Russell out? Schumacher to Haas? What’s behind the 2021 silly season rumours

2021 F1 season

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During ‘normal’ Formula 1 years the driver market would be largely settled by mid-October. But 2020 F1-style is far from ‘normal’, having started in July and currently being two-thirds through.

Rumours about who goes where for the 2021 F1 season have therefore emerged later in the year than might be expected. But, if anything, it’s all the wilder for it, with claims Nico Hulkenberg is front-runner to partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull and Sergio Perez linked to replacing George Russell at Williams.

Could they get any wilder? Sure: Pierre Gasly has also been tipped to oust Esteban Ocon at Renault, while Mick Schumacher’s F1 debut is rumoured to happen not with Alfa Romeo, as widely predicted, but Haas.

As always, most of the suppositions are unlikely to come to pass although some solid reasoning usually lies behind them. The trick is to filter the feasible from the fanciful by examining the various contributory factors that gave rise to conjecture in the first place. Such factors are seldom obvious, and never was this better evidenced than by Carlos Sainz Jnr’s shock mid-season move to Renault in 2017.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Perez is quick and brings funding
That arose because Toro Rosso wanted out of its Renault engine deal to go with Honda, with their well-rated driver’s services demanded as (part) pay-off. With Gasly’s stock sky-high in France after his shock Monza win – the first for a Frenchman since 1996 – it would be no surprise to learn he is on Renault’s wish list, particularly as the team is rebranding to its performance sub-brand Alpine for 2021.

Would Red Bull willingly release Gasly? The answer may lie in the same commodity as lay at the root of the Sainz exchange: Engines. With Honda exiting at the end of 2021, Red Bull is searching for engines for its both teams, and Gasly could form part of the arrangement. If he moves, expect an engine deal to follow; if not, a more complex deal, with or without Renault, is likely.

Ocon? In September 2019 Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff confirmed the team, which mentored Esteban, has a drawback option after 2022, so he could be benched for another year (as in 2019) or ‘loaned’ to engine customer Williams as replacement for Nicolas Latifi, who is unlikely to stay at Williams after the recent change of ownership. With Hamilton still yet to sign on the line for 2021 and beyond, having Ocon on standby makes a lot of sense for Mercedes.

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What of suggestions that Sergio Perez could replace George Russell (or Latifi)? As incoming owner Dorilton Capital obviously aims to balance the books sooner rather than later, having a proven and funded driver is clearly attractive. Given teams have two primary revenue streams – prize money (via points) and sponsorship – a driver able to supply both is an obvious target.

Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, Nurburgring, 2020
Hulkenberg has impressed in his substitute role
That said, Red Bull needs much the same: a driver able to keep Verstappen on his toes, and if he adds to team coffers, so much the better. Folk scoff at Red Bull ‘needing’ money, but it’s easy to overlook that every cent spent on F1 by Red Bull effectively comes out of the back pocket of proprietor Dietrich Mateschitz, who is no dunce when it comes to marketing.

Based on their records, Hulkenberg and Perez are able to deliver similar results but the former has no funding to speak off. Do the maths: same points, but one brings, say, $15 million, whereas the other costs $5m – a swing of $20m. Who to go for? As always with highly successful businesses the mantra is cost-effectiveness.

But the choice may not be that simple. The Red Bull drink is based on a Thai family-owned recipe provided to Mateschitz under agreement. There are imperatives to keep the Thai faction sweet, and perceptions among the media are that the team’s comments about Thai driver Albon are more indulgent than they were towards Gasly under similar circumstances a year ago. Thus, there may be no change.

Formula 2 championship leader Mick Schumacher is widely tipped to make his F1 debut next year with one of the Ferrari customer teams – but which? The explanation for this begins with Haas.

Team principal Guenther Steiner is known to have met with Dmitry Mazepin, Russian chemicals oligarch and father of F2 race-winner Nikita, in Sochi. According to Russian sources the main talk was of placing a Russian with the team: Either (but not both) Mazepin or Ferrari Driver Academy member Robert Shwartzman.

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That would leave a second seat vacant as Haas is believed unlikely to retain its current line-up of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean. Asked by RaceFans whether Haas could race with two rookies in 2021, Steiner said: “Anything is possible.”

Mick Schumacher, Alfa Romeo, Nurburgring, 2020
Mick Schumacher was supposed to test for Alfa Romeo
While the popular money is on Schumacher going to Alfa Romeo – a view intensified by his planned practice outing for them at the Nurburgring, which was cancelled due to the weather – internal sources at the Sauber-run team have advised that Ferrari is more likely to place the son of their legendary world champion with Haas. (This would be the reverse of Schumacher’s FDA predecessor Charles Leclerc, who made his first practice outings for Haas before arriving in F1 with Sauber.)

Why so? Due to commercial pressures resulting from Ferrari’s currently poor performance, which is unlikely to improve in the short to medium term. Haas receives non-listed parts, powertrains and other components from Ferrari, and has a wind tunnel usage deal with the Scuderia, all of which are up for renewal – initially this year, but delayed to the end of 2022 due to Covid-19 and the resultant roll-over of the current sporting and technical regulations.

Haas has very little in the way of own facilities, having listed parts produced by Dallara. This makes it ripe for plucking by a team seeking a satellite-type arrangement – to wit Renault, which admits to being open to such an arrangement. Haas’s business model perfectly fits the bill, and while there may be disruptions, the team has over a year to prepare – forget not that originally it needed over a year to gear up.

Mazepin tested for Mercedes last year
Therefore, says our source, Ferrari are likely to offer Schumacher to Haas to keep them sweet by providing a ‘name’ to use for sponsorship purposes, thereby boosting Haas’s coffers and indirectly reducing the contract cost. It makes sense: Haas with Schumacher, boosted by Mazepin roubles, could provide the stability the team is seeking.

While some or even most of these scenarios may come to pass, the flipside could as easily apply: Williams retains its driver line-up, Albon stays put and Haas take in one rookie and retain one of their old hands (or Perez/Hulkenberg).

The point, though, is that each of the scenarios outlined above has solid political or commercial foundations, which is why any of them could occur if the stars align for a particular driver. If not, at last three worthy candidates for F1 seats will sit out 2021, which surely proves that F1 desperately needs 12 teams, not its current 10.

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2021 F1 season

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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174 comments on “Russell out? Schumacher to Haas? What’s behind the 2021 silly season rumours”

  1. Having kept myself a bit away from F1 and/or motorsport websites over the week other than this one, I did hear some about a few of these but not quite sure what to make of all of them. Thanks @dieterrencken for giving a solid overview of what’s in them, how they might make sense, or not so much.

