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The 2025 Formula 1 “Silly” Season Begins

Brandon Horne

Future 2025 Ferrari driver Lewis Hamilton speaks with Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur.

In February 2024, a bombshell announcement was dropped on the Formula 1 (F1) paddock. Lewis Hamilton, seven time world champion, widely regarded as the greatest F1 driver of all time, was ditching Mercedes, with whom he had won six of his seven titles, to make a shocking switch to Scuderia Ferrari. Why was Hamilton doing this? As we soon came to find out, Mercedes’s 2024 car was far from perfect. Although initially, hopes were high for the Brackley-based team’s W15 car, it quickly became obvious that the car simply did not have enough pace. Poor results followed for both of the team’s drivers, making Hamilton’s daring switch more understandable throughout the race. 

This decision rocked the entire paddock. Hamilton has been with Mercedes since 2013, and has until recently, maintained his desire to finish his career with the team. However, a recent string of poor cars and slow development has finally forced Hamilton to leave. In search of his elusive eighth title, he has finally given up on his team. As a result, the 2025 driver market is completely wide open. As Hamilton replaced Carlos Sainz, he no longer has a seat for 2025, despite being the only driver other than the indomitable Max Verstappen to win a race in the past 20 races. So, let’s go through each team, and I’ll go through my picks for their 2025 driver lineup. We’ll do this in the constructor’s championship order from last season.

Red Bull

Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz 

It’s pretty clear that Sergio Perez is no longer the race-winning driver he once was. Although his recent upturn in performance has displayed some of his prowess, he is nowhere near his teammate, and in an era where the competition can only become more competitive, Red Bull must secure a better driver. I believe Carlos Sainz will replace Perez at Red Bull, remaking the 2015 Toro Rosso driver lineup. As for Verstappen, there’s really no reason to leave. His recent string of wins and championships has propelled him up the ranks alongside the top drivers in the sport’s history, and despite the Christian Horner controversy, he will decide to stay and attempt to win even more world titles. 


George Russell and Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso is a two-time world champion who has been searching for a third-world title since 2006. He is renowned for his awful team decisions, such as his fabled partnership with the atrocious mid-2010’s McLaren Honda. However, after an upswing towards the end of 2024, and with future prospect Kimi Antonelli still not ready for the big show, Toto Wolff and Mercedes decided to sign the two-time champion in hopes of bringing the fight to Ferrari and Red Bull. George Russell continues to stay put and gets to fight another world champion for his troubles, with the hope Mercedes can deliver a better car for his prime years. 


Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc

This driver lineup is already confirmed, so there isn’t any predicting to be done here. The man from Monaco, Charles Leclerc, 2022 F1 Drivers Championship runner-up, gets to fight 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari produces a powerful car, allowing the pair to challenge for a world title with the likes of Verstappen and Sainz. 


Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri

This driver lineup is also confirmed, with Norris and Piastri signed through at least 2027. The pair looks to continue the strong work made on their car midway through the 2023 season, propelling them back to championship contenders. 

Aston Martin

Alex Albon and Felipe Drugovich

With Fernando Alonso departing for Mercedes, team owner Lawrence Stroll must pivot quickly and sign the talented Williams driver, Alex Albon. Albon consistently places his Williams into the points despite it being a very slow car relative to stronger teams, making him a great candidate for a team looking to ascend into championship contention. To pair with Albon, Lawrence Stroll must finally part ways with his son, Lance Stroll, who finally leaves F1 to compete in endurance racing. For his replacement, Aston Martin called up their reserve driver and Formula 2 (F2) champion, Felipe Drugovich. He has proven he has the pace, and Aston rewarded him with a full-time F1 seat. 


Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez

For the French-based Alpine, Pierre Gasly has departed in favor of 2023 runner-up Sergio Perez. Despite his lack of race-winning pace, Perez is still a high-caliber driver and is highly regarded enough to earn a spot at Alpine for 2025. Personally, I think there is a high likelihood that Perez would retire if dropped by Red Bull, but there’s certainly a chance he stays for revenge, hoping Alpine develops a better car for 2025. As his teammate, I’ve gone for the Frenchman Estaban Ocon to remain with the team, as he has done since 2020. 


Liam Lawson and Pierre Gasly

With Alex Albon's departure and the loss of struggling young American Logan Sargeant, Williams has two new drivers for 2025. The young prospect from New Zealand, Liam Lawson, has decided to part ways with the toxic Red Bull junior academy in favor of the once-dominant Williams racing team. He partnered with former Alpine driver Pierre Gasly, who is looking for a better teammate and car. 

Visa Cash App RB

Yuki Tsunoda and Ayumu Iwasa

Due to Daniel Ricciardo’s recent struggles, he is forced out of Red Bull and replaced with Japanese talent Ayumu Iwasa to form a powerful all-Japanese driver lineup for 2025. Red Bull has shown zero interest in promoting Tsunoda to a drive at the top team and has recently expressed a desire to pair their young drivers with more experienced veterans. As Tsunoda has now driven for VCARB for four seasons, I’d say he qualifies as an experienced veteran capable of mentoring his countryman Iwasa. 


Theo Pourchaire and Valtteri Bottas

This is my sleeper surprise pick, as I’ve gone for another entirely new driver lineup for the Sauber team. Their talented reserve driver, Theo Pourchaire, finally finds his long-awaited opportunity in Formula 1, replacing the disappointing Guanyu Zhou. In addition, Valtteri Bottas remains on the team to mentor the young driver as the team prepares to transform into Audi for the 2026 season. 


Oliver Bearman and Nico Hulkenberg

For Haas, I’ve gone with Oliver Bearman and Nico Hulkenberg. Unfortunately, the ship has sailed for the once-promising Nico Hulkenberg, and despite his rapid qualifying pace, he has found no better alternative but to remain at Haas for the 2025 season. In replacement of Kevin Magnussen, Haas looks to the young Brit Oliver Bearman, who showed significant promise in his first race at Ferrari (replacing Carlos Sainz, who needed his appendix removed). Because Haas is a Ferrari customer team, they have a strong relationship with Ferrari and look to nurture the young driver as he prepares to replace Lewis Hamilton after he retires potentially. 

These were my 2025 F1 driver lineup predictions, I hope you enjoyed it. As always, leave me any comments if you don’t agree with my ideas.


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