2022 F1 driver line-up: latest news and rumours

F1

The latest news and rumours on the potential 2022 F1 driver line-ups ahead of next season, including Valtteri Bottas's move to Alfa and the new Mercedes pairing

F1 2021 driver line-up

Who will be on the Formula 1 grid in 2022?

Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Formula 1’s annual game of musical chairs has begun in earnest, as the driver line-ups for 2022 come close to being finalised.

George Russell’s much-anticipated move to Mercedes for next year has been confirmed, while Valtteri Bottas will switch to Alfa Romeo.

We’ll also see a return for Alex Albon who takes Russell’s seat at Williams alongside Nicholas Latifi.

But F1 will be losing a world champion, with news of Kimi Räikkönen’s retirement at the end of the year.

The past fortnight has seen all of the above announcements, plus confirmation that AlphaTauri and Aston Martin will retain their current drivers, as teams finalise next year’s line-up and start to prepare them for the next-generation cars they are designing to meet new regulations for 2022.

Many had wrapped up contracts before the summer break: Lewis Hamilton has confirmed that he will be on the F1 grid with Mercedes for at least two more years and Fernando Alonso is sticking with Alpine too.

Lando Norris signed an early contract extension with McLaren, after starting the season in impressive form, which has continued. Sergio Perez will remain at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen, who is on a long-term deal, and AlphaTauri will retain its current line-up

Charles Leclerc is also tied down long-term at Ferrari, which leaves few seats waiting to be confirmed

Here are the latest news and rumours surrounding every team and every race seat for the 2022 F1 season.

Click here to jump to a specific team

2022 F1 driver and team line-ups

Team Drivers
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton
George Russell
Red Bull Max Verstappen
Sergio Perez
McLaren Daniel Ricciardo
Lando Norris
Ferrari Charles Leclerc
Carlos Sainz
Alpine Fernando Alonso
Esteban Ocon
AlphaTauri Pierre Gasly
Yuki Tsunoda
Aston Martin Lance Stroll
Sebastian Vettel
Alfa Romeo Valtteri Bottas
?
Williams Alex Albon
Nicholas Latifi
Haas Mick Schumacher
Nikita Mazepin

 

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton & George Russell

Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, 2021 Bahrain GP

Lewis Hamilton will be joined by George Russell at Mercedes in 2022

Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

    • Hamilton has signed a two-year contract that runs until 2023
    • Russell confirmed for 2022
    • Bottas will leave at the end of the year for Alfa

It has been on the cards since his sensational stand-in performance for Mercedes at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix and now it is confirmed: George Russell will drive for Mercedes next year.

The move was certain after Valtteri Bottas announced that he would be moving to Alfa Romeo for 2022: Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had already said that Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate would either be Bottas or Russell.

The British driver showed he was ready to race at the front last season in Sakhir when he was unfortunate not to win, as he stepped in for the Covid-afflicted Hamilton.

His performances in the Williams have been no less impressive; qualifying second at Spa, which handed him second place in the race. By then, Russell had already been told where his future lay and his body language appeared considerably more upbeat than that of Bottas.

On the other side of the garage is a formidable opponent. Lewis Hamilton left it until the beginning of this year to sign for the current season but his future was wrapped up ahead of the summer break, with a two-year contract that keeps him at the team until 2023.

The question of whether the pair can operate in relative harmony, as with Bottas, or whether Russell proves as stern a challenge as Nico Rosberg will make next year fascinating viewing.

 

Red Bull: Max Verstappen & Sergio Perez

Max Verstappen, 2021 Imola GP

Is there anyone that can match Verstappen at Red Bull?

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    • Max Verstappen under contract with Red Bull until 2023
    • Sergio Perez handed one-year extension keeping him at team for 2022
    • Yuki Tsunoda highly-rated by team and head of driver development Dr Helmut Marko

Talk of a performance clause in the contract of Max Verstappen seems to be a distant memory now as the Red Bull 2021 car looks to be the class of the field. It couldn’t come at a better time for the team as rumours surrounding the potential departure of its star driver never were far away during the Mercedes-dominated years.

