As there always are at the end of a season, there were some emotional goodbyes at the 2022 Abu Dhabi GP. Next year, the grid will see an even larger revamp than we saw at the beginning of this year. This post excludes the goodbyes for Sebastian Vettel (since he’s getting a separate post), but looks at the goodbyes for Mick Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo and Nicholas Latifi.
Within F1, there have been some important transfers; Alonso has gone to Aston Martin. Gasly has gone to Alpine to replace Alonso. The 4 drivers leaving left 4 open spaces. A seat in McLaren. 1seat in Williams. And then seats in AlphaTauri and Haas. We now know that those seats have been filled, with all except for one being filled by rookies. And that seat is Mick Shumacher’s seat.
Mick Schumacher has been at Haas for 2 seasons. His arrival in F1 was heavily anticipated; he won the F2 championship in 2020, and, of course he is Michael Schumacher’s son. He had a rough year in 2021, with Haas having a horrific car and failing to score points.
But with a significantly better car, and with a year’s experience, Haas expected more from Mick Schumacher. In 2021, Schumacher had the highest crash costs, with a total of $4,754,564. In 2022, Schumacher repeated the same. He ranked #1, with costs of $4,627,000 (as of the Mexican GP). Even if others have had more damage costs, his lead in the “World Destructors’ Championship” is well over a million dollars.
For a team that don’t have the most money like Haas, and with a budget cap, that’s incredibly costly. In terms of pure performance, Schumacher scored 12 points, 13 less than his teammate. I think given the amount of money and time Haas have spent on young drivers, they just wanted someone proven and experienced, which is why they went for Nico Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg is less likely to cost them millions of dollars, and his experience could provide insight and better results for the team.
Another driver to say goodbye to their team and goodbye to F1 was Nicholas Latifi. After spending 3 years in F1 with Williams, Latifi has finally left the team. And I say finally, because it’s been a long time coming. Nicholas Latifi joined Williams and made his F1 debut in 2020. Over the course of the past 3 seasons, he’s been far from competitive. Despite racing over 3000 laps, he only scored 9 points, with 2 of them being in 2022, and 7 in 2021. He only scored points in 3 races, with his biggest haul being 6 points at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix. And at the 2022 Abu Dhabi GP, he finally said goodbye.
Nicholas Latifi was fairly promising before F1 – he was the runner up in the 2019 F2 Championship. That year’s F2 Champion and 2021 Formula E Champion, Nyck De Vries, didn’t secure a seat in F1 until recently. He will replace Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri. However, over the course of 2020 and 2021, it became clear that Latifi wasn’t going to find success in F1 anytime soon.
The only reason he lasted so long at Williams was that his father, Michael Latifi, owns Sofina, who were a big sponsor for Williams. The team eventually had to let Latifi go, which has been coming for a while. Latifi seemed to be a nice person, but received a lot of attacks and criticism because of his on-track endeavors. Of course, the most major one was his crash at the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP, which some people believe to be the reason Max Verstappen won the championship.
Logan Sergeant is replacing Latifi at Williams. He is a Williams Junior Academy Driver who finished 4th in the F2 Championship last year. It’s quite a risky move from Williams – Sergeant only had one season in F2, and wasn’t very successful in F3. However, he has done multiple Free Practice Sessions in 2022. He also secured enough Super License Points to race in F1, meaning he is a completely eligible replacement for Latifi.
The last driver we are looking at in this post is Daniel Ricciardo. The 2022 Abu Dhabi GP seemed to be his final race in F1. He said goodbye to McLaren, and it seemed to be a goodbye to F1. However, he the announced that he would return to Red Bull Racing as their 3rd driver. This is a move that DR fans would agree with – ever since he left Red Bull, he hasn’t found consistent success and a proper rhythm. His return to Red Bull is a positive step to a better future for him. Many, including me, didn’t believe that Ricciardo was quite done with F1. I still think he has a future in the sport. Whether that future involves a championship is something I can’t predict.
Daniel Ricciardo’s stints at both Renault and McLaren were disappointing. When he was with Renault in 2019, the team was struggling. He left Red Bull because he wanted a reliable Renault engine. Reliability is precisely what his car didn’t have. And before the 2020 season began, Ricciardo announced that he would go to McLaren for two years after the 2020 season ended. It did make sense at the time – McLaren were on a strong upward trajectory, making their way up the midfield. However, in 2020, Renault were actually doing better; Ricciardo scored 2 podiums with them.
And when he moved to McLaren in 2021, he struggled to adjust to the car. He had to change his driving style to be more successful in the car. 2021 had its negatives and positives – a big positive being the race win in Italy. But there were some negatives that carried on to 2022. Riccardo was continuously being outperformed by his teammate Lando Norris; and this year didn’t come with a race win. It came with Alpine beating McLaren in the constructors’ championship – which just affirmed that McLaren was not the place for Ricciardo. Hopefully, Ricciardo can find his way back to the top with Red Bull or another team.
As for McLaren, they’re looking at an even younger driver to race alongside Lando Norris. Oscar Piastri, the 2021 F2 Champion, will now make his F1 debut with McLaren in 2023. He drove in FP1 with multiple teams in 2022, and was an Alpine reserve driver. A major controversy then took place, with Alpine announcing he would drive for them next year, followed by Piastri saying he agreed to no such thing. Alpine lost out on him, with McLaren signing him as their driver for 2023. Alpine got Pierre Gasly to replace Fernando Alonso instead, which means now both of their drivers are French.
Overall, there have been some emotional goodbyes to drivers in F1. While it’s unlikely Latifi will return, Ricciardo and Schumacher may race full-time again, with Mick Schumacher recently joining Mercedes as a reserve driver. On the grid, we’ll see some new faces, and some familiar faces to replace the drivers we’ve said goodbye to at the end of this year.