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What will the F1 grid look like in 2025?

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Welcome to FanAmp's new series: Word on the Track! The Formula 1 rumor mill is always spinning, so Terry Widdows from F1 Coffee Corner is here to shine a light on the facts, figures, and break down the real stories behind the headlines.

F1 Coffee Corner has the inside scoop on F1 Drivers' possible next moves with the 2025 driver market heating up. Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Williams, Stake F1, Alpine, Haas and Visa CashApp RB still have at least 1 vacant seat...

What are the facts?

  1. With around half of the grid still to be decided for 2025 speculation and anticipation have lended towards the idea of a major shift in Formula 1’s competitive landscape - especially with the new regulations looming above the teams for 2026.
  2. We know that  Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin (Officially...) Williams, Stake F1, Alpine, Haas and Visa CashApp RB still have at least 1 vacant seat to be decided.
    1. Behind the scenes are intense negotiations and bidding wars to secure the best fits for the teams for next year and indeed beyond as some teams prepare for 2026.
  3. This potential shakeup of the driver market could not only change the dynamics of the teams, but with those new regulations looming may well alter the balance of power within the sport.

Which F1 seats are confirmed?

Before we dive into the vacant seats let's remind ourselves who is secure for 2025 with a recap of the seats that have already been decided.

Red Bull - Max Verstappen

Ferrari - Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc

McLaren - Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri

Aston Martin - Fernando Alonso 

Williams - Alex Albon

Stake F1 - Nico Hulkenberg

What are the Driver Market predictions?

So, with Ferrari and McLaren fully staffed here are my picks for the 2025 seats, the reasons behind why I have gone with these selections, and who else is in the frame for those seats.

Who will take the remaining Red Bull Seat?

My pick is Sergio Perez

All of the 'smart money' points to Checo continuing with RedBull for another season. In fact there is a strong suggestion that this deal has already been signed and an announcement is imminent. Widely expected to not be the multi-year deal that Checo was after, but, instead, a one year deal for the team to continue their championship partnership. After securing their first ever 1-2 in the championship in 2023, good early form, and strong commercial ties - this seems the hot favorite. 

Who else could be considered?

Other considerations, although looking highly unlikely, begin with Yuki Tsunoda. However, with the end of the Honda deal looming in 2025 and despite his strong performances - it seems a little too late for him to be promoted. Daniel Ricciardo has long been talked about as the fairytale return to the senior team, but his on track performances seemed to have ended that fairy tale for the Australian driver. The final names linked with the team are Liam Lawson who, as the rookie in the Red Bull Driver Academy, was seemingly set for a return to the grid for 2025 after his strong reserve sessions last year... and finally Carlos Sainz, however these two don’t really seem to be in the mix for a Red Bull seat.

Will Lance Stroll stay with Aston Martin?

Yes, Lance will stay with Aston Martin

Whilst not officially confirmed by Aston Martin, the story of the last few seasons is this rolling contract that Lance seems to be on. Normally, he gets confirmed at the end of the season. The only realistic way that this seat will become vacant would be if the Stroll family decides they are going to vacate it (and the team altogether), but with no signs of that I am expecting the current partnership to continue into next year. 

Who will fill Lewis Hamilton's vacant seat?

My pick is Kimi Antonelli

The Mercedes noise around Carlos Sainz has died down - especially since there is talk of Carlos wanting a multi year deal, and Mercedes is standing fast with a one year deal. This means that door seems to be closed for Sainz.

Add to this the increase in Kimi content on the Mercedes Social Media Pages... these signs all point to an announcement for the young Italian to be given the second seat alongside George Russell. Toto Wolff seems to be worried that another team will swoop in for the young Italian. There was talk of a loan deal to Williams, but that seems to have cooled with Williams driver moves - which I will come onto in a bit. 

Who else could be considered?

Other considerations for the Mercedes seat are Carlos Sainz - should the team decide to loan out Kimi - although it doesn't seem that Carlos is interested in a one year deal. Mick Schumacher as the reserve will, of course, always be in the frame - should the team want a short term stop gap given his ties to the team and family name. Next we have as a real outside bet, a return to the fold for Bottas and Ocon given their links to both Mercedes and Toto... but those feel a stretch.

For me, the talk of Max Verstappen doesn't seem to have any real legs currently and seems more tabloid speculation rather than anything factual given the current operating levels of the two teams (at least certainly not for 2025...).

What will the Visa CashApp RB team look like?

Yuki and Daniel will remain

My picks for the junior Red Bull team are a continuation of their current line up. VCARB boss Peter Bayer has been more vocal over the last few races as to how he's happy with the performances of both drivers. Daniel has gotten closer to Yuki recently and, as we know, this is dovetailed with his huge marketing ability for the team.

