RACE DEBRIEF

    F1’s ‘silly season’ is an annual institution – but why stop the speculating at who gets what seat on the 2022 grid? Why not look a little further into the future? As a bit of fun over the summer break, we asked Will Buxton to cast his mind four years ahead to 2025 to have a crack at what the grid will look like.

    While new teams and new engine manufacturers may well have entered the sport at this point (particularly with new engine regulations set to come into force), for the sake of not going too wildly outlandish, we’ve kept the grid to the same 10 teams occupying the starting slots as in 2021. And please remember, it’s just for fun, so don’t take it too seriously…

    RED BULL – Max Verstappen, Lando Norris

    We’ll start down at Red Bull Racing, where in my little scenario the team took drivers and constructors glory in 2021 and opted to stick with Sergio Perez for 2022. A combination of their focus on the previous year’s successful title fightand a resurgent Mercedes however, left them struggling to keep up in 2022.

    READ MORE: Who’s got the mental edge – and who will come out on top? Our writers on the Hamilton vs Verstappen battle

    At season’s end, Red Bull got the man they’d been eyeing since early 2021 and shocked the paddock by announcing they’d lured Lando Norris away from McLaren. Having paid an eye-watering sum to initiate a break clause in his contract, he gelled with the team immediately.

    Second in the constructors’ championship in 2023, Verstappen nevertheless takes the drivers’ crown. In 2024 it’s Norris who takes the world championship as Red Bull take back-to-back team wins. They enter 2025 as favourites again.

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    Norris and Verstappen – rivals in 2021, team mates in 2025?

    FERRARI – Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz

    The only team to run an unchanged driver line-up since 2021 is Ferrari. The partnership of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz proved not only to be a fit with fans and sponsors, but the harmonious accord between the pair has created a feelingof positivity and enthusiasm that nobody in Maranello would dream of breaking up.

    And the results have flowed. Race victories have become the norm under the new regulations, with Ferrari consistently featuring in the championship battles. Second in 2022, Ferrari have a breakthrough year in 2023, winning the constructors’ championship.

    WATCH: Monaco misery to Silverstone silverware – The highs and lows of Leclerc's season so far

    The disappointment of missing out on the drivers’ title hits the drivers, however, and Ferrari drop to fourth in 2024. But with Carlos only just 30 and Charles a mere 27, both drivers are still on the upward curve of their competitive trajectory. The vibe in Maranello hasn’t been this good since the glory days of Schumacher and Barrichello.

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    Will Sainz and Leclerc still be racing together at Ferrari in 2025?

    MERCEDES – George Russell, Daniel Ricciardo

    Over at Mercedes, having missed out on the world championship in 2021, the team swings back in 2022. Lewis Hamilton, now partnered by George Russell, takes his eighth world crown and announces he is retiring from racing.

    He moves into a sporting director role at the team, emulating his great friend Niki Lauda and intending to one day in the near future take over the reins from Toto Wolff. Late in the driver market again, Mercedes offer Sergio Perez a lifeline for 2023 but they drop down to fourth in the championship.

    READ MORE: ‘Many crack under pressure, but George is different’ – Capito says Russell thrives when the heat is on

    Far better prepared for the following years, they replace Perez after one season with Daniel Ricciardo on a multi-year deal from 2024 and after steady progress to third at the end of the season, Daniel and George enter 2025 hopeful of taking the world championship.

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    Russell and Ricciardo already race with Mercedes engines at Williams and McLaren respectively, but will they get the chassis too, in 2025?

    McLAREN – Patricio O'Ward, Pierre Gasly

    Down at McLaren, Norris’ departure at the end of 2022 had taken the paddock by surprise, but not the team who had a succession roadmap in place for such an eventuality.

    After impressing in his run out at the end of 2021, Patricio O'Ward had long been in the team’s game plan and so he is brought over as 2022 IndyCar champion to compete in Formula 1 for the team from 2023.

    When Ricciardo jumps ship to Mercedes for 2024, McLaren finally get their hands on Pierre Gasly, the line-up reaping immediate success and taking McLaren to the cusp of the title and second in the championship, their highest finish since 2011. They’re confident of fighting for the championship again in 2025.

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    Could Patricio O'Ward be the next F1 import from IndyCar?

    ASTON MARTIN – Nyck de Vries, Liam Lawson

    Aston Martin have had a rollercoaster few years. The change in regulation wasn’t kind to the team, dropping them to ninth in 2022, but steady progress in 2023 and 2024 has brought them back up to a competitive space for 2025.

