It’s July which means F1 silly season is here in full force and folks, we’re all here for the rumors.
So far there are two teams that are set in stone for 2019. There is one team that is almost confirmed because frankly, they hate change and young driver. Then there are a bunch of teams where no one knows what the hell is going on or who will be in the car next season. One team doesn’t even know if they’ll have the same tax evading Indian owner when we get back from summer break.
Here is a definitive and comprehensive round-up of all the silly season rumors thanks to Apex Off correspondent Billiam Wuxton.
Lewis Hamilton and his $52M a year salary will be back for 2019 and 2020. Teammate Valtteri Bottas will also return with a deal for 2019 and a team option for 2020. Bottas is not making $52M or even the reverse $25M. But he’s at Mercedes so life isn’t too bad for the emotionless Finn in the emotionless German team.
Red Bull (Confirmed)
Max Verstappen is signed with through 2020. Daniel Ricciardo would love to leave Red Bull for Mercedes or Ferrari, unfortunately, they have drivers so the Aussie re-signed with the team that threatens to quit every year around this time. Red Bull have a massively talented lineup, they need a better car.
Ferrari (Half Confirmed)
Sebastian Vettel will die in red coveralls so he’s not going anywhere. Unless of course, he likes a teammate so much he’ll retire for him then come out of retirement three years later to drive for a German team. Seems unlikely a German would do that, however.
As for his teammate, it’s either going to be Kimi Raikkonen again or Sauber driver Charles Leclerc. Raikkonen is the safe choice and Ferrari loves the safe choice, he’s also still wildly quick and if he had the same spec engine as Vettel he would likely be giving the team fits. Leclerc is the impressive rookie with future World Champion speed he’s also part of the Ferrari young drivers academy. The downside to being apart of that academy, Ferrari has never used one in an F1 race seat. So it’s pretty pointless to be apart of that academy. Right now I’d put my money on Raikkonen.
Who the hell knows.
Fernando might be back. Stoffel Vandoorne could be back. McLaren is reeling, they’re a shell of their former self and they have no clue what is going on. Imagine giving a group of school children the reigns to an F1 team and saying figure it out. At least then you could like they’re school children, some still pee the bed, of course, they can’t run an F1 team.
If Stoffel is outed look for Carlos Sainz to get the nod assuming Toro Rosso doesn’t want him back. Sergio Perez is an outside candidate and thankfully for him Jenson Button is nailing a model in California so his career in Woking could last longer than a season.
Apparently, it’s assumed that current Force India driver Esteban Ocon is signed for next season despite being under contract with Mercedes.
If that’s true then that means Sainz is likely out. Renault desperately want Fernando Alonso back for a third stint with the French factory team but his salary is too high for them. Typical French.
Nico Hulkenberg will likely be back with Renault with Ocon.
The team holds an option on Sainz that runs out in September. If they pick up that option Sainz will have to return to Toro Rosso and put around with the Honda in the back of his car. If they don’t pick it up look for Toro Rosso to attempt to get Lando Norris on loan from McLaren.
Pierre Gasly is expected to return, as he should.
Stroll F1 is going to be a killer name.
Lance Stroll is linked with the team, linked so much there is some thought his dad may invest in the team. Stroll apparently wants Robert Kubica to partner him which would win everyone over. But there is some thought that Sergio Perez has already re-signed.
Force India is the most interesting team heading into the off season. Vijay Mallya has no money, he can’t leave the UK and he desperately needs to find a buyer. The asking price reportedly is very high as well.
Sauber has quickly became a proper B team to Ferrari making their race seats coveted for the first time since BMW donned the sides of their cars. If Leclerc moves to Ferrari that opens up a seat for another Ferrari driver.
Sauber said they are considering Kimi Raikkonen but it’s doubtful the 2007 World Champ would take a demotion. Antonio Giovinazzi is the likely choice to partner Marcus Ericsson assuming he stays.
Honestly, if they can find someone to pay them to drive the car that’s who is going to be in it. Claire Williams is a lovely soul but her brother should be running the team and not the heritage collection.
Anyone but Romain Grosjean.
Kevin Magnussen is assumed to be locked in for 2019 but the other seat is open. A lot of names have been rumored but you can be Ferrari will have some input.
That’s all for now. The summer break will bring some more answers assuming no one pulls a Rosberg and announces their retirement.
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