Long term Formula One journalist Joe Saward is predicting a period of significant driver movement in the coming years, with various top teams likely to experience a game of musical chairs.
On his blog, Saward expects to see a lot of musical chairs over the next few years, especially among the bigger names in the sport.
In fairness, Saward is a regular presence at Formula 1 races and press conferences and his active presence in the paddock allows him to interact directly with team personnel, drivers, and key figures in the sport. So when the journalist claims paddock rumours, there is something behind it and worth taking note of, although some juicy details can be missing.
According to Saward, Ferrari is set to lose both of its drivers due to expiring contracts, the journalist suggests that the Italian team already has potential replacements in mind. This obviously isn’t exactly a surprise to most astute F1 fans, but who they’re looking at is up for debate. Certainly, this website knows that Ferrari has approached several drivers including Lando Norris and Saward backs that up on his blog.
Carlos Sainz potentially joining the Audi team from 2025 and Charles Leclerc also in the mix, Saward notes that interest in Leclerc could extend to Mercedes as well, presumably as a replacement for an exiting Lewis Hamilton.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) July 13, 2023
Rumours from Silverstone
While much attention has been given to Daniel Ricciardo’s chances of securing the second seat at Red Bull Racing, other drivers have also been caught up in the rumour mill. Lando Norris and Alexander Albon, in particular, found themselves at the centre of speculation during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Both drivers have been mentioned as possible options for Ferrari and Red Bull. Some might see Albon’s name as a surprise, but this season the Thai British driver has delivered some very impressive results in his Williams.
Regarding the Red Bull situation, there is uncertainty surrounding Max Verstappen’s teammate. Although Sergio Perez currently holds a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2024, his underperformance has put his future with the team in doubt. Competition from Ricciardo, who is demonstrating his abilities with AlphaTauri, adds to the uncertainty surrounding Perez’s position.
Saward also mentions the possibility of Red Bull junior and reserve driver Liam Lawson securing a seat at AlphaTauri in 2024. Additionally, there were brief rumours about talks between Red Bull and Alex Palou, who currently races in the IndyCar series. However, those rumours are now fading, and Palou is more likely to continue in IndyCar, potentially with McLaren or his current team, Ganassi.
For Saward, the journalist is very non-commital, with the caveat that “I’m not saying that any of this is true, I’m just stating what’s being said…”.