he ticks a number of boxes, at least in the short term, for the American-registered operation.

It is not expected that either Williams or Haas will confirm their decisions anytime soon.

In the case of the former, if Sargeant is under consideration it must wait for confirmation that he is eligible for a superlicence.

To qualify, he must finish this year’s Formula 2 championship inside the top five. He currently sits third with one weekend remaining, at the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

However, points are sufficiently close that he could (hypothetically) slip as far down as 11th in Yas Marina, so there are no guarantees.

2023 F1 driver contracts


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