    1. Do the maths: same points, but one brings, say, $15 million, whereas the other costs $5m – a swing of $20m.

      Perez races for free?

      1. Checo’s salary comes out of his sponsorship package, say $20M, $15M to the team, $5M for the driver. I suspect the same for Latifi and to some degree Sainz.

      2. Maybe paid by his sponsors rather than the team?

      1. If you want to apply to a position you should provide more detail than just one word. We believe your qualification, but more context would be helpful.

  2. Revealing and comprehensive as usual, @dieterrencken.

      1. English being second language for me…I had to google this one :-)

        1. English being first language for me…I had to google this one :-)

        2. @gpfacts I am betting that Simple Simon had to google it too ;) :)

  3. F1 currently doesn’t feel like a battle between the worlds top drivers.

    Maybe this could be a solution:

    Have a three race, equal machinery series towards the end of the season between all current F1 drivers.
    The bottom 5 drivers lose their drives.
    These drives are taken up by the top 5 drivers in an equivalent race series between drivers with sufficient superlicence points who apply to enter F1.

    Teams who’s drivers don’t make the cut need to enter a bidding war for the new 5 drivers.

    1. I agree with the overall philosophy of this. There should be a drop out and promotion thing, not just for drivers but maybe even teams. All in sync with F2 and F3. Make them fight to stay in. Make them fight to get there. And make sure every year brings something new

      1. On the Marbles
        19th October 2020, 16:36

        Teams have to make significant investments in equipment and personell, they have to obtain sponsors, and negotiate supplier contracts, many of those investments and deals will have timescales beyond the end of a season. Such a situation for teams is likely to make it harder for them to get the best staff, to negotiate good deals or plan investments. It would lead to extreme short-termism, and a situation that exacerbated the differences in performance between top teir teams and those lower down the grid; the best staff only considering top teams and an inability to make long-term investment plans. Frankly it’s a ridiculous proposition.
        If there are any teams in ‘lower’ categories desperate to move up then they can do so now by coughing up the readies or buying out an existing team, maybe they don’t want to…..

        That’d kill F1 quicker than it’s killing itself currently, is that what you want? Cos that’s what’ll happen…

    2. @twentyseven It’s a team sport.

      Also, part of the driver’s job is to help develop the car by giving feedback and motivating the team.

      1. @f1osaurus It’s different to most team sports. Take drivers and engineers, engineers are hired based on ability alone whereas drivers are hired based on ability, sponsorship and sometimes notoriety (not just data as you suggested @dmw). This has the effect of diluting the talent within the teams. What I’m suggesting would force teams to hire drivers based on skill alone, removing the cooperate element of the decision making process.

        1. @twentyseven Drivers are part of the team. We also don’t swap the goalie between football teams.

    3. I would love to see a scrimmage among drivers in the same car. But it would be for our entertainment. Before choosing drivers, team pore over vast amounts of performance data and apply complex analytical methods to measuring performance. I don’t think they will look at these data and say, we preferred Gasly but Ocon beat him in identical Porsche GT3s, so I guess we got it wrong.

      1. This was what the old IROC series was for. It was a spec car and drivers from all series. It ended up being too much of an oval/nascar focus but it would be awesome to see a version of it get resurrected.

    4. The spirit of this is actually quite easy. Base the drivers points on a KF1 kart based class run every weekend of F1 races. The F1 races would be for manufacturer points. Some F1 venues already have kart tracks, and those that do not can easily setup temporary kart tracks.

      All F1 drivers come up through top tier karting, be it KF1 or akin to KF1.

      This would improve both the purity of drivers points and the purity of manufacturer points. As-is, from a pure game theory and sporting POV, F1 is silly. I know…it always has been and tradition would say keep it so, but F1 was born not really so long ago. Tradition to keep things silly, sports-wise, is not a strong argument.

    5. No team can keep an unchanged driver lineup for more than two consecutive years. That would solve a few issues.

      1. Like Red Bull keeps doing in last few seasons ? It sound making more issues instead.

    6. That would lead to drivers’ careers being ruined by a single mechanical failure, or another driver torpedo’ing them through no fault of their own.

      The solution is simpler: rotating drivers through the cars across the whole season. It would only require some minor standardisation of steering wheels and seat fittings. It would give each driver an equal chance in the WDC.

  4. This is a fantastic article, they all seem possible based on the reasoning.

  5. I know you have inside track, that said I can’t see a couple things. rb wanting to be associated with checos sponsors, or have them occupy a significant portion of the car. I can see them wanting Checo or Hulk though I cannot see them going for perez big sponsors.
    Saying that Dorilton wants to balance their checks yet Latifi is unfavoured is a contradition.
    All interesting all very likely. Nothing sounds outlandish.
    I can even see Tsunoda getting the call even though Honda is gone.

    1. @peartree Honda will still be around next year, so zero impact on what happens with next season. Honda leaving F1 after 2021 won’t have any effect on Tsunoda’s chances anyway as he’s, after all, a Red Bull-backed driver, which is more relevant than the Honda-backing in this context.

      1. Honda backing is much more significant. He probably got his RBR JR status via Honda.

  6. I’d be astonished if Russell was left without a drive for 2021. Mercedes are starting to get a bit of a reputation for mismanaging their young talent. Wehrlein was dropped after a very promising few years, Ocon was left on the sidelines and now seems to have aligned with a rival team (and isn’t actually performing too well). Two very highly thought of young drivers who have quite quickly slipped off the radar of the top teams in F1. George Russell seems at least as good as either of them and it would be an atrocity, in my opinion, for him to not at least be on the grid (even in a Williams!).

    Again, this points to the need for more teams in F1 to support the wealth of talent around it. There are around 30 drivers I could name who should be in Formula One, in some way or another.

    Schumacher, Illot, Tsunoda and Shwartzman are exciting prospects as well, but I do wonder if the F2 field is a slightly lower calibre this year than in previous (just a hunch).

    1. @ben-n wasn’t that because the comparison between Wehrlein and Ericsson when the two were at Sauber was not completely flattering for Wehrlein, considering that Wehrlein reportedly had a slight weight advantage over Ericsson (Ericsson reportedly being slightly over the minimum weight limit, whereas Wehrlein was at the minimum weight limit)? There were also suggestions that Wehrlein was a little difficult to work with, and it does have to be said that the manner in which he quit Mahindra in Formula E does kind of fit into that picture (quitting with little warning so he could go to Porsche instead).

      1. @anon Drivers didn’t have a weight limit until 2019.

        1. @jerejj that wasn’t what I was referring to – I was referring to the overall weight limit of car and driver that was in force at the time.

