Formula 1

What could be next for Fernando Alonso? Formula 1 silly season

USA TODAY Sports’ Eric Bolte The Formula One silly season took a dramatic turn on the first day of the summer break, when Fernando Alonso announced his departure from Alpine and signing a multi-year contract with Aston Martin. What is the current state of silly season, and what might happen next? Who will take Fernando Alonso’s place at Alpine? USA TODAY Sports’ David Kirouac Fernando Alonso has joined Aston Martin after Sebastian Vettel announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2022 season. Alonso and Alpine were reportedly working on a contract extension to keep him in a seat, but those talks did not go well, and the driver soon moved on to Aston Martin. Now the question is, who will take Alonso’s place in Formula One’s best available seat? The answer will most likely be straightforward and announced soon. Oscar Piastri, an Alpine reserve driver, is in line to become a full-time driver beginning next year. Piastri, 21, has won the last three championships he has sought in Formula 2, Formula 3, and Formula Eurocup. Piastri is the best young prospect without a ride right now, but that is likely to change soon. The 21-year-old driver missed a ride this year because he couldn’t find a seat. Piastri was rumored to be headed to Williams to replace Nicholas Latifi, but that appears to be out of the question now that Alpine has an opening for its young future superstar. Speaking of Williams, this move casts doubt on their future. Williams’ second seat options for the 2023 season are related to four-time champion Sebastian Vettel’s retirement. USA TODAY Sports’ David Kirouac Williams has no contracted drivers for the 2023 season, but Alex Albon is expected to return after some impressive runs this season. Oscar Piastri was rumored to replace the struggling Nicholas Latifi, but that is likely to change due to the domino effect of Fernando Alonso joining Aston Martin. Because of these circumstances, Williams has a wide open door in their driver search. However, it is possible that it will begin with their young, promising Formula 2 driver Logan Sargeant. Sargeant, 21, is a member of the Williams Driver Academy and has performed admirably in his first Formula 2 season. The 21-year-old driver is third in the standings and has two wins. If Williams believes Sargeant is ready and earns the necessary super license points, he should be promoted to Formula 1. Only if both ideas are correct for the young driver. If Sargeant is deemed unfit, the team may pursue another young Formula 2 driver named Théo Pourchaire until he is ready to move up to Formula 1. If Alfa Romeo wants to keep its driver lineup stable, Pourchaire should gain some Formula 1 experience until a spot opens up with Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu. Pourchaire could join Alfa Romeo while Zhou joins Williams with his backing to fill the void left by Latifi next year. In any case, Williams appears to be in a good position to bring in a young driver to join their stable in Albon next year. Related: F1 gets a $85 million boost in new ESPN broadcast rights dealOther Formula 1 moves to consider for next year Outside of Alpine and Williams, there may not be many other Formula One moves in the near future. However, it’s a good idea to go through the list and see what’s going on with each team. After Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz signed contract extensions with their respective teams for the 2022 season, Red Bull and Ferrari are set. Mercedes currently has Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on board, and this is unlikely to change until Hamilton decides to retire from the sport. McLaren has Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, and while the latter has been the subject of speculation, Ricciardo has already stated that he will return to the team in 2023. Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher are employed by Haas, which appears to be a consistent lineup. However, Schumacher was wrecking cars and costing a lot of money to begin the season. Schumacher has been improving recently, but it will be interesting to see if Haas decides to pursue another option. It doesn’t appear likely that the organization will do so as he grows. Finally, for the 2023 season, AlphaTauri has Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda on their roster. While Gasly would prefer to be somewhere else, his options are limited, and Red Bull wanted him to stay. Gasly is likely out the door for the 2024 season but he’s staying put with AlphaTauri as he struggles to find his foot in the new car that was brought this year. Formula 1 silly season is not done yet and there is work to do as we wait for the 2023 driver lineups to become official. Related: Formula 1 targeting fully sustainable fuel by 2026