The RB16B looks as though it is more predictable and quicker than its predecessor and for the first time in his career, the Dutchman can dream of becoming a world champion.

It means a shock move to Mercedes is likely off the cards, though he was already under contract with Red Bull until the end of 2023 anyway.

Sergio Perez’s solid if unspectacular first season with Red Bull has been acknowledged with a one-year contract extension, keeping him at the team for 2022.

 

McLaren: Daniel Ricciardo & Lando Norris

Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, 2021 Bahrain GP

It’s more of the same for McLaren in 2022

Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

    • Daniel Ricciardo under contract for next season and Lando Norris signed new extension up to 2023
    • Team building new windtunnel at Woking factory
    • Third-place in 2020 constructor’s standings best result since 2012 season

On one side of the garage, McLaren has an experienced veteran in Daniel Ricciardo and on the other it has a driver who is improving all the time in Lando Norris. Along with a Mercedes power unit and continued improvements to its factory in Woking, McLaren’s immediate future is looking strong.

Its combination of Norris and Ricciardo might be one of the strongest on the grid but Norris has easily had the measure of his more experienced team-mate so far in 2021.

The younger of the two has staked his claim, securing three podium finishes in the the first half of 2021, including the Imola race in which team orders were used to have Ricciardo let him by for position.

The British driver signed his contract extension ahead of the Monaco GP to keep him at McLaren until the end of 2023. He then capped that week off with his second podium of the season, lapping team-mate Ricciardo in the process.

Ricciardo said he had to “swallow his pride” as he grows into the team and becomes accustomed to his new car but on the contract front there are no dramas. Both are tied up for the foreseeable future at the team, but his performances have been disappointing so far, notwithstanding a fourth place at Spa.

 

Ferrari: Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz

Ferrari, 2021 Bahrain GP

Ferrari will keep it the same for next season with Sainz and Leclerc

ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images

    • Charles Leclerc under contract until end of 2024 F1 season
    • Carlos Sainz agreed multi-year deal last season
    • Reorganisation of key personnel structure ahead of 2021 season aims to fire Scuderia back to title-winning ways

Charles Leclerc’s long-term contract should keep him in Scuderia Ferrari red until the end of 2024 and Carlos Sainz is set to partner him into the new F1 era having signed a multi-year deal last season.

Another tantalising prospect when it comes to team-mate duels, Sainz has been rated highly but as the bridesmaid, never the bride. Ferrari has undoubtedly placed its full faith in Leclerc to guide the team forward into the future, signalled by the length of the contract he signed at the end of 2019.

Could Sainz destabilise that vision? He will think so and admitted as much ahead of his switch to the Scuderia, but for now the focus at Maranello is to restore the team to championship challenger.

The team emerged as a contender for the win at Monaco and Leclerc secured pole position albeit after a hefty crash that ultimately prevented him from taking the start due to undiscovered damage to a driveshaft. Sainz capitalised and scored the first podium of his Ferrari career with a well-deserved P2 finish.

Both Leclerc and Sainz have secured podium finishes since then, with the former finishing the British GP in second and the Spaniard inheriting third in Hungary on a chaotic afternoon.

Ferrari has one of the strongest line-ups in F1 tied up for the long term.

 

Alpine: Fernando Alonso & Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon, 2021 Bahrain GP

More of the same for Alpine in 2022

Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

    • Fernando Alonso will stay at Alpine for 2022 F1 season after signing contract extension
    • Esteban Ocon has extended his contract to 2024
    • Alpine focused on 2022 regulation changes as opportunity to break into top group

Fernando Alonso’s F1 comeback was meant to coincide with the introduction of the next generation of cars and the Spaniard will have plenty of time to get to grips with them after signing an extension to stay with the team.