          It was reported at the time that, because Sauber’s chassis was initially quite heavy, Ericsson, as the heavier of the two drivers, was about 8kg over the minimum combined weight limit of car and driver. Meanwhile, as Wehrlein was a slightly lighter driver, his combined weight was basically just on the minimum combined weight limit, giving him that 8kg advantage over Ericsson.

      2. Wehrlein and Mahindra parted ways on very friendly terms; it was only because of the immediate development of the following season’s powertrain that he left mid-season but both have said there’s no bad blood.

        Wehrlein has a very unfair reputation as ‘difficult’ but if you speak to anyone who has worked with him, in FE or F1, I have never heard anyone say anything but glowing things about him and my own experience of him is that he’s very sweet and hardworking. I’ve only ever heard about him being ‘difficult’ as third-hand, ‘of course, everyone knows this’ rumour.

    2. Wehrlein was pretty average, as is Ocon. They both wouldn’t be faster than Bottas at Mercedes right now. Russel might be good/better, but it’s tough to tell against the teammates he’s had.

    3. @ben-n Russel has a contract for 2021 though. He has a three year deal from 2019 to 2021. Which is even cited as a (or even “the”) reason why he was not moving to Mercedes for 2021.

      1. Russel has a contract? Perez had a contract to.

    4. This years F2 is packed with talent compared to last year and the year before that. We are looking at a potential 4-5 Formula 1 drivers, who didnt pay they way. Vips, Shwartzman, Tsunoda, Lundgaard and Schumacher. Lundgaard despite his talent will have a hard time finding a seat though because he is with Renault and ART havent been a top drive this season. Hence 4 drivers.

  7. Russell being without a drive would be criminal, frankly.

    Is Mick ready for F1? Only one way to find out, I guess… No one is going to miss Giovinazzi and Kimi has been keeping seats warm too long already (unpopular opinion, I know).

    Gasly going to Renault against Alonso will bring him terrible flashbacks of being up against Max – Ocon might well be feeling like he dodged a bullet.

    I’ve always been a Hulk fan, since that Williams pole in Brazil, but he flattered by being up against Palmer, wasn’t connivingly faster than Sainz, and thoroughly beaten by Ricciardo, so to end up in a top seat would seem a bit unwarranted imo.

    1. Is Mick ready for F1?

      He won the F3 championship, if he wins the F2 championship I would say “yes”.

      1. @geemac I agree with @zann, Even if Mick wins F2, he should have won in his first season. Like Leclerc and Russel. Or longer ago, Hamilton, Rosberg and Hulkenberg

        Otherwise you get drivers like Gasly (needed 3 attempts to win), Palmer (lots of attempts), Grosjean (many attempts) Albon (only 3rd on the second try), Latifi (2nd after numerous attempts), Ericsson (many attempts and never even in the top 3), Perez (2nd on second attempt), Maldonado (won at second attempt). Decent some of them, but also not really top level.

        1. Funny enough exactly the same reason Verstappen management wanted a guaranteed F1 seat after being 3rd in F3.
          Junior categories are just too much of a risk, so they skipped the Mercedes offer, and went for red bull (which incidentally also has a harsh, but excellent development and coaching program for young drivers).

          1. I think it was more that they felt he could learn on the job in F1 too rather than “waste” time in F2.

        2. @f1osaurus Maldonado won on his fourth attempt, not second. He drove in GP2 from 2007-10. Gasly won on his second attempt, not third, he drove in GP2 from 2015 to 2016.

          1. @wsrgo If you say Maldonado had 4 attempts, then Gasly had 3 though. 2014-2016.

            Not sure what the point of this is though. Does it change anything of what I was saying?

          2. @f1osaurus Gasly raced in GP2 for two seasons. In 2014, he raced in Formula Renault 3.5.

          3. @f1osaurus The point of this is a fact-check. I could go around saying Michael Schumacher has 69 poles, that wouldn’t make it true.
            Maldonado had three full seasons, and in 2007 (his first season in GP2) he started as a full-time GP2 driver but missed the last four rounds because of a collarbone injury. Gasly attempted just three weekends at the end of 2014, he had no pre-season testing or anything else to get prepared for a full season, while Pastor did have all that in 2007.
            Also, if your point is that only drivers who challenge for the GP2 title in their first year should get F1 chances, by that logic Antonio Giovinazzi is better than Sergio Perez and Pierre Gasly. He’s also better than Lando Norris, who failed to take the fight to George Russell, while Giovinazzi was close to Gasly right till the end of the season.

          4. @wsrgo Yes that changes everything. Wow. Oh wait no, you simply wasted even more time.

          5. @jerejj Gasly participated in 6 GP2 races in 2014. Where do you draw the line? Who actually cares about drawing a line actually since the only relevant point I was making is that they didn’t win in the first try.

          6. @f1osaurus Did you even read my point on Giovinazzi lol.

          7. @wsrgo Did Giovinazzi win the title in his first season? Nope, so indeed I didn’t see a “point”

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        19th October 2020, 15:58

        He took 2 years to bed into both so I don’t expect fireworks next year, or maybe even the year after with the big regs change

    2. The problem with Mick @joeypropane is that Charles is only 23 and so any trajectory within Ferrari puts Mick up against him. Is Mick really in that class? Charles got pole in his first ever F2 race, never looked back, had pole after pole and won the championship very easily in his rookie year and was the youngest ever. Mick in his first year was 12th.

      So do Ferrari really want Son of Schumi to end up in the role of Massa/Barrichello/Irvine? That’s the barrel they’re staring down, when they start thinking about it.

      So Haas looks quite sensible, from that point of view doesn’t it: it’s lower profile than Alfa Romeo and easier to quietly shuffle him sideways or out before that PR nightmare can come to pass.

    3. thoroughly beaten by Ricciardo

      @joeypropane That’s because Renault was screwing up his race strategy at every venue. Quali was pretty close IIRC.

      1. @paeschli @joeypropane
        His race pace was actually closer to Daniel than his qualy pace, he often kept him honest, right till their last race together in Abu Dhabi 2019. Daniel is a faster driver than Hulkenberg, few will doubt that, but “thoroughly beaten by Ricciardo” is a bit of an exaggeration.

        wasn’t connivingly faster than Sainz

        @joeypropane Also, you can’t say both this and that Hulk was trounced by Ricc at the same time without contradicting yourself. Hulk’s advantage over Sainz in qualy (16-9) and points (77-59) was similar to Ricc’s advantage over Hulk in qualy (14-7) and points (54-37). I’m not sure about races finished ahead (Ricc might have had a stronger advantage over Hulk than Hulk did over Sainz in that regard) but still, your statement here is a bit odd.

