With the dust still settling on the news, Crash.net takes a look at some of the possible candidates that could replace the four-time world champion next year. 

Fernando Alonso 

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If Aston Martin wanted to make a statement signing to replace Vettel, then the best available option on the market has to be Fernando Alonso. 

The two-time world champion is out of contract at the end of the year and has not ruled out the possibility of leaving Alpine for a rival team. 

Despite being 41, Alonso is still operating at his best and the Spaniard would bring a huge wealth of experience to Aston Martin, as well as providing the team with a headline-grabbing signing. 

The biggest question mark is why would Alonso want to leave Alpine for a team that is currently some way behind the Anglo-French outfit in terms of competitiveness, but a big money deal and the potential that Aston Martin’s ambitious project has to offer might prove tempting.

 

After all, Alpine are yet to make the kind of transformative progress towards the front of the grid that Alonso was hoping for when he made his F1 comeback. 

Alonso moving to Aston Martin would also solve Alpine’s dilemma surrounding the highly-rated Oscar Piastri, who the team is trying to find a seat for to avoid losing the reigning F2 champion from their books. 

Pierre Gasly 

Alternatively, Aston Martin could attempt to prize Pierre Gasly away from AlphaTauri. 

The Frenchman has cemented himself as a consistent and very reliable midfield runner and proved that on his day, he is able to extract a result greater than what his car is capable of. 

As a grand prix winner, Gasly would have obvious appeal to Aston Martin - the tricky part would be getting him out of his Red Bull deal. Gasly has already been confirmed at AlphaTauri for the 2023 season, meaning Aston Martin would have to buy him out of his contract. 

Gasly has made it clear that he wants another opportunity at the front of the grid, and with seemingly no route back to the senior team, might the time have come for him to finally fly the Red Bull nest and look elsewhere? 

Daniel Ricciardo 

Like Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo also holds a contract for the 2023 season. The underperforming Australian recently reaffirmed his commitment to McLaren and one would imagine it would take a big money offer to get him. 

Despite his recent struggles, Ricciardo has obvious appeal, particularly from a commercial and marketable perspective thanks to his bright smile and personality. Such a hire could present a savvy business opportunity for Lawrence Stroll, while also capturing an eight-time grand prix winner to lead his team. 

However, for Ricciardo, such a move would perhaps make less sense. He has struggled to adapt at McLaren following his switch from Renault - where adaptation was also an issue. It would therefore seem highly unlikely that Ricciardo would want to go through another transitional period, particularly at this stage of his career. 

Mick Schumacher 

A wildcard option for Aston Martin could be to sign Mick Schumacher, who was already linked with Vettel’s seat well before he announced his retirement. 

The pair enjoy a close relationship and Schumacher is highly thought of by Vettel, who inferred ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix that he had suggested Schumacher as a candidate for Aston Martin. 

After a difficult start to his sophomore F1 season, Schumacher has turned a corner of late, highlighting his ability to bounce back from tough moments. The German has clear potential and has shown he can make impressive progress over time, as seen with his F2 title-winning campaign in 2020 following a slow start in the series. 

Filling the seat of his F1 mentor would be a big task for Schumacher and whether he is ready for such a challenge would likely pose Aston Martin’s biggest concern. 

Oscar Piastri 

Another alternative option for Aston Martin could be to offer Piastri the F1 chance he desires. 

If Alonso was to stay at Alpine alongside Esteban Ocon, the French manufacturer would need to find a suitable seat to place Piastri in so they do not lose the talented Australian. Alpine aside, Aston Martin would be the next most competitive seat Piastri could realistically land for 2023. 

Aston Martin would be an option to ensure Piastri gets on the F1 grid, but Alpine would be wary about potentially strengthening a rival team. 

Piastri would offer Aston Martin an exciting, if unproven option, though it would likely only be a short-term fix on loan. That would give Aston Martin longer to find a replacement for Vettel, but on the other hand, the team would surely prefer to have a driver whose future is in their control. 

Nyck de Vries 

If Aston Martin wanted a more attainable target, Nyck de Vries could be that candidate. 

The highly-rated 27-year-old has acted as Mercedes’ reserve driver in recent years and has already racked up some solid experience driving F1’s new generation cars in FP1 outings for Williams and Mercedes respectively. 

De Vries, who has won titles in both F2 and Formula E, is keeping his options open for the future with Mercedes set to leave Formula E at the end of next season, potentially leaving him without a drive. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has conceded that he “can’t help” de Vries find an F1 drive and said Mercedes may need to let him go. 

Williams have previously been considered as the most likely destination for de Vries in F1, but Aston Martin’s links to Mercedes could present the Dutchman with another option. 

Nico Hulkenberg 

One of the safest options for Aston Martin would be to offer Nico Hulkenberg a full-time return to F1. 

The 34-year-old German has carried out official reserve driver duties for Aston Martin for the past two seasons and would be a hassle-free replacement for Vettel, providing the team with vast experience and a solid pair of hands.

Hulkenberg has the benefit of already being embedded into the Aston Martin team, while he is also familiar with the team’s latest machinery, having deputised for Vettel twice this season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia when his compatriot contracted COVID-19.