And then there were just two seats left for Daniel Ricciardo in 2023.
It has been confirmed French driver Pierre Gasly will leave Alpha Tauri to replace two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso at Alpine next season.
Dutchman Nyck de Vries, who made his Formula 1 debut standing in for Williams’ Alex Albon at last month’s Italian Grand Prix, will replace Gasly at Alpha Tauri.
Both teams have confirmed the news.
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It leaves Ricciardo with only two options left, if he desires a spot on the grid in 2023 — Haas and Williams.
It has looked increasingly likely in recent weeks that the Aussie has been angling towards a position as a reserve driver for Mercedes next year, speculated as a move that could make him an option to drive for the team in 2024.
Lewis Hamilton, however, has poured cold water on any suggestions he could retire at the end of 2023, potentially opening up a seat for Ricciardo.
That great white hope appears to be all that is left for the 33-year-old.
Ricciardo was pictured leaving Mercedes hospitality at the Singapore Grand Prix as the F1 rumour mill kicked into gear.
Aussie great — and the man who masterminded Oscar Piastri’s entry into F1 via Ricciardo’s seat at McLaren — Mark Webber revealed Ricciardo was still tossing up his options.
Haas boss Guenther Steiner has on several occasions expressed interest in talking with Ricciardo, but also said the Australian needs to make up his mind first about whether he wants to take a gap-year or remain on the grid with his team.
The confirmation of the Gasly and de Vries appointment comes after months of reports the deals were all but done.
Gasly, who has been with the Red Bull stable since making his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2017, will line up with countryman Esteban Ocon at Alpine.
Gasly, 26, said it was “emotionally very special” to join the French team, who are locked in a close contest for fourth place with McLaren in this season’s constructors’ championship.
“What motivated me was the development of Alpine over the past three years, their performance constantly improving,” said Gasly, whose only Formula 1 win came at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.
“They won their first race last year and this season they have been fighting to be the fourth force. They have a complete package and similar ambitions to mine.”
Fernando Alonso, 41, will leave the team to join Aston Martin on a multi-year contract, taking the seat vacated by the imminent retirement of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Gasly will be replaced at Alpha Tauri by de Vries, who claimed 13th place at the Italian Grand Prix standing in for Albon, who came down with appendicitis.
The 27-year-old has won world titles in Formula 2 and Formula E and said he was “extremely excited” to join Alpha Tauri.
“I’ve had a lot of chances to experience the 2022 car this year and I think that has put me in a great position for the upcoming season,” said de Vries.
“I hope this has helped to prepare me for what is to come.”