  8. One question I have with regards to Mazepin and Haas – how does the source of his fathers’ funding combine with EU, and especially USA sanctions on Russian companies and people? Wouldn’t that make a deal more complicated?

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      20th October 2020, 9:49

      I was thinking the exact same thing, Gene Haas is also a Republican and I wouldn’t just be surprised but I’d be shocked to see a Russian whose father is a chemical producer in one of his cars.

  9. Dropping Russell would be a real shame, atleast with Perez on his side he can judged properly for his performance.

  10. I’m not sure I completely understand what the article says. Ferrari wants to place Schumacher at Haas, because they want to keep Haas in their wheelhouse and use him to convince Haas to remain with them, otherwise they are afraid Renault might poach the team for themselves? (I mean I understand the rationale behind this, but I’m not sure that’s what Dieter means)

    1. Yes. That’s what he’s saying.

  11. There are a lot of permutations out there, but if I was team principal of the following teams this is what I’d do:

    Haas – I’d be trying my hardest to get both Hulkenberg and Perez signed up.

    Williams – I’d retain Russell and try to get either Perez or Hulkenberg.

    Alfa Romeo – I’d be writing a goodbye to Giovinazzi and would be pushing FDA hard to get Mick Schumacher, with Schwartzman or Ilott as a reserve driver.

    Renault – I’d stick with Ocon, he’s got talent. Give him one more season.

    Red Bull / Alpha Tauri – Keep Gasly and Albon in their current seats for one more season to let them build a bit of confidence.

    1. If drivers with a seat for 2021 (Russel and Ocon) don’t lose their seat, my dream scenario for next year would be:
      Williams keeps both current drivers
      Renault gets Alonso and Ocon
      Alpha Tauri gets Gasly and Albon (so we can finally see who is the best)
      Red Bull gets Hulkenberg and Verstappen
      Haas gets Swartzmann and Perez
      Alfa Romeo gets Raikkonen and Schumacher
      I’m curious how far off I end up being.

      1. I agree with all the above, except I would like to see Ilott replace Latifi in the Williams. British driver who deserves a seat on merit might be just what Williams need to get them out of the doldrums.

      2. I strongly believe Perez prefers to take a sabbatical or go to Indy before driving for Haas, I think he is waiting for the Red Bull call, maybe would go to Williams, if that call never arrives.

  12. What i ‘heard’ on several Silly seasons rumours is:

    Mercedes – Lewis Bottas
    Red Bull – Max and Hulk
    Alpha tauri – Ablon and the honda guy
    Ferrari – Charles and Sainz
    Alfa romeo – Kimi and MIck
    Austin Martin – Lance and Vettel
    Haas – Ilott and Schwartzman
    Williams – Perez and Latifi
    Alpine – Alonso and Gasly
    McLaren – Daniel and Lando

    1. That would be quite exciting, but I would definitely miss Russell. I wish someone would snatch him from Mercedes, they don’t deserve the young talent. He would be an amazing partner for Norris at McLaren, even though the Danny Ric option is more than promising.

      I’m all for Callum Illot getting the seat, but not so sure about Robert Schwartzmann. He needs one or two more seasons in lower series, he’s not so consistent yet.

      1. Russell takes a 1 year reserve driver role as 1 driver is going to be replaced in 2022 in a certain team what i heard but it are rumours (except Kimi and Mick that is certain)

    2. If the newest team on the grid that always struggles to progress over the season got a rookie line up, I don’t know how bad it would be.

      No matter what people think, I think Grosjean and Magnussen have helped more than you realise. If the team is to even replace one of their drivers, it needs to be one who has been in F1 for some time IMO.

      1. The team has gone backwards every year while keeping the same drivers for 4 years… @thegianthogweed

        They should have fired their current line-up years ago

        1. OK, i won’t say what they should do, but I will say that they know more than us and will have good enough reasons for keeping these drivers as longs as they have. Neither have much money coming their way by the look of it so the team must have some faith in them, especially Grosjean since he’s driven for them the entire time they have been in F1.

          I think it is quite possible that they may keep Grosjean. If they do, most people who don’t actually know about the team as they are not part of it will probably think that is ridiculous, but as I imply, the team know more than us.

          Anyway, the team going backwards is more to do with the fact the entire team is relevantly new and not good at progressing. It takes far far more that just the drivers to move things forward. The drivers are only a very small part of their problems.

          1. And this year they also have the wonderful Ferrari PU…..

        2. What is this? Some Trump fake news?

          Haas went up from 16-18 then in 19 they went backwards in a horrible way and now again in 20 because of the engine. So no Haas as a team havent gone backwards for 4 years.

    3. Id love to see an Austin Martin on the grid !

      1. I’ve seen austin-healeys on the track in the round up several times, but don’t know what that is! :D

    4. I would love to see Toto’s reaction to both his drivers being dropped at the last minute, and Ferrari getting 3 young drivers in.

    5. @macleod The Honda guy, LOL. Austin Martin also.

      1. Sorry i couldn’t remember his name when i wrote that! Tsunoda offcourse i am terrible with names you should hear me speaking some names i really am a american butching names.

    6. F1 groupies flock like sheep around certain themes. One is that Hulkenberg is fast when he holds the records for no podiums. Another is that Russell is fast with no proof. I don’t rate either based on available evidence.

  13. Interesting. Hope Russell does not get the boot. Would be cool to see Perez team up with him at Williams then we will probably get the first real indication of how good he is.

  14. Quite an interesting set of speculations. When it comes to the 2021 grid, I’d like to see:

    Mercedes: Hamilton, Bottas (Ok, Russell should already have had the contract for next season, but Mercedes’ playing it safe and they will potentially cut off another young talent)
    Red Bull: Verstappen and Ülkenbeeeerhh, of course
    McLaren: Danny Ric might really bring the team to the next level, looking forward to his partnership with Norris
    Aston Martin: Seb and Lance
    Alpine: Gasly, Alonso
    Ferrari: Leclerc and Sainz
    Alpha Tauri: Albon, Tsunoda
    Alfa Romeo: Kimi and Mick
    Haas: Perez and Illot
    Williams: Russell, Latifi

    1. @pironitheprovocateur Russel has a 3 year contract with Williams ending after 2021. So he was held to that contract.

      1. so, you are new to F1?
        Contracts and F1 .. only paper. And money buys everything..

