F1 chiefs finalising 2021 drivers with Hamilton yet to sign at Mercedes, Alonso back at Renault and Vettel with new team
FORMULA ONE bosses are putting together the finishing touches on the calendar for the 2021 season.
While Lewis Hamilton has yet to sign his Mercedes deal, the majority of seats with the big teams have been filled.
But there are still plenty of places on the grid still available.
With the rumour mill cranking into action, we look at who could end up where next season…
Lewis Hamilton – Expected to sign
Valtteri Bottas – Confirmed for next season
The world champions plan to stick with a winning partnership – and who could blame them?
While Bottas is already signed up, it is expected that Hamilton will do the same.
Charles Leclerc – Confirmed for next season
Carlos Sainz – (from McLaren) Confirmed for next season
A new pairing for the Italian team as Sainz arrives alongside Leclerc.
But if you listen to Ferrari, victories will still be a long way off, given their engine-power deficit.
Max Verstappen – Long term contract with the team
Alex Albon – Contract with the team but it is uncertain if he will be in the car next season.
Another option could be Nico Hulkenberg, who has impressed when he has filled in at Racing Point.
Pierre Gasly could also make the move back from AlphaTauri.
Daniel Ricciardo (from Renault) Confirmed for next season
Lando Norris – Confirmed for next season
McLaren look to have an excellent partnership in these two, plus they will also use Mercedes engines next season too.
Podiums should be achievable.
Fernando Alonso – Confirmed for next season
Esteban Ocon – Confirmed for next season
Alonso's return is a boost to Renault following Ricciardo's departure.
Can the Spaniard turn them into regular winners?
He is expected to be paired with Frenchman Esteban Ocon, although Gasly has also been mentioned.
Sebastian Vettel – Confirmed for next season
Lance Stroll – Confirmed for next season
Racing Point will be rebranded and with it comes a new, experienced face in Vettel.
Stroll will keep his place in the team by virtue of him being the owner's son.
With Gasly, Albon, Daniil Kvyat all under contract at Red Bull, the sister team could stick with their line up.
Or another option would be to promote Yuki Tsunoda, who has impressed in Formula 2.
Haas boss, Guenther Steiner, is weighing up his options with Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean out.
Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Mick Schumacher have been listed as possible replacements.
F2 star Nikita Mazepin – son of a Russian billionaire, Dmitry Mazepin – is another in the frame.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi are both out of contract next season, yet sources in the paddock think the Finn will be retained.
As for his team-mate? Ferrari juniors Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman could be possible options.
George Russell – Confirmed for next season
Nicholas Latifi – Confirmed for next season
Both drivers expect to remain in the team, but that said there are plenty of suggestions that Perez could replace Russell, who is on loan from Mercedes.
Perez would bring in sponsorship money for the team's new owners.
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