37 Year Old Lewis Hamilton Joins Unfortunate Club of F1 Drivers as Uncertainty Looms With New Season

Published 12/28/2022, 1:20 AM EST
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – Second placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone in Northampton, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The F1 Silly Season can become a crazy turn of events. 2022 demonstrated how one driver’s decision can shake up the whole grid. Usually, the driver contracts are a major factor in kicking off the silly season. Though it can get chaotic too with driver moves and some drivers may lose out in the bargain. Going into 2023, there are several drivers who have their contracts expiring by the end of next season. Unfortunately, 37-year-old Lewis Hamilton is one of them.

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There are 7 drivers in total whose contract runs until the end of 2023. So, there may be some looking out in the market if any seat may become available. The following are the drivers in this unfortunate club with an uncertain F1 future after 2023.

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Lewis Hamilton
As per Planet F1, Mercedes and Hamilton have been making claims of a multi-year deal post-2023 for the 7-time champion in recent months. The 37-year-old certainly wants to stay in F1 for a while and the Brackley outfit also looks to retain him. So, if their talks go well, you can expect Hamilton to get off this list before the 2023 season gets underway.

Zhou Guanyu
Zhou was having a lot of reliability concerns in the first half of 2022 but recovered well to earn a 1-year extension for 2023. Although with Sauber academy driver Theo Pourchaire in the wings as a promising prodigy, Zhou will have to work hard to stay with Alfa Romeo beyond 2023.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – November 20, 2022 General view as the drivers pose for a photo ahead of the race REUTERS/Rula Rouhana

Nico Hulkenberg
Hulkenberg was the biggest gainer in this year’s silly season, after having been off the grid for 3 years. Though he is back to F1, his Haas deal is only for a year. While it is likely that he may get an extension on the same, nothing can be sure.

Kevin Magnussen
After making a Viking comeback in 2022; Magnussen is on top of the world with Haas. And given he has a multi-year deal may make him secure that Guenther Steiner will look to retain the veteran post-2023. But, time will tell given Haas has made a lot of driver changes in the last few years.

Nyck De Vries
De Vries may have been the super sub so far, producing a stellar F1 debut in 2022. Though now on, in his full-time career, expectations will rise from the 2019 F1 champion. De Vries only has got one year with AlphaTauri to prove his mettle. So, he would want to make the most of it given the long list of Red Bull juniors vying for that seat post-2023.

MIAMI, FLORIDA – MAY 05: Nyck de Vries of Netherlands, Mercedes Test & Reserve Driver, walks in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at the Miami International Autodrome on May 05, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Yuki Tsunoda
Tsunoda’s improved 2022 performances have earned him another 1-year extension at AlphaTauri. But, can he become the leader of the team in his 3rd season, now that Pierre Gasly has left? It will be the litmus test for Yuki, to earn Red Bull’s trust for the long-term future, or else he may end up like several other RBR young drivers.

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Logan Sargeant
Being the only American driver on the grid, Sargeant will be extremely excited to have 3 home races in 2023. But, he needs to perform well and prove his worth, if he wants to stay long in F1. Logan has shown promise in his F2 career, so Williams will expect him to make a mark amidst low expectations.

What is the Possibility of another Crazy F1 Silly Season in 2023?

There is uncertainty looming over the futures of these drivers. But, many of them may easily secure a contract extension. Still, there is a slim possibility of the driver market opening up in 2023. Lewis Hamilton’s seat might be the biggest one of these 7 drivers up for grabs. Although, as things stand; Mercedes won’t be letting him vacate it.

The next possible and most attractive seat on the grid is at Alfa Romeo. Zhou is a good driver, but given Pourchaire’s promise; Sauber might want to try their junior before Audi takes over.

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Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 23, 2022 Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou acknowledges the spectators ahead of the race REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Though here is the catch, drivers know Sauber has got Audi coming in for 2026. So Zhou’s seat might be the golden egg for several drivers who are looking for a change.

Both AlphaTauri and Haas drivers may get their contract extensions. But, even if one of them doesn’t; it may not be a huge stimulator to kick off a frenzy of driver moves.

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Given we had a huge shake-up of drivers up and down the grid this year, 2023 may just be on the mellow side. Only if any shock announcements like Sebastian Vettel’s retirement come in, the silly season may come alive. Let us know your predictions on these 7 drivers’ future in F1.

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Aishwary Gaonkar

398 articles

Aishwary Gaonkar is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his postgrad, he has set out to venture into the world of Sports Journalism. He is an ardent fan of F1 and has been following the most prestigious form of motor racing for over a decade now.

Edited By: Varunkumaar Chelladurai

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