    2. Dolph Lundgrenade
      20th October 2020, 0:14

      I’ll say it. Lewis should retire. He beat the record. Good job mate. Best car every year and now considered a saint/God. I’m over it and I know many others are too. If cars were the same or similar, he wouldn’t have half of those wins. He’s a great for sure but max and company are as good.

      1. Indeed, I like the “he wouldn’t have half those wins point” cause from what I saw he was around 20 wins before joining the dominant mercedes, while other drivers like schumacher managed a lot more without dominant cars (I’m obviously excluding wins in dominant years even for others).

        1. Finally, 2/3rd way down the page and someone finally pitches the (obvious.?) idea that Lewis is due to exit.
          If Mercedes wants to improve their overall standing in the community and save quite a bundle of $$$, then see Lewis off and bring in anyone else. Russel would be an excellent choice. He drove a Mercedes in testing last year and topped the sheets if I recall.
          Even with a Russel on board, Bottas should win the championship and the PR bonus for promoting a “junior”, well let’s say you can’t buy that kind of publicity.

          1. Nice try. Hamiltons dominance is giving mercedes the best possible publicity. And he fights for human rights too now. I dont see hamilton retiring until HE wants to retire, not when haters wish him to.

  15. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    19th October 2020, 13:53

    I think the only thing we know for sure is that Russell isn’t going to Haas next year:)

    1. For sure…. contracts in F1 doesn’t say much and i think it’s something Mercedes would do before swapping drivers. (they do it with Ocon too)

  16. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    19th October 2020, 14:12

    I mean, I do get binning Grosjean, as he really doesn’t add anything to the entire grid at this point. Constant complaining, terrible ‘actions’ on track. He’s had his time.

    But what about Magnussen? Would such a relatively experienced driver who shows no mercy not be something for the likes of Red Bull? They do have the image of ‘we dont care’ with Verstappen, so why not add to that. Magnussen does come with quite some experience from previous teams and I honestly think that if he didn’t drive his current leaking bathtub of a car, he’d be doing quite good.

    Sure, he’s not the most liked person on the grid and some of his actions are questionable (to say the least), but he does have character.

    1. @barryfromdownunder

      It seems they play Grosjean’s complaints more than other drivers because he got known for it. Most of the time you hear him on the radio, it is him complaining, but when you read in to many of the things he says that are not broadcast, he is often praising the team for the progress they have made since friday, or describing the problems which helps the team get it right. He is very knowledgable in this area and quite possibly better than most. He has been in the sport for around 10 years after all.

      And what specific track actions are you talking about? Recently, he’s been following the rules better than most drivers and he hasn’t had a single penalty point in the past 12 months. I think there are only 3 or 4 other drivers on the grid that have gone that long without any over this period.

      When you are comparing magnussen to him, if you look at this season and the previous one very closely, Magnussen really hasn’t been better than him. It would only have taken Brazil and Grosjean not to have his MGU-k failure in Brazil, and he would have matched magnussen in the standings – despite still having 4 more DNFs than him! Most things you say about Magnussen should also be relevant to Grosjean, only he has yet more experience.

      Grosjean is not a very consistent driver, but he is far better than he was early on in 2018. I think his 7 retirements last year (Only one was partly his fault) and a pretty terrible car has made him look far worse than he actually is from most people’s view over the past couple of years.

      I think since he’s been with the team from the beginning that it would make more sense to keep him than magnussen. But both are better than people give them credit for IMO.

      Now I don’t disagree with your point about Magnussen possibly being pretty good in a better team, I just think Grosjean would be better than him. When the Haas is at it’s best, grosjean is usually quite clearly the better of the two.

      1. Both are Haas beens. I do like Kevin’s aggressive style, I know its not for every blesspoppet on here but timidity is a dull trait. However they have both a had a really good run considering and a shake up might be the easiest pill to swallow at a team that not so long ago were fighting for best of the rest but now seem utterly lost.

    2. Magnussen wasn’t good enough for McLaren and Renault but would be good enough for Red Bull? Come on @barryfromdownunder

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        19th October 2020, 20:30

        Yeah, because both those teams have had a great history when it comes to ‘good enough’ drivers.

        1. could be but they would go with Perez first then Hulk and then maybe Magnussen. But Magnussen doesn’t have a good trackrate vs teammates qualify i think Red Bull go for the free and proven drivers Perez and Hulk.

      2. @paeschli He left Renault on his own because he was only offered a one-year deal.

      3. Again with your lack of knowledge.

        How much do you even know about F1?
        At Renault he was offered a one year deal, which he declined and at McLaren he won an internal vote 5 against 2 to take the seat. Problem was the two votes against came from two of the three owners.
        In both cases lack of marketability was a clear issue. Button was a massive for McLaren to handle sponsors and Renault is there to sell cars. It wasnt out of lack of ability Magnussen lost his seats.

  17. I would like the following to happen:

    Mercedes: Hamilton, Bottas (Russell a reserve driver ready for a 2022 seat next to Hamilton)
    Red Bull: Verstappen and Hulkenberg
    McLaren: Danny Ric and Lando Norris
    Aston Martin: Vettel and Lance Stroll (Ocon reserve driver ?)
    Alpine: Alonso and Gasly (Reserve driver Christian Lundgaard)
    Ferrari: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz
    Alpha Tauri: Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda
    Alfa Romeo: Kimi and Mick
    Haas: Mazepin and Illot (Schwarzman reserve driver)
    Williams: Perez and Latifi

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      19th October 2020, 14:29

      You think that would happen, or you would like that to happen?

      1. He literally said in the first sentence that he would like it to happen.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          20th October 2020, 9:49

          I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to believe that someone can like Mazepin’s arrival to F1.

          1. Mazepin`s father will save Haas with some financial help. Even if it is for a single season before Schwartzman take over and the new rules are in place.

    2. Would love to see Ocon and Vettel on the same team.
      Lots of sparks on and off the track. That would be awesome entertainment.

    3. Why would someone go for HULK having Checo avialable? He is a proveed better driver and has more money backing.

  18. Jose Lopes da Silva
    19th October 2020, 14:31

    Apparently it’s a possibility that in 2021 we will have Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin among the 20 best drivers in the world.
    For the Christ’s sake!

  19. Perez and Hulkenberg have NOT produced similar results

    1. Looking at the final standings, both were pretty well matched at Force India @joac21

      1. Obviously not. First season together, Hulk was ahead. But the 2015 and 2016 seasons there were some 20 point difference between the two in favour of Perez. To add that in qualifying they were matched and Perez took four podiums (zero for Hulk) gives a clear indication that they weren’t matched.

        I perceived that Hulk has attracted a lot of interest as of late. His performances on short notice are excellent. But he achieved what he always achieved it could never get past, a sixth position in Silverstone and an eight position in Eifel. This is where Hulk belongs. Perez, on the other hand, can give always something more.

