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Silly Season: What Can We Expect?

Written by Orlaigh Mullen, Edited by Meghana Sree

Credit - Getty Images

With the summer break coming soon, and a third of the grid's contracts ending at the end of the season, ‘silly season’ is set to be another ground-breaking one. Rumours have already been flying as to where drivers will be for the 2024 season, who is leaving, and who is coming back. Here are some of the rumours and predictions which have circulated the F1 community in recent days.

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton has been in the rumour mill several times this year. With his contract ending at the end of this season, predictions as to whether he will stay or leave Mercedes have arisen. For some time, there were rumours that Hamilton may join Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, however Hamilton and Toto Wolff squashed this rumour before it got out of hand.

It would be difficult for many Hamilton fans to envisage him at another team. Therefore, the other two current rumoured options for Hamilton are retirement, or extending his Mercedes contract. This is likely to be the latter of the two. Hamilton and Wolff have expressed their desire to see Hamilton through to his eighth World Championship title, with Mercedes. So, a contract extension with Mercedes is probable this summer.

George Russell is set to be with Mercedes in the long-term, after rumours that he has a multi-year contract until the end of 2025 have been confirmed.

AlphaTauri

Nyck De Vries is currently in his rookie year at the Red Bulls feeder team, AlphaTauri. However, after De Vries suffered a few unfortunate performances at the start of the year, rumours circulated that his time in Formula 1 could be cut short. It has been predicted that Daniel Ricciardo, the current reserve driver for Red Bull, is eager to be back in a seat for 2024. Ricciardo expressed his interest in ending his career at Red Bull, however he would have to work his way back up by starting in the AlphaTauri seat. The question now is, will De Vries be given more chances to perform as a rookie?

Yuki Tsunoda has consistently been performing well for the 2023 season. It is therefore likely that his performance will earn him another year at AlphaTauri. However, will he be ready for the next step up in the Red Bull seat, or will he get tired of waiting for that time to come?

Williams

Logan Sargeant is another rookie on the grid who seems to be under pressure. Sargeant’s contract is set to end this 2023 season, and eyes have already been cast on who could likely replace him. The most rumoured driver is Mick Schumacher, who is currently the reserve driver at Mercedes. Schumacher has been said to be performing well on the simulator, and has been helping the team’s performance. However, Sargeant also offers a great advantage to the team, bringing over American fans and sponsors, as he is the only American driver on the grid.

Alex Albon has had a tremendous 2023 season so far, recognised for holding his P7 finish at the Canadian Grand Prix for 57 laps. However, although it can be assumed his seat is safe with his multi-year contract at Williams, questions have arisen about whether he will go to one of the bigger teams. Albon has pulled out several impressive performances this year, therefore it is likely that he is on the radar for some of the bigger and faster teams on the grid.

Red Bull

With Red Bull’s RB19 being described as a ‘rocket ship’ this season, it is no surprise that who deserves to be driving it has been brought into question. Sergio Perez had a good start to the 2023 season, driving Red Bull to several wins and podium finishes. But, after failing to make it to Q3 qualifying on several occasions, and missing out on a podium finish, his time at Red Bull has been brought into question. Red Bull is known for being harsh on their drivers, and drivers who do not perform to their standard are replaced. Replacement options for Red Bull have included the likes of Albon, Ricciardo, and even Leclerc. Perez has contributed significantly to Red Bull’s success, so his future may just depend on how he performs over the next few Grand Prix races.

Max Verstappen is tied to Red Bull till 2028, and with his current lead in the championship, it is very probable that he will remain there for years to come.

Haas

Both of the Haas drivers, Nico Hulkenberg, and Kevin Magnussen, have their contracts ending this 2023 season. Although there have been several rumours of Haas extending the contracts with the two drivers, it is likely that team principal Guenther Steiner will have his eyes on the rest of the grid too.


What is next for the 2024 grid?

For now, we can only predict the changes to the 2024 grid. With seven of the drivers’ contracts ending, and several rookies on the grid, some big changes are going to be made. As the nickname indicates, it is set to be an exciting and certainly ‘silly’ time of the 2023 season.



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