Two current Formula 1 drivers are struggling to hang onto their race cockpits for 2024.
One of them is Guanyu Zhou, despite the Alfa Romeo driver declaring at Zandvoort that he was “a lot more nervous” about his contractual situation a year ago.
“We’ve been talking together before the summer shutdown and we are still discussing,” said the Chinese 24-year-old.
“It’s a happy place to be, also knowing the team is becoming a works team, so it’s good for us and for myself. The rest is up to time and more detailed discussion together.”
However, according to the French broadcaster Canal Plus, Zhou is struggling with some of his Chinese backers. The Hinwil based team is believed to be considering junior driver and F2 series leader Theo Pourchaire for 2024.
Meanwhile, the Mercedes-promoted Mick Schumacher and Frederik Vesti are believed to be in the running to race for Mercedes-powered Williams next year.
Team boss James Vowles, who is close to his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff, admits that Williams incumbent Logan Sargeant is not yet secure in his seat for 2024.
“You have to earn your place in Formula 1,” Vowles said when asked about the American rookie.
“He has to keep developing and moving forward. He needs improvements on consistency, which I’ve said through the season. The gap to Alex (Albon) needs to remain the same and shrink over time.”
Some have even suggested that Zhou and Sargeant may be one of the last pairs of ‘pay drivers’ in Formula 1 for some time.
“You want to have drivers in the car that are performing at their utmost,” said Vowles. “It’s a meritocracy.
“It’s not about just bringing in a few million to satisfy the bottom line. The few million comes from the constructors’ championship by making a step relative your peers.”