Formula One’s silly season kicked off this week with Sergio Perez committing to Red Bull for two further campaigns. However, four drivers on the grid, including Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher, are fighting for their F1 futures after coming under pressure from poor performances.
Ricciardo has struggled to impress since signing for McLaren in 2021. Despite winning the Italian Grand Prix in 2021, the popular Ozzie has regularly fallen below the standards set by his teammate Lando Norris and hence endured two difficult seasons. While he is still contracted to the team for next season, McLaren CEO Zak Brown has brought his time at the team under question.
“I don’t want to get into the contract, but there are mechanisms in which we’re committed to each other, and mechanisms in which we’re not,” Brown said.
With Pierre Gasly likely to be an option on the market this year McLaren may look to turn their attention elsewhere. This could see Ricciardo axed from McLaren and leaving him struggling to continue within the sport. It would be a sad way for the eight-time grand prix winner to leave F1.
Another driver who could be set to depart their team is Mick Schumacher. The German driver has failed to score a single point since starting in the sport last season. While he outperformed NIkita Mazepin last season, Michael Schumacher’s son has been largely dominated by Kevin Magnussen so far this year.
His season has become synonymous with crashes and this happened again in the last outing in Monaco. With a cost cap putting pressure on all teams, especially Haas, the American outfit cannot afford for this to continue. If he does not improve quickly the Schumacher name could be set to leave the sport again.
Nicolas Latifi again finds his position at Williams under threat. The Canadian has never really looked at home in the sport despite currently spending his third year at Williams. He was consistently beaten by George Russell during his first two seasons and suffered the same fate against Alex Albon this year.
Latifi is known to bring large financial support to the team which has largely been the factor keeping him in the sport. However, with his performances getting worse and attractive alternative options like Oscar Piastri and Nyck de Vries waiting in the wings, he now finds himself under more pressure than ever. It would be no surprise if this was the last season he spent in Formula One.
Rookie Zhou Guanyu is the final driver that faces being axed come the end of the season. Despite enjoying a good start to his career by winning a point in the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Chinese star has flopped since, failing to score in any of the following races.
Sauber academy driver Theo Pourchaire has excelled during his second in Formula 2 and has been widely touted to drive for Alfa Romeo in the future. With Zhou failing to impress the team may look to make this move this year, giving Pourchaire the chance to learn directly from the experience of Valtteri Bottas.