“We are very pleased to confirm Fernando for next season, partnering with Esteban,” said team CEO, Laurent Rossi. “For us it is a perfect driver line-up, amongst the strongest on the grid. It works in a hugely complementary way, with both offering raw talent and speed, yet impeccable team spirit that delivered our first win in Hungary.”

Alonso’s finest performance this season came at the Hungarian Grand Prix in which he held off a charging Lewis Hamilton for 10 laps, playing a crucial role in team-mate Ocon securing his maiden F1 victory.

After outperforming Alonso in the early races, Ocon penned a three-year extension to his contract, which will keep him at Alpine until 2024.

It blocks one of the potential flashpoints of the 2022 driver market, as Ocon — who has a long relationship with Mercedes and is managed by Toto Wolff — was said to be in the frame for Valtteri Bottas’s seat next year.

In turn, Pierre Gasly was often mentioned as a potential replacement for his fellow countryman at Alpine. Ocon’s first F1 victory ended an up-and-down first half of the year on the sweetest possible note.

 

AlphaTauri: Pierre Gasly & Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda, 2021 Imola GP

Tsunoda will remain alongside Gasly in 2022

Peter Fox/Getty Images

    • Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda confirmed for 2022
    • Friendship between drivers has “been effective for the team”
    • Tsunoda started strong but lacked consistency. He is still valued at AlphaTauri

AlphaTauri will retain the same line-up in 2022, with contract extensions for Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda.

There were no shortage of options from the Red Bull junior line-up: Liam Lawson, Jehan Darvuvala and Juri Vips are all competing in F2 under the watchful eye of Helmut Marko.

But the team decided against breaking up the harmonious pairing of Gasly and Tsunoda.

“We have seen that the positive relationship between the two, made of a competitiveness on-track and a friendship off-track, has proven effective for the team,” said AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost.

“Pierre’s development in the years has been impressive and in his time with us he managed to make it to all three steps of the podium. I am confident there’s more to come and this is why we are excited to have him with us for another season. Furthermore, he is using his experience in F1 to help Yuki with his development.

“As a rookie, Yuki is only at the beginning of this journey, so it’s good that he can continue what we’ve started together. ”

 

Aston Martin: Lance Stroll & Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, 2021 Imola GP

Vettel will have plenty to reflect on if his Aston Martin move doesn’t pan out

Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

    • Sebastian Vettel takes up option for 2022
    • Lance Stroll confirmed for another season
    • Can focus on 2022 regulations push Aston Martin to upper-midfield team?

Despite some recent uncertainty over Sebastian Vettel’s future, the four-time World Champion has agreed to continue with Aston Martin beyond the 2021 season, with both parties agreeing to continue the “multi-year deal” agreed last year.

In recent races Vettel has looked closer to his 2017 and 2018 title-challenging form. But the question remains whether he can build on this when the new regulations come in for 2022.

The likelihood of Lance Stroll leaving the team while father Lawrence has ownership was always extremely low and he will once again partner Vettel. The Canadian has been with the team since Lawrence’s investment while it was racing under the Racing Point banner, so this was always likely to be one of the F1 line-ups that didn’t undergo any change between ’21 and ’22.

Alfa Romeo: Valtteri Bottas & ?

Kimi Raikkonen, 2021 Imola GP

Kimi will walk away from F1 after the 2021 season

Peter Fox/Getty Images

    • Kimi Räikkönen confirms that 2021 will be his final season in F1
    • Valtteri Bottas signs a multi-year deal starting in 2022
    • Alfa Romeo was interested in Albon before he signed Williams contract

Just how much change will Alfa Romeo see in 2022? Kimi Räikkönen will be retiring at the end of the season and his seat will be filled with another experienced Finn in the shape of Valtteri Bottas.

The Mercedes driver has signed a multi-year deal with the team and says that he hopes to find himself fighting for wins.

It’s not entirely inconceivable given next year’s new regulations, which offer the possibility for inventive teams to steal a march in rivals.

Team boss Fred Vasseur lauded his new signing, saying that Bottas’s experience would help the team to take a step closer to the podium places.