        1. Hulk had plenty of fourth places in his career. You could argue he should have a Monaco podium instead of Perez: he was ahead of him until FI screwed up his pit stop timing.
          He’s also above average in wet/tricky conditions, which shows he may also cope better with a ‘tricky’ Red Bul.

    2. In terms of driving skill, if not budget, Hulkenberg and Perez are roughly equivalent. I think even they would tell you that.

      1. You are right. They are in the same range … But my point is that Perez can deliver a little more on average. The question is who RB would go for if they drop Albon and decide to go outside their academy and I think Perez has clearly the advantage. Plus Perez is two years younger (if that means anything)

        1. I believe Hulkenberg is overrated the same way Perez is underrated, and that makes them look closer than they actually are, results give Perez big edge over Hulk, 8 podiums vs none tell Perez grab a podium pretty much everytime is possible, He is younger and has more money backing, so I don´t really get why someone would go for Hulk instead of Perez.

  20. KMag rumored to replace Albon.
    There – it’s out. Let the snowball roll. :D

  21. The ownership info for Red Bull is incorrect. I believe Mateschitz only owns 49%, the remaining 51 is held by Yoovidhya and his son.

    1. Yooyvidhya family has 51% because Yoovidhya died in 2012 but Mateschitz has the CEO powers of Red Bull so he decides.

  22. Holly hell, what a silly season it is. If even half of these come trueI will be surprised.

    But there are sone I want to see. Sergio to Williams, Hulk to RedBull, Schumacher to Haas.

    Not in that order but top three. Why is Russel being dropped?

    Renault should get Gasly and Alonso. Gasly is awesome for a midfield team. He is a new Perez with a win in his pocket. Albon can develop in Alpha Tauri.

    But just because things make sense, does not mean they will happen.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      19th October 2020, 17:25

      If Perez goes to Williams, how can you not drop Russell?

      1. What about the other guy? Russel is way better.

        1. @jureo He’s got financial support.

          1. correct Williams still needs money! but Russel will be back in 2022 so don’t worry!

        2. Jose Lopes da Silva
          20th October 2020, 9:51

          The other guy is not a Team Owner like Stroll, but comes close to it. He won’t go away anytime soon.
          He must understand what we’re watching here.

  23. ”Nicolas Latifi, who is unlikely to stay at Williams after the recent change of ownership”
    This wording is somewhat contradicting as it’s his teammate who’s at risk should Perez join the team unless I’ve misinterpreted something.

  24. Take the emotion out of the situation and then see that whoever is desperate for $$ signs Perez, Mick to Alfa (Ferrari don’t need Haas), Albon stays because Thai billionaires say so. Stroll sr in bed with Vettel to give maximum publicity to Austin Martin, rather than having talent. If new Williams owners have enough lolly, get Hulk in the seat. Ocon stays. Haas carry on in the wilderness.

  25. I do think we’re all missing potentially the most interesting aspect of silly season, which is that one of the two Mercedes seats is yet to be filled.

    Everyone seems so sure that Hamilton is staying on, but if so, why hasn’t he signed up yet?

    Obviously it is the most likely outcome, and would make the most sense from both driver and team perspective (Hamilton’s not going to get his eighth WDC or 100th win driving in any of the other seats that are realistically on offer), but again, what’s the hold-up?

    We have seen some indications in recent months that Hamilton is starting to think about life after F1 (e.g. his Extreme E venture, and of course the Hamilton Foundation), so I wonder if his presence on the grid next year is not as certain as everyone seems to think.

    All I’m saying is that there’s a non-zero chance that Hamilton doesn’t drive the Mercedes next year. And it will remain so, until we get the news that he’s signed.

    1. @red-andy

      Plus, Verstappen allegedly has an out for engine changes. Seems like swapping for stabbing for Hamilton has as many advantages as any of the swaps above. Presuming his release wouldn’t take effect until 2022 that would make Mercedes want a one-year deal for Hamilton. That kind of talk would surely change the tone of the negotiations.

      Seems really far fetched though.

    2. @red-andy I, of course, am 100% positive he’s going to be at his current team next season as well despite this delay, but a valid point.
      @slotopen According to Horner, there isn’t a clause related to engine.

      1. @jerejj And according to Marko there is a clause related to engine.

        “The maximum gap between our engine and the top is two tenths of a second.”

      2. @jerejj Lol Horner and contracts clauses didn’t he say Vettel hadn’t a escape clause also?

        Mercedes can hire Max in 2022 if Red Bull is not going to convice Max .. also they can use that with Lewis Lewis walks then Max is there the next day :)

        So Lewis and Mercedes will have a normal contract deal.

    3. @red-andy at the same time, it sounds an awful lot like the sort of things that were being said the last time that Hamilton was in contract negotiations with Mercedes, where there was a lot of ongoing speculation because it was taking time for him to sign it – only for Hamilton to sign an extension.

      There are times when some of the speculation feels more like it’s a case of people wanting to see Verstappen being given the sort of dominating car that they somehow feel it is wrong for Hamilton to have…

  26. It would be a shame to see Hulkenberg get a Red Bull seat ahead of Perez, and an indicator that RB are very clearly looking for an obedient number 2. Other than that, I would like to see Tsunoda get a chance at AT. If I were Alfa I’d keep Giovinazzi ahead of Kimi and partner him with Schumacher. As for Haas, both drivers can go. Replace them with Hulk and Mazepin – they certainly won’t miss Magnussen’s aggression with Mazepin in the car…

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      19th October 2020, 16:35

      @tflb putting Perez in the Red Bull is not necessarily a good move – Checo can use the alternate strategy to greater effect than almost any driver. There’s no way that Verstappen would be happy finishing behind Checo when he’s faster in qualifying and in the race due to pit stop/safety car strategies. If Max’s already upset not winning because the Mercedes is quicker, he’ll have a heart attack if Checo wins the race while he stands on the 3rd step of the podium.

      I guess, it will work out for both Perez and Hulk as Hulk will probably have to step in for Max and be Checo’s teammate:-)

    2. Jose Lopes da Silva
      19th October 2020, 17:29

      Here. The first sign of leniency towards Mazepin. The first step is for us to be happy to have Mazepin instead of Grosjean, because it’s Ericsson’s fault.
      After four seasons of nonsense, we’ll start to see that “he’s got the seat on merit” and “he’s not that bad”. By that time, Illot will be in Indycar or ELMS.

