2019 Formula 1 Silly Season Synopsis
Since the pair of announcements in August that shook the racing world, the Formula 1 silly season has taken a wild twist ever since with multiple surprising switches announced going into next year.
In this updated glance, we look through the shifts and changes in case you may have missed an announcement or two.
MERCEDES: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are both signed and secured for the future. Are we really surprised based on their success?
FERRARI: Sebastian Vettel is signed through 2020, but will see a new teammate with the squad promoting Charles Leclerc up the ladder. Leclerc spent this year with Sauber, scoring six top-10’s with a season-best seventh. The move came as a surprise as Kimi Raikkonen has performed well this season with 10 podiums, including his victory in the United States.
RED BULL: Daniel Ricciardo may be leaving, but Max Verstappen is staying and he will be joined by Pierre Gasly, who has posted three top-10’s this season with Toro Rosso, including a season-best fourth-place finish. The routine of promoting young drivers up through the system continues.
RENAULT: Daniel Ricciardo will be joining Nico Hulkenberg, who remains with the team after posting eight top-10’s in 12 races, including a season-best fifth just two races ago.
HAAS: After speculation the American team may change their line-up for 2019, that is not case as both drivers will return. Romain Grosjean has been with the organization the longest, but just four top-10’s this season brought speculation after team principal Guenther Steiner told F1.com recently that they have interest from drivers due to their increased performance. That guideline, by the way, has been established by Kevin Magnussen with eight points-scoring finishes, leaving him probable to remain with the team.
FORCE INDIA: The team’s finances have been leaving the seas questionable for awhile, but that looks to be solved, thanks to consortium of investors led by Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll. That easily makes you believe that Lance Stroll would be joining the team after driving for Williams. So what happens to Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez?
Ocon expressed enjoyment of being part of the rumor mill discussion previously, as he was glad to see people were interested in him beyond just the team he was racing for. However, with the possible rides being scooped up, his optimism wasn’t as strong last month.
“There are still hopes, yes, but less and less,” Ocon said ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix. “That’s a bit why I’m disappointed at the moment, to see that it’s not only results that come in play, it has to be other things. “It’s hard to believe that I was in a great position two months ago and things have gone that way now.”
Perez, meanwhile, stated that he has “a couple of options” but would not elaborate, either.
MCLAREN: Carlos Sainz now knows who his teammate will be, as it was announced at the beginning of September that F2 Championship front runner Lando Norris will join the team. The speculation began surrounding Norris after he drove Fernando Alonso’s car in the first practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Stoffel Vandoorne has yet to announce plans for 2019 but said he “will announce my plans for next season in due course” following 13 straight finishes outside of the to-10. As previously covered, Fernando Alonso announced that he will not compete in Formula 1 in 2019.
TORO ROSSO: If everything falls in place, you won’t see Pierre Gasly back with Toro Rosso in 2018. That leaves a lot of questions There’s still questions as Brendon Hartley’s future isn’t determined yet either. With only two top-10’s thus far this year, he hasn’t written himself the best proposal when you’re looking at a group that has a wide array of talent to choose from in the Red Bull motorsport junior program. But who could replace either driver? There hasn’t been many names mentioned openly quite yet.
SAUBER: Kimi Raikkonen will return to the team that he made his Formula 1 debut 17 years ago, and will be joined by a rookie driver. Antonio Giovinazzi has driven for Sauber at times this year and has strong connections via being Ferrari’s reserve driver.
Marcus Ericsson’s fate now remains up in the air with only claiming seven points to date in 2018.
WILLIAMS: A season full of struggles, combined with Lance Stroll’s father buying a stake into another team make you ask a lot of questions. The first of those has been answered as the team revealed George Russell will drive for them in 2019. Russell currently leads the F2 standings and impressed Mercedes testing in Budapest.
As far as the second driver, it’d be easy to see Stroll jump ship. So that’d leave Sergey Sirotkin, which should be confirmed soon as he originally signed a multi-year deal before his 2019, supposedly, but nothing has been made official. The other possibility is team reserve driver Robert Kubica, who has been doing whatever he can to try and get back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car.
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