There has so far been no news on the future of Antonio Giovinazzi. F2 and Formula E champion Nyck de Vries is understood to be interested in an Alfa drive, with the backing of Toto Wolff and there is also a threat from within the family.

Although Alfa no longer has to run a Ferrari junior driver, Giovinazzi admitted in Netflix’s latest F1 Drive to Survive season that he was feeling pressure from fellow Ferrari Academy driver Mick Schumacher and there are more star pupils from the Ferrari Academy making their case for an F1 drive, who will be hard to ignore if they can capture the F2 title.

Robert Shwartzman and Marcus Armstrong are the young drivers in question, though it’s the Russian that stands the greater chance of promotion on paper, driving for the team Schumacher captured the 2020 title with last year.

But it’s Alpine Academy driver Guanyu Zhou that is most closely linked with the vacant Alfa seat for 2022. The Chinese driver is reportedly in talks to partner Bottas and would bring significant funding to the team should he be chosen for next year.

 

Williams: Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi

Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi at Williams factory

Albon and Latifi confirmed at Williams for 2022

Williams

    • Williams loses George Russell to Mercedes for next season
    • Nicholas Latifi retains his seat
    • Alex Albon will return to the grid with Williams in 2022

Star pupil George Russell will join Mercedes for 2022 and he’ll be replaced by the returning Alex Albon, who rejoins a grid after a year out following his spell with Red Bull.

Nicholas Latifi retains his seat alongside Albon after a series of strong performances, as well as the added bonus of his father’s investment helping the team as part of its promising future.

Jost Capito, Williams Racing’s CEO, described Albon as “one of the most exciting young talents in motor sport” and said that next year’s line-up will blend youth and experience that will aid the team’s further progression up the grid.

The announcement is likely to make bleak reading for Nyck de Vries, who won the 2019 F2 title, then moved to Formula E with Mercedes and won this year’s championship. The Dutch driver was spotted in the Mercedes garage during the Hungarian GP weekend.

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, said that there were talks taking place around a move to F1 but that de Vries’s chances “revolved around Alex Albon”.

At the same time, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner accused Mercedes of trying to block Albon’s move to Williams — a Mercedes customer — which Wolff denied.

Williams’ announcement ends the hopes of its junior drivers for another year: F2 driver Roy Nissany and W Series champion Jamie Chadwick are part of the Williams young driver set-up.

Ex-Volkswagen fixtures Jost Capito and François-Xavier Demaison have been signed by the team to lead it into the new era of ’22 and beyond as CEO and technical director respectively.

 

Haas: Nikita Mazepin & Mick Schumacher

Haas 2022 driver line-up

Both Schumacher and Mazepin will be back with Haas in 2022

Haas F1

    • Haas has confirmed both of its drivers will return next season in an unchanged driver line-up
    • Despite tensions between the team-mates, team boss Guenther Steiner says both can continue to develop with Haas
    • Team fully focused on 2022 with development throughout this year focused on next season

Haas has confirmed that it too will keep the same driver line-up next season with both Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin returning for 2022.

Despite the acrimonious partnership flaring up in recent rounds, team boss Guenther Steinter has continued to play down the pair’s growing rivalry on-track and says both can drive the team forward next season under new regulations.

Haas has been fully focused on the 2022 changes all year and the team hasn’t developed its ’21 car whatsoever. It’s meant that both have been toiling away at the back of the pack every weekend, though Schumacher’s P12 finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix has been the best result for Haas this year.

“2021 has afforded both drivers the opportunity to learn Formula 1 – and as rookies – they’ve done a lot of that this year,” Steiner said.

“It’s been a tough season for sure with the package we’ve had, but at the same time they’ve both embraced the challenge and worked closely with the team to learn our processes and adapt to the rigors of a Formula 1 campaign and all that brings – both internally and externally.

“Now as we look ahead to the 2022 season, we’re confident we can move forward as a team and give Mick and Nikita a competitive race package to make the next step in their Formula 1 careers.”