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Fernando Alonso moving to Alpine from next year will not be the only surprise switch confirmed over “silly season”, according to former F1 driver Marcus Ericsson. The summer break is often used by F1 teams to re-evaluate their driver line-up for the following season and has seen some big moves over the years.
A busy few days last summer saw Valtteri Bottas and George Russell’s switch confirmed while Alex Albon was announced as the Brit’s replacement at Williams. The 2022 summer break has already started with a bang following Sebastian Vettel’s surprise announcement that he will retire at the end of the year.
The four-time world champion’s contract was set to expire in December, but early reports indicated that an agreement wasn’t far away. But Vettel announced prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix that he would be walking away from the sport and Aston Martin wasted no time in finding his replacement.
Alonso will now take Vettel’s seat from next year onwards on what has been described as a ‘multi-year deal’. He will be expected to team up with Lance Stroll from next year, who is also thought to be out of contract at the end of this year.
That makes five teams now who have their driver line-up complete for next year, but Ericsson still doesn’t think that will stop some big changes. Alpine have teased an imminent announcement on who will replace Alonso for next year while AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams also have no concrete plans for their 2023 line-up.
McLaren have both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo signed up for next year, but Ericsson believes the Australian will be sensationally replaced by Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri. That would then spark a huge shift in the driver line-up throughout the grid with Ricciardo tipped to join Kevin Magnussen at Haas.
Mick Schumacher would then hypothetically find a seat alongside Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri with Pierre Gasly eventually taking Alonso’s seat at Alpine. Nicholas Latifi then looks set to miss out on a seat in F1 altogether with Nyck de Vries tipped to drive alongside Albon.
Ericsson tweeted: “After Alonso’s “middle finger to Alpine switch” this is how the rest of @F1 silly season will play out:
“Alpine Ocon-Gasly. AlphaT Schumacher-Tsunoda. Mclaren Norris-Piastri. AlfaR Bottas-Zhou. Haas Mag-Ricciardo. Williams Albon-De Vries. It’s called Silly season for a reason.”
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