      1. I don’t think Mazepin is that good, but I think he’ll end up in F1. The comment regarding aggression was related to him once punching Ilott…

        Actually, I don’t really rate Ilott either, he’s been very fortunate this year.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          20th October 2020, 9:53

          There’s a ton of drivers deserving more to be in F1 than Stroll, Latifi and Mazepin. But of course we will end up with these 3 in the grid. Seems like were heading back to the Fifties. It’s increasingly a gentlemen’s sport, rather than a professional one.

        2. Jose Lopes da Silva
          20th October 2020, 10:01

          My point regarding your comment is that we are normalising this situation. Everyone forgets Stroll buying F3 teams, Russell stating that Stroll’s teammates were lifting the foot for him, Stroll spending a huge fortune to practice in tracks with Williams around the world, Stroll buying an f1 team – we normalise it and now we say “well, he’s not that bad”.
          I don’t care that Grosjean should be booted from Haas. But there are tons of drivers who should get a chance ahead of Mazepin. Apparently Mick Schumacher is good because he is leading F2 championship – go and get Nick de Vries, then. Why do we normalise Mazepin and forget de Vries? Because he’s off the radar – well, of course he’s off the radar, he’s not the son of an F1 champion or a billionaire, so it doesn’t matter that he won F2.

          1. Jose Lopes da Silva, how exactly do you rank de Vries though?

            We know that de Vries has been beaten by several drivers on the current Formula 1 grid whilst they were competing alongside him in junior series – Leclerc, Russell, Norris and Albon have all beaten him (Albon did it twice, both in GP3 and Formula 2). Some did cynically suggest that it helped de Vries quite a bit that Norris, Russell and Albon were all in Formula 1 in 2019, rather than in Formula 2.

    3. Red Bull need someone to consistently qualify their car in 4th and keep it there, and Hulkenberg is much faster in qualifying than Perez.

      1. @aesto slightly faster in qualifying but not much. 35-24 in their time as teammates which isn’t a demolition by any stretch of the imagination. Anyway points come on Sunday and Perez is the better racer.

        1. Over their 3 seasons together in FI, Perez scored 238 points to Hulk’s 226 points despite having fewer retirements than Hulk. Thats only a wafer-thin margin and suggests to me that they were pretty evenly matched. Why do you think it would be “shameful” for Hulk to in RB over Perez?

        2. @tflb There is a difference between racing a car from the front and racing it from the midfield. Hulkenberg is like Vettel – he is good at qualifying and keeping the car where it started, but also a bit prone to mistakes in wheel-to-wheel combat and high-pressure situations. He will qualify the car in P4 and finish there, which is what Red Bull need. Perez will qualify it in P6 and then usually make it to P4 by the end of the race. But since neither Perez nor Hulkenberg will be good enough to challenge Verstappen/Mercedes, race-day heroics won’t really matter. Plus, with Red Bull, a podium at some point is pretty much guaranteed for the Hulk. Maybe once he’s got one, he’ll stop messing up when additional podiums are on the line ;)

          1. Even hamilton screws up under pressure occasionally, but being in a fast car, he always gets another chance the next weekend. Someone like Hulkenberg who rarely gets to fight it out at the front, can be excused for being a bit rusty in wheel-to-wheel combat. I bet if he were to land a ride at Red Bull, he would be able to polish his wheel-to-wheel skills.

          2. @aesto Yes we clearly saw that when he drove from P20 to P8 in the last race.

            And of course we never saw Perez actually even intentionally ram other cars.

      2. …except that Checo has $$’s, will also bring consistent Constructors’ points [awarded at end of race, not qually] and will be a local hero for RBR to sell more drinks in the vast North American market.
        Max to Merc not unreasonable. Gives Dr Death a mega problem – # 1 @ RBR????????

        Methinks Freddie convinced Kimi a while ago to stay to mentor Mick [respect for absent Micheal].

  27. Don’t know what Gasly could bring to Alpine except maybe less drama than Ocon, but it would likely be career suicide to go up against Alonso, so why would he.

    The choice meat in all of this is of course Perez. If Williams get him it’s a scoop, because who would want to go there now.

    Mercedes should IMO be pro-active and replace Bottas with Russell before the Finn starts dropping the mr. nice guy act in his last season and gets his elbows out, and Russell is surely on his way there at some point anyway. Might as well be now. I know Bottas has a contract for 2021, but this is F1.

    Mazepin probably wouldn’t want a newcomer to act as a direct comparison to his son, so good chance for an old-timer like Hulkenberg at Haas, but I see the argument with Schumacher, although the Alfa is even better.

  28. I think the possibility that Russell might be dropped from F1 would be a ridiculous outcome. Dropped to accommodate the likes of possibly Mazepin, Schumacher, Illot, Tsunoda or Shwartzman. How about promoting or giving people the opportunities based on the talent they have displayed so far. He has to be at least a good an option as any of these.

    I suspect he is actually a better medium/long term prospect than Albon, Ocon, Gasly as well.

    1. I think almost the same, dropping Russell would be one of the worst and most shameful events around F1 in many years.
      Things like this show how much this sport is overpriced, and how hard to legitimate the costs beyond the fact, that the costs are ok for the manufacturers. Imo fielding two cars for a season for a price that is comparable to the building costs of a nice Premier League stadium is hard to accept, no matter how efficient these PU’s are. Although without the cost cap the costs could easily reach into that range, the inflation was quite high at F1 and at top level of football too. Efficiency and other wonderful attributes can be enhanced outside of F1 as well, they are not the exclusive reason and place of development anymore. But this is not without consequences: we see events like this, we see sales agents in command instead of team leaders and FIA leaders in command. Russell’s record is very impressive yet, even a season without a drive for him would be a purely money driven decision. Although I don’t have access to telemetry to be 100% sure, but how they want to sell decisions like this to fans? One thing is for sure, most of the people can’t choose honesty over money, no matter what they state.

    2. If they don’t want to include the power units’ builiding and R&D costs to the cost cap, then I would like Coldfly’s idea from yesterday, where every team could buy power units from any participating manufacturer for a fixed price, and the manufacturers would be obligated to serve them. That would even decrease the price of the units as a side effect, as I feel. And for quite importantly, that would reduce the political power of the manufacturers over the smaller supplied teams, as he said.

  29. Russell getting dropped would be it for me, an all time low. There’s not much more he could have done in that seat, he’s consistently outdriven his teammates and outshone his car and still very young – and then we talk about getting Mazepin in F1, I mean jeez. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but maybe Mercedes should stop arsing around and put him next to Hamilton in that Merc seat.

