If you've been anywhere near social media in the past few weeks you'll know about the drama and rumours circulating McLaren in both F1 and IndyCar.
It's "silly season", meaning rumours for driver line-ups have begun to circulate. McLaren have signed Lando Norris on a long term deal, meaning that he is secure for the foreseeable future. Daniel Ricciardo on the other hand, hasn't been having the greatest time at McLaren. It is evident that he isn't comfortable with the car, and Carlos Sainz did say that the McLaren was tricky in its own right. Alongside this, he has had his fair share of bad luck in both machinery failure and also strategy. As time goes on, the amount of people speculating favouritism towards Norris has increased, and also with a driver like Ricciardo it would be ridiculous to question his talent. To the delight of Ricciardo fans, he recently posted a statement confirming he is committed to the end of 2023.
The McLaren replacement list is quite long and diverse, so let's go through the options. First up, one of the most unlikely rumours, Sebastian Vettel. It's safe to say that he is coming to the end of his career, but that doesn't mean he still isn't one of the best in the field. With his skillset and knowledge you could say it might work, but for a team that is looking for long term development, this probably isn't the best option.
Another option is Nick De Vries, who is a the reigning Formula E champion, 2019 Formula 2 champion, current reserve driver for Mercedes and McLaren, and third driver for Williams. You can't help but feel sorry for him as when he won the F2 championship it seemed fitting for him to move up, but this didn't happen. He has proved his talent but time isn't on his side.
The other talent who's name is in the mix is Oscar Piastri. Piastri has many accolades under his belt, winning F3 and F2 (by some margin) in consecutive years. He is another driver who should be sitting in a F1 seat but is instead reserve driver for Alpine and McLaren. With him being the second champion who hasn't immediately got a seat, the question whether F2 champions should be guaranteed a seat is asked. Whilst this would be amazing, it just isn't practical because money is a key factor in the sport with salary and sponsorships. Perhaps next season he will replace one of the underperforming drivers.
Moving across the pond we have Pato O'Ward and Colton Herta, both promising young drivers currently in IndyCar. Pato placed fourth in his rookie year in IndyCar, then found himself in the championship fight the following year to finish third. He bagged himself a test drive in the McLaren F1 car when he won his first race in IndyCar. Many fans are itching to see him in F1, but he has signed an extension for Arrow McLaren SP, we won't be seeing him for at least a few more years. Colton Herta recently signed a test and development driver contract for McLaren which definitely caused a buzz in the motorsport community. The 22 year old is incredibly talented and Zak Brown said he has plans for Herta, so maybe the 2024 season could be the one for him. With race winning machinery, the young pairing of Norris and Herta could prove a force to be reckoned with.
Let's not forget that McLaren are also entering Formula E, so with these drivers plus Felix Rosenqvist and potential IndyCar signing Alex Palou, options are endless.