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With the European part of the season approaching, F1's driver market will intensify, as drivers push to secure their future in the sport. 

Formula 1's driver market is understandably ruthless, with the standard throughout the grid being at such a high level.

This season, however, will be especially important as the current regulations will carry over until the next major change in 2026.

The following drivers will be among the most active this year, and are currently without a contract for 2023:

Albon, Alonso, Latifi, Perez, Schumacher, Stroll, Tsunoda, Vettel, Zhou

Typically, contract announcements begin around the summer break, meaning negotiations have likely begun,

Most recently, Otmar Szafnauer has confirmed Alpine will begin talks with Fernando Alonso following the British GP in mid-July.

Fernando Alonso will be an integral part of the driver market this season, as reigning F2 champion Oscar Piastri's future could depend on the Spaniard's decision. 

Alonso has already made clear he intends to continue in the sport, and whilst he sits on a disappointing two points after 5 rounds, this is not indicative of the speed the Spaniard continues to show. 

Should the double-world champion want to stay, it seems Alpine would turn him away.

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Piastri's next option could be at Williams, as Nicholas Latifi continues to struggle against the returning and rejuvenated Alex Albon. 

The driver market is like a game of dominoes, with one leading directly to the other. In this section of the market, involving Alpine and Williams, it seems the first domino is about to fall and set the market into motion. 


Over at Alfa Romeo and Alpha Tauri, decisions also need to be made. 

Yuki Tsunoda's start to 2022 has been solid, but with Juri Vips and Liam Lawson performing well in Formula 2, he must continue to perform.

Even Pierre Gasly, who is contractually bound to Alpha Tauri until the end of 2023, must again prove his ability and establish himself as irreplaceable. This is the nature of the Red Bull academy. 

Current Formula 2 championship leader Theo Pourchaire will target an F1 debut in 2023, but given the commercial value Zhou Guanyu adds to the team, this is anything but guaranteed. 

Aston Martin also has questions to answer, with Sebastian Vettel admitting he is uncertain whether he will continue in Formula 1. 

Aston's Team Principal - Mike Krack - has made clear the team intends to keep the quadruple champion, but this is hardly relevant. 

Ultimately, it is Sebastian Vettel who will decide his future and to what degree Aston Martin's project is worth being a part of. 

Given the Spanish GP's significance for development, drivers and teams will have a clearer picture of the pecking order - and can thus make more informed decisions on what the 2023 grid will look like.