Fourteen drivers’ contracts will expire at the end of 2024, with AlphaTauri considering continuing with Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda in 2025, while younger drivers like Isack Hadjar, Pepe Marti, Liam Lawson, and Ayumu Iwasa are being groomed for potential F1 seats.
‣ At the end of 2024, 14 drivers’ contracts will expire, potentially leading to a significant reshuffling of teams and drivers.
‣ AlphaTauri, with drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda, may continue with the same duo in 2025 to maintain continuity and improve rankings. However, both drivers are looking to step up to other teams.
‣ Red Bull’s Junior Team has seen a reduction in talent for 2024, with many younger drivers being recruited instead. Isack Hadjar and Pepe Marti are two notable names in F2 for Red Bull in 2024.
‣ Red Bull is keeping an eye out for talents from other courses, as they currently lack top talents. The immediate availability of a spot in F1 could attract drivers like Oliver Bearman and Victor Martins.
The year 2024 is set to be a game-changer in the world of racing. Fourteen drivers’ contracts are due to expire, while six others are locked in past that season. It’s a mega Silly Season on the horizon. But what’s the forecast looking like? AlphaTauri, for one, has banked heavily on experience in 2024, mainly due to a talent shortage in Red Bull’s Junior Programme. But what about 2025?
Let’s talk about Ricciardo and Tsunoda. Their contracts are up for renewal. AlphaTauri, under the new leadership of Peter Bayer and Laurent Mekies, is planning a fresh direction from 2024. The aim? To improve cooperation with Red Bull Racing and maximize performance. Ricciardo and Tsunoda, despite being an unexpectedly old duo for the team in 2024, might continue into 2025.
But here’s the catch. Both drivers are eyeing a step up. Ricciardo is keen on making a mark at Red Bull Racing, while Tsunoda seems to have a good shot at Aston Martin, especially for 2025.
Now, who’s in the running for the F1 seat at AlphaTauri? The Red Bull Junior Team had a large roster in 2023, but many talents were let go for 2024. Few seemed destined for an F1 seat, leading to the recruitment of many younger drivers. In F2, Red Bull has Isack Hadjar and Pepe Marti for 2024. Hadjar, despite being a rookie, was 14th in the last F2 championship and was the designated reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri when Liam Lawson dropped out.
Marti, on the other hand, is a fresh face. The young Spaniard impressed Marko with three F3 race wins with Campos Racing. He finished fifth in the F3 championship and is set to prove his mettle in F2 in 2024. Both Marti and Hadjar race for Campos in F2, the team that finished ninth among constructors in 2023.
But here’s the thing. F1 in 2025 might be too soon for both Marti and Hadjar. Liam Lawson, however, is hopeful of qualifying for an F1 seat in 2025. The New Zealander, who filled in for Daniel Ricciardo in 2023, didn’t get a seat for 2024 but is a top contender for 2025.
Ayumu Iwasa, another Red Bull programme member, is also in the mix. The Japanese driver, who finished fourth in his second F2 season, is set to return home in 2024. He’ll take over Lawson’s spot in Super Formula, hoping to make a strong impression.
But Marko isn’t just looking within. He’s also scouting for talents from other programs. Red Bull might not have the top talents at the moment, but they do have an immediate F1 spot available. This could lure drivers like Oliver Bearman (Ferrari) and Victor Martins (Alpine) to switch, much like Oscar Piastri did from Alpine to McLaren.
So, who will be the best drivers for 2025? Who will take the coveted and feared seat next to Verstappen in 2024? And is there a replacement for Verstappen on the horizon? Only time will tell.