Oscar Piastri became the second Formula 1 driver after Max Verstappen to commit to a team until after 2025, when the new engine regulations take effect. Given the new regulations coming into force in the 2026 F1 season, it is important for drivers to make the right choice when signing a new contract.

Piastri's teammate Lando Norris has been mentioned a lot in relation to the driver market, including being linked to the seat next to Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing, which may become vacant in 2025. For the time being, we need not expect a switch, as the 23-year-old Briton is tied up with McLaren until the end of 2025.

Norris prefers McLaren

He is not ruling anything out for 2026, but ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Norris says he would like to stay at McLaren for a longer period. "I've always said I want to win with McLaren. And I think we're getting closer and closer to achieving that. And not just to win races, but win championships, both driver and constructor," he said.

"I want to do it with McLaren. I'm very happy there. So if I was to spend 10 or 15 years there I'm not going to ever say no. I think that's something I would look forward to. But I’m very much just concentrated on this year, next year and ’25. I think that’s two-and-a-half years to try and progress and we'll see then."

Perez and Hamilton not yet thinking about 2026

Sergio Perez recently let slip that he is reckoning he may not drive at Red Bull Racing after 2024. With what he will do after that time, the 33-year-old Mexican is not so concerned yet. "We're obviously keeping an eye out to see, but it's so hard to predict what's going to happen," he states.

"I think we're all trying to get the best possible next contract we possibly can, where we think we're going to be most competitive at. But I think in my case, I've got another year of contract, so I have no rush in that regard," Perez added.

Lewis Hamilton recently signed on for two years and is therefore not that concerned yet with what he will do next. "What am I doing? I just signed my contract. I don't really know much about it to be honest, but of course in the not too distant future I'll be looking at my contract to 2030," the Mercedes driver laughed.

Will Tsunoda go for Red Bull or Honda?

Yuki Tsunoda, who seems to be heading for a contract extension with AlphaTauri, may have to choose between Red Bull and Honda before 2026. "I’m quite scared now, talking about drivers line-ups!" jokes the Japanese driver. "We’ll see. Obviously for me now it’s Red Bull family, so it would be nice if I’m part of Red Bull. And yeah also about Honda as well, so see how it looks like."

Asked if his loyalty lies mainly with Red Bull or Honda, Tsunoda cannot make up his mind. "Both! Both definitely. I mean, Honda has supported me from 16 years old. Actually started from this track. So without them, obviously I'm not here – but same time, without Red Bull, I'm not here as well. So, it's hard to say but they are different. I think they combine very well as a junior category, when I was a junior. They helped me in both ways and it's balanced actually really well. So definitely both," Tsunoda said.

Leclerc keeps future plans vague

Charles Leclerc, whose contract at Ferrari expires after 2024, is keeping his future plans vague. "I think as drivers it's very difficult to know exactly where every team is at. Obviously focusing on myself and with Ferrari, I haven’t had the chance yet to drive it on the simulator and as soon as it will be the case, then I'll be able to tell probably a bit more. But for now, it's very difficult to have a clear picture of who is ahead in terms of development," said the 25-year-old Monegasque.

New simulator Red Bull

Esteban Ocon stressed that it is not yet entirely clear exactly what the rules will look like. "It's quite vague at the moment still, I don't even know if the rules are completely fixed," the Alpine driver states. "I heard some drivers tested this new kind of simulator like Red Bull. We've tested it with our test drivers as well in the simulator and had a first look."

The Frenchman added that many things will still change and that at the moment it is impossible to predict what each F1 team will be like in 2026. His words are underscored by Nico Hulkenberg and Alexander Albon, who believe that the dance for seats will get underway next year.

Bottas: 'I've heard Audi is going to be strong'

Someone who does think he knows which team will come out well in 2026 is Valtteri Bottas. "I heard Audi is going to be pretty strong in 2026, it's a rumour," said the Finn, who will stay with Sauber - future Audi - next year. "But of course, like everyone, there's so many question marks. I haven't done any simulator testing either with the latest numbers. It's still a bit far away, but in the end, it will come quick. At least for Sauber, there's a clear plan of what's happening. There's been a lot of work done already, for sure."

2023-09-21T15:16:37Z dg43tfdfdgfd