  30. Save everybody some time here…
    Here is the final placing of drivers for the Championship 2021.

    1) Hamilton by 79 points
    2) Verstappen
    3) Alonso
    4) Vettel
    5) Ricciardo

    6-20) no longer matters all are too far behind. Read them and weep.

    1. Where is Bottas, who is Hamilton’s teammate?

      1. He is in the 6-20 group

  31. Excellent piece.

      1. Repetitive poster!

        1. @sonnycrockett It is probably the only word that he knows and he googled it too ;)

  32. How sainz has a seat is beyond belief given how the Hulk and Norris both out drive him as team mates.

    1. Well the contract happened in 2019 when Sainz was scoring almost twice the number of points Norris did. Also finishing ahead more often than not

  33. Having Ocon on standby ro replace Hamilton makes no sence at all when you look at his form. Russell should be on top of Mercedes list.

    1. Russell has more chance to get in Mercedes then Ocon. Barred Ocon starts to get super in the the last 5 races.

    2. @kpcart He indeed is, as Ocon, after all, only has the management-link left, nothing else.

  34. guys, Marko said on Sky Germany that Tsunoda will go on to drive for Alpha Tauri next season as long as he gets enough superlicense points

  35. I dont understand why Mercedes pay to much to Drivers especially Hamilton
    They have winning car Bottas would also easy win championship as any other driver out there even Grossjean or Latifi lol if they had that Car
    Verstapen at his best is not even close to Mercedes and Fia restricted mercedes so much but no success
    Bcause of Mercedes dominance F1 become boring
    I love midfield fight for third,forth place that is great
    I think they should do the same in F1 as they doing in F1 winners starting from the back on the grid lol

    1. you are wrong, if Hamilton wasn’t driving for Mercedes in 2017 & 2018 Ferrari would have probably won both championships, definitely the Drivers’ one
      just my opinion

  36. I read the comments and I am quite a bit in shock. So many people suggest Hulkenberg for Red Bull. What is the excuse for this? Should Red Bull need the best available driver on market, I don’t see any other option than Perez. I won’t dig into details and statistics like “who outqualified who” etc., these are absolutely irrelevant here.

    Checo is a top racer, perhaps the best on the grid on strategies and pulling them off, plus almost error free during races. And suggesting him for Williams is even bigger shame than the rumor that Russell may lose a seat for 2021. I like Hulk also and I’ve always hoped for a top seat for him, but at the moment I really don’t see any reasonable explanation of why he should be picked instead of Perez.

    F1 history has shown that Honda was leaving F1 with the championship on their hands. So, the only argument that makes sense here, is that Red Bull doesn’t want a potential in-team threat for Max, so Max can challenge for the championship next year. Hulkunberg will be an overall solid but convenient number 2. As Bottas is for Mercedes. And of course, due to his character and temperament, Checo will not accept a clear number 2 status. But still, Red Bull already have Albon for this convenient number 2 role, so why would they replace him on the first place? For some slightly better results and some extra points?

    So, to sum up, this “Hulkenberg to Red Bull” scenario does not make sense at all.

    1. The explanation for a lot of the audience is “Hulk doesn’t have a podium, he should be picked for RB because we love him so much and we’re ashamed he’d never finished top 3 *cry, cry*”.

      It’s the same thing that happened to Checo with RP, he delivered podiums for the team and fought to keep their jobs, everybody wanted he stayed in RP but the factor Vettel is more ambitious and less emotional.

      RedBull knows they doesn’t have the car to beat Hamilton so there’s no a Driver Title fight, they don’t require an obedient 2do driver for Max as Hulk. Redbull knows they can be closer to the Title Constructors fight taking advantange of Bottas’ performance and put him on into pressure with two fighter drivers as Perez and Max.

      Perez has improved his mentallity from “I want be the fastest driver out there” in his earlies to “I want to bring the more point we possibly could for achieve the team goals”. That’s what RB needs, a driver who can work with the team for benefits of both, not just a driver who cannot deliverated a single podium mentality or young drivers who dream about becoming champions with just passing from team B to team A.

    2. New RB family: Verstappen, Russell, Perez, Tsunoda. I guess they would have the money to buy Russell, probably it’s the right time to do so. Open that pocket Mr Helmut! Would be a shiny team, although all 4 are real savages on track. But who would not like to see that :) Would not they be sponsor magnets?

    3. @f1-fan Agree Perez would be the best option, but Marko decides drivers and he is too involved and proud of his young driver program (even Horner says this), so that’s always where the Red Bull drivers will come from, even if it doesn’t make sense from a performance standpoint.

  37. I can’t see Russel being dropped. If anything I’d imagine Latifi would go, surely if an investment firm has bought them then the team is secure and doesn’t need Sofina Latifi’s backing

  38. For what it is worth, Danish media(*) today reports (from “several contacts”) that Magnussen will not drive for Haas next year.

    Same media also claim that Grosjean is also out.

    (*) in fairness, the outlets are of the somewhat tabloid kind, but on F1 they are often well informed and reasonably credible (except for the odd rumours on slow news days of Magnussen being elevated to any top-level seat)

    1. Both of them fail to impress. There are good open drivers around, say Russel and Red Bull dropouts?

  39. If Russell loses his Williams seat I will keep posting “inb4” comments.
    And Mick to Haas? I prefer Alfa Romeo tbh.

  40. I could see Hamilton retiring any second now. Certainly he wont win titles anywhere else?

  41. I think this is the most likely driver lineup at the moment:
    Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton-Valtteri Bottas
    Red Bull: Max Verstappen-Alexander Albon
    Racing Point: Sebastian Vettel-Lance Stroll
    McLaren: Daniel Ricciardo-Lando Norris
    Renault: Fernando Alonso-Esteban Ocon
    Ferrari: Charles Leclerc-Carlos Sainz
    Alpha Tauri: Pierre Gasly-Yuki Tsunoda
    Alfa Romeo: Kimi Raikkonen-Antonio Giovinazzi
    Haas: Nikita Mazepin-Mick Schumacher
    Williams: George Russell-Nicholas Latifi

    1. I would prefer this lineup:
      Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton-Valtteri Bottas
      Red Bull: Max Verstappen-Nico Hulkenberg
      Racing Point: Sebastian Vettel-Lance Stroll
      McLaren: Daniel Ricciardo-Lando Norris
      Renault: Fernando Alonso-Esteban Ocon
      Ferrari: Charles Leclerc-Carlos Sainz
      Alpha Tauri: Pierre Gasly-Alexander Albon
      Alfa Romeo: Sergio Perez-Mick Schumacher
      Haas: Romain Grosjean-Callum Ilott
      Williams: George Russell-Nicholas Latifi

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