At the end of 2024, 14 drivers’ contracts, including Sergio Perez‘s, will expire, potentially leading to a reshuffle of seats in Formula 1, with potential replacements for Perez at Red Bull Racing including Carlos Sainz, Alexander Albon, and Daniel Ricciardo.
‣ At the end of 2024, 14 drivers’ contracts, including Sergio Perez’s, are set to expire, potentially leading to a significant reshuffling in Formula 1.
‣ Max Verstappen‘s contract with Red Bull Racing is secure until 2028, but the second driver’s seat has been a topic of discussion for years.
‣ Potential candidates to become Verstappen’s teammate in 2025 include Carlos Sainz, Alexander Albon, and Daniel Ricciardo, although each has their own considerations.
‣ Other drivers with expiring contracts in 2024 include Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso, and Nico Hulkenberg, but they are not considered ideal matches for Verstappen for various reasons.
It’s 2024, and 14 drivers’ contracts are about to expire. However, six drivers are locked in beyond this season. A mega Silly Season is on the horizon. But what’s the current forecast? Let’s start with the most sought-after and feared seat in Formula 1: the spot at Red Bull Racing next to Max Verstappen.
Max Verstappen’s contract with Red Bull is secure until 2028. So, Red Bull doesn’t have to fret over their number one seat. However, the second driver’s seat has been a hot topic for years. Since Daniel Ricciardo left, Sergio Perez has been the best man next to Verstappen. But, the gap between the two is still too wide.
Sergio Perez’s contract with Red Bull lasts until 2024. He’ll be 34 years old by the end of that year. He’s still got a few good years left in him, but his performance in 2024 will determine his future team. If Perez manages to close the gap to Verstappen in 2024 and causes less damage, Red Bull will have little reason to split the successful duo.
Being world champions, Red Bull has the luxury of delaying Perez’s contract renewal. With 13 other contracts expiring, Red Bull has a plethora of choices. Perez had a setback in 2023 when his chance at the world title disappeared. If that happens again in 2024, Red Bull will have a few names on their list.
Carlos Sainz, for example, has a contract at Ferrari that’s expiring. The Italians want to keep him, but not at the same price as Charles Leclerc. This doesn’t sit well with the Spaniard. Sainz would be the best man next to Verstappen in terms of quality. But, would he want to move to a team where he’s the second driver again? Sainz seems to be seeking more recognition and a leadership role.
Then there’s Alexander Albon. He’s second in terms of performance. Albon wasn’t as fast as Perez alongside Verstappen, but that was during his first two F1 seasons. He’s now more experienced and has become the leader at Williams. Helmut Marko expressed that they might have let Albon go too soon and was annoyed that Albon was stuck with Williams until 2024. After ’24, Albon is free, and he revealed on the High-Performance Podcast that he would love to make another move to a team that can win races.
Daniel Ricciardo has expressed his desire to end his career at Red Bull. But, is he good enough? He was defeated at McLaren by Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, his replacement, is doing much better as a rookie. His return to AlphaTauri wasn’t impressive either. Yuki Tsunoda, who seems totally out of the question for Red Bull, beat Ricciardo in their seven races together. Ricciardo will have to impress much more in 2024 to earn the move to Red Bull.
The contracts of Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso, and Nico Hulkenberg also end in 2024. All experienced men, but they don’t seem to be the ideal match for Verstappen. Gasly is too emotional, Alonso is too much of a number one, and Hulkenberg might simply not be fast enough. So, it seems to be a toss-up between Perez, Sainz, Albon, and Ricciardo in 2024.
Ricciardo as Verstappen’s teammate? ‘He was no better than Tsunoda’. Sainz and Ferrari negotiations could be good news for Red Bull. Albon suggests he did better than previous teammates of Max and Perez now.