The Biggest Formula 1 Questions Are About 2025

bahrain max verstappen red bull racing during the third free practice at the bahrain international circuit in the sakhir desert area prior to the bahrain grand prix anp remko de waal photo by anp via getty images
F1's Biggest Changes Come in 2025ANP

It might seem strange to be looking to next year’s Formula 1 season before this one has already started, but that’s very much the hand the sport has dealt us. Not only is 2024’s driver line-up entirely unchanged from the one that ended 2023 - something that has never happened in the prior history of the sport - but early signs are that Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is going to dominate this season as he did the last one.

What Happens in Lewis Hamilton's Last Year at Mercedes?

bahrain, bahrain march 01 sparks fly behind lewis hamilton of great britain driving the 44 mercedes amg petronas f1 team w15 during qualifying ahead of the f1 grand prix of bahrain at bahrain international circuit on march 01, 2024 in bahrain, bahrain photo by pauline ballet formula 1formula 1 via getty images
Pauline Ballet - Formula 1

We already know some very exciting changes are coming in 2025, with the biggest being Lewis Hamilton’s switch from Mercedes to Ferrari. The 39-year-old Brit has chosen to exit his contract early to do so, with the move creating the fascinating prospect of one of Formula 1’s greatest-ever talents and a seven-times World Champion, driving for the red team. The corollary question is how Mercedes will replace Hamilton, but also where Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz - who is being ousted to facilitate the move - will end up.

The obvious solution would be for Sainz to switch to Mercedes. The Spaniard has proved his talent with two Grands Prix wins, including the only non-Red Bull victory during last season’s walkover. But that seems unlikely given the dynamics of the Mercedes team where principal Toto Wolff is dropping hints that he wants to bring in a young Formula 1 debutant, possibly Kimi Antonelli, a 17-year-old Italian currently competing in Formula 2.

Who Will Get the Second Red Bull Seat?

So where will Sainz end up? There has been speculation he will move to Sauber for 2025, the Swiss team that will race this season as Stake F1 but is set to become an Audi works outfit in 2026. There is also another intriguing prospect, that he could go to Red Bull, where Sergio Perez’s contract only runs to the end of 2024. After Checo’s disappointing 2023 - when Max Verstappen scored nearly twice as many points - Red Bull may see value in giving the Dutchman a faster team-mate.

bahrain, bahrain march 01 sergio perez of mexico and oracle red bull racing prepares to drive in the garage during final practice ahead of the f1 grand prix of bahrain at bahrain international circuit on march 01, 2024 in bahrain, bahrain photo by peter fox formula 1formula 1 via getty images

There will almost certainly be many more driver changes for 2025 given that the majority of the current grid have contracts that currently run out this year. Based on reporting, only McLaren has both of its drivers locked to the end of 2025, with both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri on long-term deals. Of the current pack, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Williams’ Alex Albon are confirmed into next season, everybody else is going to be either looking for extensions or to move elsewhere. This is going to be a great year for Formula 1 contract lawyers.

What About Andretti's F1 Bid?

The other story we expect to develop over the course of this season and into next is Andretti’s bid to launch a team in conjunction with General Motors. The application to race in 2025 was rejected by Formula One Management in January on the basis that, as the official statement put it, “F1 would bring value to the Andretti brand rather than the other way around.” Andretti has said that it has not given up on getting approval to race in 2025, which would be done with Renault powerplants, but even if that doesn’t happen it could still come back later with the Cadillac-branded powerplants that GM has committed to develop. The other possibility, and the one of the rest of the F1 grid seem keenest on, is that Andretti acquires an existing team. The nominally American Haas team would be the most obvious target, but Gene Haas has insisted he has no intention of selling to anybody.

bahrain, bahrain march 01 kevin magnussen of denmark driving the 20 haas f1 vf 24 ferrari on track during final practice ahead of the f1 grand prix of bahrain at bahrain international circuit on march 01, 2024 in bahrain, bahrain photo by rudy carezzevoligetty images
Rudy Carezzevoli

Speaking of Haas raises another question - whether recently departed team principal Gunther Steiner will reappear elsewhere in Formula 1? The outspoken Steiner has become one of the unarguable stars of Netflix’s Drive to Survive franchise. It would be a shame if his salty multi-lingual rants were lost to the sport forever.

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