    After three years at the team, Sebastian Vettel retired at the end of 2023 and became a UN envoy for climate action. His space is taken by Nyck de Vries, who joined Formula 1 in 2022 at Williams and impressed in his two seasons at Grove.

    READ MORE: The biggest shock, their top three drivers, and a bold prediction – Our writers on the first half of the 2021 season

    In 2024 he helps the team to fifth in the constructors’ championship. At season’s end Lance Stroll declares his shock retirement and his place is taken by Liam Lawson after an impressive few seasons at AlphaTauri.

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    Formula E champion Nyck De Vries makes Will's 2025 Aston Martin line-up

    ALPINE – Esteban Ocon, Theo Pourchaire

    At Alpine, Esteban Ocon has firmly established himself as team-leader. Despite Fernando Alonso hanging on until mid-season in 2023, on his 42nd birthday he announced his immediate retirement from Formula 1, although not motorsport, as he declared his intention to run the 2025 Indy 500 in a private entry.

    READ MORE: Alonso explains why criticism he received on his return to F1 was 'a blessing'

    His place is taken for the remainder of the year by Oscar Piastri, who continues into 2024. At season’s end, Theo Porchaire moves to join Ocon in an all-French driver pairing after making his debut for Alfa Romeo in 2023.

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    Ocon leads the line for Alpine in Will's crystal ball

    ALPHATAURI – Dennis Hauger, Arvid Lindblad

    AlphaTauri remained unchanged in 2022 and rocketed to 5th in the constructors’ championship. At season’s end Yuki Tsunoda made way for Liam Lawson and another solid season brought the team home in sixth.

    But Gasly’s defection to McLaren for 2024 left an open door and into it stepped the impressive Dennis Hauger, fresh from the F3 title in 2021 and the F2 crown in 2023 to race alongside Lawson into 2024.

    The big summer break quiz: How well do you remember the first half of the 2021 F1 season?

    With Lawson switching to Aston Martin for 2025, Red Bull has promoted the precociously talented 17-year-old Arvid Lindblad to their junior team. The British Swede has been taking the world by storm since karts, and his rapid promotion to the sport has everyone calling him the “new Verstappen”.

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    Dennis Hauger is already a winner in F3, but will he be in F1 by 2025?

    WILLIAMS – Jamie Chadwick, Andrea Kimi Antonelli

    Williams have regained momentum and form under the new regulations, picking up podiums and pride. And in 2023, they became a keen focus in the sport as they promoted Jamie Chadwick to a full-time race seat alongside Nyck de Vries, who had so impressed in his rookie season alongside Nicolas Latifi in 2022.

    READ MORE: Who will be driving for Williams in 2022? We assess all the runners and riders

    After his single season at Mercedes in 2023, Sergio Perez joins Chadwick in 2024 but by season’s end the team determine that their future lies in youth and promote 18-year-old Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli to a full-time seat.

    With Lindblad at AlphaTauri, both Mercedes and Red Bull have taken a punt on extreme youth, who just a few years previously were still in karts.

    Williams Racing FW43 Film day 2
    W Series champ Jamie Chadwick is already on the books at Williams as a development driver. Will she make the step up to a race seat?

    ALFA ROMEO – Mick Schumacher, Arthur Leclerc

    At Alfa Romeo, 2025 sees Mick Schumacher return for his third season at the team and his fifth in Formula 1. Schumacher moved to Alfa Romeo in 2023 after a second season with Haas in 2022 failed to live up to expectations.

    For his first two years at Alfa, he was partnered with Theo Pourchaire and the partnership blossomed. But with Pourchaire moving to Alpine for ’25, Schumacher lines up alongside Arthur Leclerc.

    READ MORE: What will Alfa Romeo’s 2022 line-up look like?

    With big brother Charles at Ferrari, it’s the first time brothers have raced together in Formula 1 since Michael and Ralf Schumacher lined up for the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix.

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    Arthur Leclerc follows his brother Charles into F1, in Will's 2025 grid line-up

    HAAS – Kyle Kirkwood, Zane Maloney

    At Haas the stars and stripes finally wave for an American driver at an American team. In 2024 IndyCar standout Kyle Kirkwood, fresh from his 2021 Indy Lights championship and impressive IndyCar rookie and sophomore seasons, is signed to race for Haas.

    Fresh off the back of Patricio O'Ward’s highly successful transition, the Atlantic path finally seems to have opened up and Kirkwood is an instant good news story.

    In 2025 he lines up alongside Zane Maloney of Barbados, who with a British F4 title and an F3 crown in his pocket, has more than the pedigree to ascend to the pinnacle of open wheel racing.

    READ MORE: America’s Got Talent – but when will we see the country’s next F1 star?