Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is the only member of the four to leave Formula 1 by choice. The other three – Nicolas Latifi, Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher – have expressed their desire to continue racing in Formula 1. However, none of the three have found a team willing to give them one of the 20 seats available for the 2023 season. .
But just because those names won’t be in the sport at the opening round in Bahrain next year doesn’t mean the book is completely closed on their F1 career. In the past ten months, not only has Kevin Magnussen returned to the grid after a year away from sportscars across the United States, but Nico Hulkenberg has been granted a stunning return to the grid for 2023 – four years after his last full-time stint. During the 2019 season.
So, of the four names missing from the field this season, who – if any – has the best chance of returning at some point in the future?
After three seasons with Williams, Nicolas Laffey has left the team, which has competed since the 2020 Grand Prix. His tenure in Formula 1 wasn’t spectacular at the time, it’s fair to say that Latifi was struggling for less points. A team that has rarely been behind the gridiron.
In his three seasons, Latifi finished 21st, 17th and 20th in the Drivers’ Championship, with teammates George Russell and Alexander Albon finishing a combined 20 points and 9 points. Latifi’s success in Formula 1 may not paint him as an obvious candidate for a second chance, but he has the potential to attract good financial backing from Canadian sponsor Sofina Foods – whose CEO is Latifi’s father.
As improbable as it may seem two years ago, Daniel Ricciardo will go into the 2022 season with his future in Formula 1 in serious question. Following two consecutive seasons of underperformance at McLaren, compared to teammate Lando Norris, McLaren cut their losses and Ricciardo has one full season left on his three-year contract.
While Haas team principal Guenther Steiner admitted he reached out to Ricciardo to gauge his initial interest in racing with them next season, Ricciardo did not return Steiner’s calls. Rather than take any available seat just to stay on the grid, Ricciardo looks content to sit out the 2023 season and return to Red Bull for a third driving stint in the hope that a return to racing opens up next year.
But if any team decides to offer Ricciardo a drive next season, what driver will they get? Will it be Ricciardo, who ran toe-to-toe with Max Verstappen during his years at Red Bull, winning eight Grands Prix, including last year’s Italian Grand Prix with McLaren? Or will it be Ricciardo, whose lack of pace over the last two seasons has been unable to find a solution no matter how hard he tries?
As the youngest and least experienced driver on this list, none of the four have more time to earn a place on the Formula 1 grid than Mick Schumacher. After securing the 2020 Formula 2 championship, Schumacher was dropped into Formula 1 with Haas and sentenced to a year behind the grid as the team put all of its development work into his 2022 car.
At the start of the season, Haas found himself at the back of the field in the points race. Schumacher struggled to get the most out of his car, with serious crashes at Jeddah and Monaco en route to Kevin Magnussen, who was recording top ten finishes for the team. Although he showed flashes of real potential at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone midway through the season, those would be the only points he would score, prompting Haas to opt for the more experienced Nico Hulkenberg as his replacement for 2023.
Schumacher is determined not to be the last Formula 1 sees of him. He has many admirers in the paddock, not the least of whom is Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. Mattia Binotto, who is still technically tied to Ferrari, said the team will sit down with Schumacher to discuss his options for the season. He also has the benefit of a popular last name that could make him attractive to teams in the future.
Few Formula 1 drivers have had the wisdom to end their careers on their own terms, and at 35, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel has called his racing career one of the most successful in Formula 1. History.
But in F1, retirement doesn’t normally mean drivers have their last great race. Felipe Massa retired at the end of 2016, but returned to Shepherd’s Williams in 2017 after Nico Rosberg’s retirement pinched Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. Fernando Alonso He retired at the end of 2018 in pursuit of the triple crown, winning Le Mans before returning to F1 at the age of 40. Jenson Button appeared in Monaco in 2017 to allow Alonso to compete after the Indy 500 in 2018. Key retired from the sport in late 2016.
Vettel has openly admitted his desire to compete in a series of one-off races outside of Formula 1, and long-time rival and good friend Lewis Hamilton is confident Vettel will return to the world championship at some stage. So could Vettel finally reach 300 grands prix races in the future?
With all due respect to Nicolas Latifi, perhaps Mika Haki’s chances of returning to the Formula 1 grid over the sabbatical are greater than ten teams opting to give him a second shot at Formula 1.
No matter what Hamilton thinks, Sebastian Vettel is unlikely to return to the grid. Vettel’s comments in retirement give a strong impression of a driver with four championship titles and more than 50 race wins to his name who is mentally controlled outside of racing at the highest level. It’s not out of the question to bump into another driver just once, but it’s hard to see situations where that might happen.
The two most likely candidates, therefore, are obviously Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo. But they are two very different prospects at two different stages of their careers. Schumacher has the advantage of youth, and while he is less active than his team-mate in 2022, it may be possible to show that he can do better with the right team and has the ability to fight in midfield and beyond. .
Finally, Daniel Ricciardo has enough goodwill in the paddock to remain on the shortlist for any team looking to replace one of their drivers over the next few years. However, the two biggest questions about Ricciardo are whether he will be ready to join a team on the field more than he is used to, and whether he will be able to overcome whatever he has set his sights on at McLaren and win that race. Driver once again. But if Nico Hulkenberg finds his way back to the grid at 35 without a podium to his name, there will be hope for Ricciardo at 33.
Which F1 drivers missing from 2022 will return to the grid in the future? (choose up to four)
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