Former McLaren F1 driver Vandoorne will join F2 champion Felipe Drugovich in Aston Martin’s driving roster next season, alongside his Formula E commitments with DS Penske.

The move means Mercedes have now lost both of their F1 reserve drivers, with Nyck de Vries being signed by AlphaTauri for a full-time seat next year.

However, given Aston Martin’s customer link to Mercedes, Vandoorne could still theoretically be available to the Silver Arrows if required.

Nevertheless, it creates an intriguing scenario for Mercedes, who have been heavily linked with signing Ricciardo in a reserve driver role after the Australian confirmed he will not be on the F1 2023 grid ollowing his McLaren departure. 

Ricciardo, who has also been linked with a return to Red Bull, confirmed he was in talks with teams about his plans for next year after finishing a strong seventh at the Mexico City Grand Prix.  

“I am talking to teams,” he told Sky Sports. “I still want to keep a foot in the door for 2024.

“Seeing the lights go out for race one, I will have an itch!”

What about Hulkenberg? 

The arrival of Drugovich and Vandoorne at Aston Martin also leaves question marks over the future of Nico Hulkenberg, who has served as Aston Martin’s reserve driver since 2021. 

Hulkenberg last raced full-time in F1 with Renault in 2019 but has made five substitute cameos for Racing Point and Aston Martin when their regular drivers were ruled out with COVID-19, most recently filling in for Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia at the start of the 2022 season. 

Aston Martin have not officially communicated Hulkenberg’s exit from the team, though the wording of their press release inferred he will not be part of their plans in 2023. 

“He [Vandoorne] will join Brazil’s Drugovich as a test and reserve driver - the pair dovetailing their duties across next year’s 24-race calendar,” it read. 

The 35-year-old German has been linked with the sole-remaining seat at Haas and is thought to be in direct competition with Mick Schumacher for the drive.