Schwartzman has no place in F-1? All vacancies can be closed by the protégé of Mercedes and Red Bull
Fresh rumors from the paddock: Valtteri Bottas , who will be replaced in Mercedes by George Russell , moves to Alfa Romeo, where his new partner will be the champion of Formula E and Formula 2 Nick de Vries , and the team from Hinville will be use German motors instead of Ferrari.
If Bottas’s transfer to Alpha to replace the outgoing Kimi Raikkonen will not come as a surprise – they have been discussing him in the paddock for a couple of months, then de Vries’s invitation looks like a surprise. It should be emphasized once again that all these are just rumors, but they are spread by Dieter Renken , a long-liver of the paddock, one of the most authoritative journalists in Formula 1.
Why Alfa Romeo de Vries?
Most likely, at the end of the Formula 1 season, Kimi Raikkonen, the most experienced pilot in its history, will leave. The racer, even before the end of his career, became a legend, famous for his uncommunicativeness and wrangling with engineers at the same time. Kimi’s departure will be a sad event, but still it must be admitted: in his 42nd year of life, Raikkonen is far from peak form, makes many mistakes and is hardly able to lead the team in a new cycle of technical regulations.
At the same time, Valtteri Bottas would be the perfect replacement for Kimi. Bottas has extensive experience in the top team, moreover, he previously spent several years at Williams. With Grove, he went through both bad times (2012-2013) and good (2014-2016) and will be a good help to Frederick Wasser. By the way, it was Vasseur who was the head of the ART Grand Prix, in which Valtteri won GP3 and Masters F-3 in Zandvoort.
The arrival of Bottas potentially unties Vasseur’s hands in choosing a co-pilot. On the one hand, he can leave Giovinazzi and maintain continuity, on the other, there are young pilots: team protégé Theo Pursher, Zhou Guangyu , backed by Chinese sponsors, Oscar Piastri, Robert Schwartzman and Callum Ilott from the Ferrari Academy in the end.
But, according to Ranken, the choice fell on Nick de Vries. In 2019, after winning Formula 2, but not getting a place in F1, the Dutchman moved to Mercedes and represented the team in Formula E. And in his second year in the electric series he became the champion! But next season will be the last for Mercedes in F-E. Toto Wolf , head of the brand’s entire motorsport program, has promised to take care of the drivers – de Vries and Vandorn.
Nick de Vries
De Vries looked good in F-2, although he did not shine like Russell or Leclair. At the same time, he is more experienced than Piastri, Zhou and Schwartzman. And even if the Dutchman turns out to be much slower than Bottas, he could be quickly replaced by one of the young riders.
The only question is how to be now with the sponsorship contract “Alfa Romeo”, calculated until 2024. The Italians are only a sponsor of the team, which was and remains “Sauber”. However, even if you want to break it, you don’t have to – it is enough to brand the engines with the name of some Polish sponsor. But it remains unclear why Mercedes has yet another team – the Germans are already supplying engines to McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams. With the transfer of “Sauber” under their wing, half of the peloton will be equipped with Mercedes engines – such a strong influence of the Germans on F1 is unlikely to please the FIA and Liberty.
Schwartzman was left with only “Williams”
If the team from Hinville next year will be represented by Bottas and de Vries, then Robert Schwartzman has only one real opportunity to get into Formula 1 – through Williams. Nicholas Latifi’s contract is almost confirmed, but George Russell’s seat will be vacant. Moreover, thanks to new investors and sponsors, Latifi in Grove can look for a pilot without looking back at the sponsorship package.
This may play into the hands of Schwartzman, since it is believed that Zhou has the most powerful support – the capabilities of his sponsors are estimated at $ 40 million. The bad news is that Zhou is ahead of Robert in the championship. There is also Oscar Piastri, who spends only the first season in F-2 and is also ahead of Robert in the overall standings …
However, according to Renken, not one of the Formula 2 pilots will get into Williams, but Alexander Albon. The Thai has experience in two different teams, and if you try to forget his failure in Red Bull, in Alpha Tauri paired with experienced Daniil Kvyat the current Red Bull reservist was not bad at all. With all due respect to Latifi, he has never been able to get ahead of Russell in qualifying, although he has been with him for the second season. He probably looks like a more reliable reference point for the team in light of the departure of its current leader.
If everything is so, then Schwartzman will again be left without F-1, but so far all this is just rumors, and it is necessary to wait for official confirmation. After all, even Russell’s transfer to Mercedes has not yet been announced.