Next year's Formula 1 grid is starting to take shape. Who will drive where in 2020 and who has the best papers for the remaining seats? An overview.
Lewis Hamilton: The five-time world champion extended his contract with Mercedes in the summer of 2018 for two seasons. Hamilton has been driving for the German stable since 2013.
Valtteri Bottas: During the summer break earlier this year, Mercedes announced that the partnership with Bottas would be extended by one year. The Fin has been in service since 2017 with the formation of team boss Toto Wolff.
Charles Leclerc: The Monegask debuted this year at Ferrari after making his Formula 1 debut at Sauber last year. His contract expires at the end of 2020.
Sebastian Vettel: The German has signed a contract in 2017 that binds him to the Italian team until 2020. The 2020 season will be its sixth year at the 'Scuderia'.
Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen: The Dutchman signed a new contract in 2017 and will remain with Red Bull until 2020. He made the switch from Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing in 2016 during the season.
Carlos Sainz: McLaren announced in July that the collaboration with Sainz was extended by one season. It will be his second year in the service of the stable from Woking, after he came from Renault at the end of 2018.
Lando Norris: Just like with Sainz, this year's Norris contract was extended by one season. The Briton made his Formula 1 debut with McLaren earlier this season.
Daniel Ricciardo: The Australian came surprisingly from Red Bull prior to this season. The contract expires at the end of 2020.
Esteban Ocon: After one year of absence, Ocon returns to Formula 1. He signed a contract in July that binds him to the French team for two seasons. Ocon comes from the training program of Mercedes and drove in both 2017 and 2018 at Force India, the current Racing Point.
Toro Rosso has no drivers under contract for 2020 yet.
From left to right: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen. (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)
Sergio Pérez: The Mexican extended his expiring commitment at Racing Point with three seasons in August.
Lance Stroll : The son of Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll has an ongoing commitment with his current employer. It is not known exactly when the Stroll contract will expire.
Kimi Räikkönen : The Finn made the switch from Ferrari to Alfa Romeo last winter. The 2007 world champion will remain with the Swiss team until the end of 2020.
Kevin Magnussen: The Dane will start his fourth season with the American racing team in 2020. His contract expires at the end of that year.
George Russell: The reigning Formula 2 champion is under contract with Mercedes and will be loaned out to Wiliams in 2020 as in the current season.
Six places unoccupied
In total there are six seats for 2020: two at Toro Rosso, one at Haas, one at Red Bull, one at Alfa Romeo and one at Williams.
The place with top team Red Bull Racing is the most coveted. Alexander Albon has been with the Verstappen team since the Grand Prix of Belgium and if he performs well, it is likely that he will also be in the Red Bull next year.
Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat remain in the picture for a Red Bull seat said top Helmut Marko, head of Red Bull's talent program, at the appointment of Albon. But because both Kvyat and Gasly have already been relegated from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, it seems unlikely that one of those two drivers will actually become the teammate of Verstappen.
For Toro Rosso, Gasly and Kvyat are, of course, also serious candidates in 2020, especially because Red Bull has few talents of its own.
Alexander Albon made his debut during the Grand Prix of Belgium for Red Bull Racing. (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool)
Hülkenberg as an alternative to Albon
Despite the fact that Red Bull team boss Christian Horner would like to see a driver from his own training with his team, it is likely that the Verstappen stable will also look outside his own breeding ground in case the performance of Albon is disappointing. A logical alternative then seems to be Nico Hülkenberg , who has to leave Renault at the end of this season.
The German is not inferior to seven-time Grand Prix winner Ricciardo. The experienced Hülkenberg could be of value to Red Bull with his experience, also when it comes to adjusting the car, for example.
Hülkenberg is also in the picture for the Haas team to be employed, as team boss Günther Steiner confirmed during the Grand Prix weekend in Belgium. According to the same Steiner, Romain Grosjean can - despite a very changeable season - also hope for a contract extension with his current employer.
Romain Grosjean does not yet know whether his contract with Haas will be extended. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Giovinazzi hopes to stay with Alfa
At Alfo Romeo, Antonio Giovinazzi has the best papers to keep his place. During the Italian Grand Prix, various media reported that his expiring contract with Alfa would have been extended, but confirmation from the team was not received that weekend.
A hijacker on the coast is possibly Mick Schumacher , the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. The twenty-year-old Formula 2 driver is part of the Ferrari talent program, which has a partnership with Alfa Romeo.
That Schumacher is going to get the Formula 1 seems to be a certainty because of his last name, but the question is whether that will succeed next year. The German must finish at least sixth in the Formula 2 Championship to collect the required points on his super license.
Will Mick Schumacher drive in Formula 1 in 2020? (Photo: Pro Shots)
Williams is looking for a wealthy driver
There is also a place available at Williams. The teased stable from Grove is looking for a wealthy driver and seems to end up with Nicholas Latifi, the current test driver of the team. The Canadian is second in the Formula 2 championship and comes from a very wealthy family. That makes him extra interesting for Williams, a team that is in financial difficulties.
The current driver Robert Kubica is also in race for a seat in 2020 according to team boss Claire Williams. The Pole reportedly takes 15 million euros in sponsorship money per year, but the question is whether he can bid against the ability of Latifi . His moderate results this year will not help much at the negotiating table either.
The Dutchman Nyck de Vries (24), who is leading the Formula 2 championship, seems to grab next to a Formula 1 seat. De Fries left McLaren's talent program at the end of 2018 and is no longer affiliated with a Formula 1 team.
In addition, he does not have a large amount of sponsor money, so he could come into the picture with a team like Williams. A place in Formula E, for example, seems to be a more realistic goal for De Vries.
See also: Results Italy GP and World Cup positions in Formula 1