I feel that this popularity will see him starve off the Liam Lawson competition, and with the Honda deal in it’s last year coupled with Perez's new contract indications Daniel will remain. Yuki - given his high performances - will be retained. Although, I am expecting short, one year deals for both drivers as Red Bull prepare for the future. 

Is Logan Sargeant done in F1?

Yes, my pick for Williams is Carlos Sainz.

If you had said at the start of the season this was an option, you would have gotten laughed at.

All signs are, however, pointing to a done deal for Carlos, as he favors the rebuild at Williams over more lucrative short term deals elsewhere in more competitive cars. Carlos and his team look like they have finalized a deal over the Monaco weekend with a multi-year announcement expected soon... most likely in the build up to the Spanish Grand Prix. Still Stake has an outside chance for Carlos... but it seems that Williams have won the race for him.

Who else could be considered?

Other considerations are Valtteri Bottas, who is actively in discussions with a number of teams and features as a real unknown in the driver market. Valterri is seemingly, James Vowles' back-up if he doesn’t secure Carlos. Kimi Antonelli is another who would be in the frame, should Mercedes feel a loan would suit him better, with Mercedes expected to lean on their close ties with the team in a deal similar to George Russell. Although for the reasons listed above I feel this is a long shot.

However, a new name is emerging in the form of Esteban Ocon after the Monaco weekend and recent events... so maybe there is a twist here still.

Who will fill the Alpine seats... will anyone be retained?

My picks are Pierre Gasly and Mick Schumacher.

This lineup is one of the unknowns for me and certainly one I've been torn on with regards to how the Enstone team line up.

From what I can gather Pierre Gasly has been offered a new deal that happened around Imola, which would also serve as an explanation of their comments regarding Estaban Ocon after Monaco.

The other seat seems like a shoot out with Mick Schumacher and Jake Doohan. I've picked Mick based on the recent increase in talk from Alpine regarding Mick. He is, of course, with the team as part of their WEC outfit this year and is also being linked to IndyCar, but I feel that Alpine are more inclined to choose him and let Jack gather experience in his reserve role. This may be true especially as they come to terms with operational changes - seeing Jack as their future while plumping for Mick in the short term

Who are the other considerations?

Other considerations are the two Stake drivers Zhou and Bottas - both looking for a drive for next season. Although Alpine are not on their first choices, as doors close elsewhere, it may well be a short term deal amid swirling sale rumors. This move would suit all parties, but I feel both Mick and Jack are above them in the pecking order. 

New Management AND New Drivers for Haas?

My picks are Oliver Bearman and Valtteri Bottas. 

This was a tough one to pick, although many of us are expecting to see the young Ferrari driver (Bearman) named as a Haas driver. As Ferrari push on Haas to offer Ollie a seat due to their technical partnership and diminishing opportunities now Audi have control of Stake.... Coupled with  his strong performance for Ferrari it seems a loan move for Oliver is on the cards.

The second seat is not as clear cut. The team will be reluctant to run two rookies after being caught out before, and while they have the experienced Kevin Magnussen on their books - it's fair that the loss of Nico Hulkenberg to Stake is a big loss to the team. With that in mind, the young British driver coupled with the experienced Bottas could be an exciting option for the team. Bottas is looking for a new home and fits the bill for Haas being a multiple podium and race winner. He is, for me, a smart partner for Bearman and the team to really consolidate mid field. 

Who are the other considerations?

Other options are Estaban Ocon and  Zhou Guanyu. Both of these are really good options, ironically, for Haas given the reasons I listed above... I just feel Bottas' experience gives him the edge over Zhou in this race for what Haas are looking for. It would be wrong to discount Esteban Ocon after his time at Alpine looks set to be over. 

Who will join Hulkenberg at Stake (Audi in 2026)?

My pick is Esteban Ocon.

With Nico Hulkenberg secure, it seems he may not be the only former Renault driver to take the trip to Stake... with my pick being Esteban Ocon to join the team. After Carlos inevitably says "no" and moves to Williams, Ocon is a strong choice... although the recent Monaco events may well change that. Esteban can grind out results if needed and is used to working with the setup of a big manufacturer after his Mercedes work. His Alpine work is something which Audi could be keen on as they launch their real takeover next year. His experience could be a factor alongside Hulkenberg as the Audi team look to enter in 2026 and look to develop the new faces - making Ocon my pick. 

Who are the other considerations?

Other options for Stake are the retention of one of their two current drivers of course with Bottas and Zhou out of contract. This would be a short, 1 year deal if they are not sold on Esteban. Of course, they have had a very public chase of Carlos Sainz should he feel that Williams isn't the right move for him. 

So with all of this in mind this is how I currently see the 2025 driver grid lining up

Terry's 2025 F1 Grid Prediction
Terry's 2025 F1 Grid Prediction

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