Rumors And Facts About ‘Silly Season’

2024 F1 Drivers Lineup.
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  • Formula 1’s 2023 ‘silly season’ was supposed to be a quiet one with most of the drivers signed for 2024.
  • But rumors have been circulating around Ferrari and Mercedes that could make Lewis Hamilton move on.
  • Below we take a look at driver status for the upcoming season in each team.

Formula 1’s ‘silly season’ 2023 is already heating up, with rumors swirling around the 2024 driver line-up.

Every year, the silly F1 season begins when rumors about next year’s line-up start to fly, eligible drivers start signing new contracts, and we start to get a better sense of what next season is going to look like.

This year’s driver change should have been uneventful, and the bigger question was whether uber-famous Daniel Ricciardo would return to the grid next season. But with Lewis Hamilton’s contract still in doubt and his struggles at Ferrari, there is an extraordinary number of rumors surrounding the top teams, suggesting there could be more action than expected.

All contract details from F1 unless otherwise noted.

1. Red Bull

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
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2023 squad (current tournament standing): Max Verstappen (1), Sergio Perez (2)

2024 Drivers under contract: Verstappen, Perez

what we know: Verstappen is under contract with the team until 2028, and Perez until 2024. However, that hasn’t stopped speculation that Perez may be on his way out thanks to the growing rivalry between the two drivers. Verstappen has won two championships with Perez’s help but shows little reciprocity, especially now that Perez has emerged as the strongest contender for the title.

However, it would be shocking if Red Bull split the dominant team’s lineup before 2025. However, with Perez failing to reach the podium in three consecutive races, rumors are raging that his seat is not safe and that the former Red Bull driver and current Red Bull driver could Support bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is in line as a replacement.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko told Austrian website ORF that they are keeping their options open and will use the upcoming tire test to assess Ricciardo’s capabilities.

Franz Tost, manager of Red Bull’s sister team Alpha Tauri, recently speculated that their driver, Yuki Tsunoda, would replace Perez, but not until 2025.

2. Mercedes

George Russell (left) and Lewis Hamilton.
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2023 squad (current tournament standing): Lewis Hamilton (4), George Russell (6)

2024 Drivers under contract: Russell

what we know: Hamilton’s contract, which was due to expire this year, was expected to be extended – possibly by $400 million. The deal was meant to be straightforward, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff hinting in January that it would be done “within a few hours” once the two sides are seated.

Five months later, Hamilton has yet to sign an extension. There was some speculation that a new deal would be announced before the Canadian Grand Prix, but that race has come and gone. According to the Daily Mail, Mercedes has rejected Hamilton’s request for a 10-year ‘ambassador’ deal worth $250m (£200m) when he retires from driving.

The Daily Mail also reports that Ferrari could make a move for Hamilton with boss John Elkann in direct contact with Hamilton and is preparing to offer $49.3m (£40m) a year to switch teams.

Hamilton could pressure Mercedes into making a more competitive car, Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle has speculated. However, if he does go out, early speculation from Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz is a driver swap with Ferrari for Charles Leclerc. One Italian reporter even described the discussions between Leclerc and Mercedes as an “open secret”.

3. Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso (right) and Lance Stroll.
Brian Lennon – Formula 1 / Formula 1 via Getty Images

2023 squad (current tournament standing): Fernando Alonso (3), Lance Stroll (8)

2024 Drivers under contract: Picnic, Alonso

what we know: Last year, Alonso’s switch to Aston Martin sparked a ridiculous Formula 1 season. However, this year should be a little quieter for the UK team. Alonso is on a “multi-year” deal until at least 2024. And as long as Lawrence Stroll is writing the checks, his son Lance Stroll’s seat seems safe.

In contrast to the Red Bull scenario, harmony seems to reign supreme at Aston Martin. The 41-year-old Alonso, a two-time champ, appears to be embracing his role as mentor to his younger teammate, Stroll.

4. Ferrari

Charles Leclerc (left) and Carlos Sainz.
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2023 squad (current tournament standing): Carlos Sainz (5), Charles Leclerc (7)

2024 Drivers under contract: Leclerc, Sainz

what we know: At this point last season, Ferrari and Leclerc looked like they were ready to challenge Red Bull and Verstappen for F1 supremacy. But things fell apart, and the team continued to slump this season.

