Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri are the five drivers who are certain of a Formula 1 seat beyond 2024.
Regarding Lance Stroll, it is unclear how long his contract will continue as his father Lawrence is the current owner at Aston Martin.
The 14 remaining drivers have contracts that expire at the end of 2024, which means that throughout the next 12 months, there could be a long game of musical chairs.
A key driver, if not the key driver, is Sergio Perez. The Mexican driver occupies a coveted seat at Red Bull and no driver will say no to the fastest car in the field, even if they’re forced to share it with Max Verstappen.
What if Perez does not do enough to keep his seat? Or perhaps contracts have already been signed with possible successors, such as Daniel Ricciardo?
If someone from Red Bull’s own set-up progresses to the second seat at the senior team alongside Max Verstappen, the vacant seat at AlphaTauri will logically be filled by Liam Lawson.
That said, Red Bull has often spoken in recent years that it wants one experienced driver at AlphaTauri anyway. Could Tsunoda be promoted to such a role?
Last season there was plenty of flirting by Red Bull with Lando Norris, but if they want to angling for his services, they will undoubtedly have to come up with a decent payment.
That scenario would really set off a musical chairs race, as McLaren seems to be heading in an upward trajectory, making that seat interesting too.
However, it is fair to say that most of the drivers on contracts until the end of 2024 may not attract interest from other teams.
Alex Albon could be an exception to this with his fine performance at Williams this year but when it comes to Alfa Romeo’s or Haas’ drivers, they should already be content with their seats and seek an extension as the best-case scenario.
There is also a pool of young drivers who are looking to make the switch to F1. This list includes the likes of Formula 2 champions Theo Pourchaire and Felipe Drugovich, as well as Mercedes junior Frederik Vesti.
And what about Mick Schumacher? The ex-Haas driver hasn’t put F1 out of his mind either despite committing to a driver in the World Endurance Championship with Alpine.
There are a lot of contracts expiring at the end of 2024. Will we see them all back in 2025? Probably not.
You also have to deal with the (small) possibility of Andretti Cadillac F1 appearing on the grid in 2025. In that case, does that team dare to choose young talent to nurture, or would it value experience to get up to speed on the F1 grid?
See the full contract overview of F1 drivers below.