Written by Leticia Matteo, Edited by Meghana Sree
Silly season is arguably motorsports’ most anticipated period, for it is a direct showcase of this business’ claws: its exclusivity and selectiveness, and the high stakes for everyone involved. It’s also a tense period for ardent fans, leaving everybody on edge speculating changes in drivers lineups, grid drop outs, or upcoming talents. So…
Where is this year's mayhem? Fans know all too well that 2022’s silly season was the silliest of them all, with the whole Oscar Piastri/McLaren/Alpine drama, Sebastian Vettel’s retirement news over his newly created Instagram account, Daniel Ricciardo as well as Mick Schumacher left without seats, Fernando Alonso switching to Aston Martin, leaving a spot open for Pierre Gasly in Alpine, Logan Sargeant getting enough super licence points to represent the USA in F1, and the list just goes on!
With havoc ablaze, things never got boring. But as of now in 2023, the craziest thing we've had this year is the unfortunate destiny of Nyck de Vries when his Alpha Tauri contract was cut short, in an exchange for Ricciardo’s driving abilities, as the Dutchman’s performance was not sufficient to keep his name within the team. Affairs that promised buzz, like Lewis Hamilton’s contract renewal, at last proposed nothing but enclosed and concise decision making that was kept behind doors. It later became a rather quiet announcement of Hamilton’s contract extension till 2025.
Haas also recently announced both their drivers’ contract renewals, which was maybe surprising, but also not that strange, considering they probably realised that it may not be a good idea betting on young talent when they already have two very experienced drivers.
It is clear that this summer in F1 has been monotonous, to say the least. Feeding categories are indeed feeding us more content, since rapid shifts among these ranks allows for speculation and turnovers more often. Flying around are names such as Gabriel Bortoleto, Kimi Antonelli, Oliver Bearman, and many others, who have become subjects of theorised rumours. Meanwhile in F1, save for photographs of drivers on summer vacation, fans were left with a period of unending boredom during the summer.
We know not every season can have chaotic paddock news, however, taking into account that thus far, underwhelming races have become a pattern, fans were expectant of supplementary entertainment outside circuits. Although, this recent overwhelming desire for new content caused by information bombing on social media can in ways feature hypocrisy. The case in point is when de Vries’ departure news broke, and a fair share of fans expressed some levels of discomfort to the sudden story. Opinions aside, it was indeed an abruptly severe decision, reminding us all of the sport's harsh nature and stakes.
Reasoning as to why things are progressing so slowly this year is a shot in the dark, however, it is noticeable that procedures are becoming similar within different constructors; teams are deliberately handling matters privately, almost as if to not jeopardise decision making and disclosure.
Any unanswered queries keep up the unpredictability of the sport amidst spectators. In any case, knowing F1, the lack of news cannot stay strong for long. Sooner or later, whispers will become loud news stories, breaking headlines will be shared, and further questions will be forged. At least this summer, they gave us a puzzle to solve: Where did silly season go?