According to the Daily Mail, if Ferrari were to land Hamilton, they would prefer to pair him with Leclerc, and move Sainz to a third team. However, they are also said to be open to letting Leclerc jump to Mercedes in a driver swap.

Sainz is signed through the 2024 season but, in a recent interview, suggested he will look at other options this winter if he doesn’t get an extension.

“I don’t want to lie,” Sainz told “I don’t like to start the season knowing it’s the last year of my contract. I want to know what’s ahead for me in the long term.”

5. Alps

Esteban Ocon (left) and Pierre Gasly.
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2023 squad (current tournament standing): Pierre Gasly (10), Esteban Ocon (9)

2024 Drivers under contract: Akon, Gasly

what we know: Ocon is under contract until the 2024 season. Gasly joined Albin this season on a “multi-year” contract. The French squad is expected to continue its all-French squad for at least another year.

6. McLaren

Lando Norris (left) and Oscar Piastri.
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2023 squad (current tournament standing)Lando Norris (11), Oscar Piastri (14)

2024 Drivers under contract: Norris, Piastri

what we know: Norris extended his contract with McLaren in 2022 until 2025. However, he opened the door to speculation of an early divorce when he said he was “not the most patient man” amid struggles on the track.

With the potential opening of Alfa Romeo if Zhou Guanyu does not extend his contract, Norris could theoretically join, although it seems like a step backwards for a driver of his talent. Alternatively, Norris could be an option for Red Bull if Verstappen and Perez’s relationship is beyond repair.

Piastri was at the center of an absurd 2022 season when both McLaren and Alpine claimed they had him under contract, but Formula 1 ultimately ruled in McLaren’s favor, signing him until 2024.

7. Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas (left) and Zhou Guanyu.
Peter J Fox / Getty Images

2023 squad (current tournament standing): Valtteri Bottas (t14), Zhou Guanyu (16)

2024 Drivers under contract: Bottas (maybe)

what we knowBottas, in his second year with Alfa Romeo, signed a “multi-year” contract with the team when he left Mercedes. Some reports say the contract keeps him with the team until the 2025 season.

Cho has signed an extension for this season but is not under contract for next year. It is not known at this time if the team plans to look for another driver.

8. Haas

Nico Hulkenberg (left) and Kevin Magnussen.
Rudi Kerzivoli / Getty Images

2023 squad (current tournament standing): Nico Hulkenberg (13), Kevin Magnussen (17)

2024 Drivers under contract: no one

what we know: Magnussen’s contract expires after the season, and Haas could look to move on to someone else. Despite his strong start to the 2022 season when he was reinstated to the grid at the last minute, K-Mag has only scored points three times in the last 19 races.

Hulkenberg has only scored points in one race this season. According to F1, it is believed that both Hulk and the team have options on his contract for next season, although the team could still make another decision.

At the very least, expect team boss Guenter Steiner to once again weigh all his options in the driver market before committing to any of his current drivers.

9. Williams

Alex Albon (left) and Logan Sargent.
Francois Niel/Getty Images

2023 squad (current tournament standing)Alex Albon (12), Logan Sargeant (t19)

2024 Drivers under contract: Albon

what we knowWilliams announced last season that Albon had signed a multi-year extension to stay with the team, as expected.

Sargeant, in his first season with Williams on a one-year contract, showed glimpses of pace on the track but did not score in the first eight races with only one finish above 16th. However, his unique position as the only American on the grid at a time when teams are fighting for the American market provides him with some job security.

10. Alpha Tauri

Nick de Vries (left) and Yuki Tsunoda.
Rudi Kerzivoli / Getty Images

2023 squad (current tournament standing): Yuki Tsunoda (t17), Nyck de Vries (19)

2024 Drivers under contract: no one

what we knowRed Bull surprised many in 2023 when they emerged from their aggressive rookie driver program to sign former Formula E and Formula E champion de Vries, a 28-year-old rookie, to replace Gasly. With de Vries having a difficult start, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko said that if results do not improve, then Red Bull junior drivers Ayumu Iwasa or Liam Lawson could replace de Vries midway through the season, quelling speculation that Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo could return. To race with the sister team.

Tsunoda has shown improvement this season and has better control of his temper. Toast’s prediction that Tsunoda would eventually be promoted to Red Bull includes a strategy to keep him at AlphaTauri for the near future. However, Tsunoda has recently said he is willing to leave the Red Bull family if a main team seat is not available and that means a chance to drive for a more competitive team.

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