The Formula One ‘silly season’ is about to begin. Sebastian Vettel’s announcement he is retiring from the sport has sparked the first surprise move. Fernando Alonso within 3 days of Sebastian’s announcement has declared he will fill the seat at Aston Martin. This appears to have caught Alpine by surprise and they will be next to decide on who will join Esteban Ocon at the French team for 2023.
For those new to Formula One the ‘silly season’ is the time of year when driver moves are speculated upon. Rumours abound and inside information about driver team changes are revealed by those close to the teams.
In 2013 TJ13 announced during the F1 summer break that Ferrari were set to recruit Kimi Raikkonen. In Monza the Scudderia confirmed the Finn’s appointment.
Today Marcus Ericsson, ex Sauber F1 driver and now winner of the Indianapolis 500 tweeted his silly season views following the Alonso announcement.
After Alonso’s “middle finger to Alpine switch” this is how the rest of @F1 silly season will play out:
Williams Albon-De Vries
It’s called Silly season for a reason 😜
— Marcus Ericsson (@Ericsson_Marcus) August 1, 2022
Aston Martin clearly held back Vettel’s big reveal while they nailed Fernando Alonso behind the scenes.
TJ13 believes Daniel Ricciardo is favourite to replace Alonso and return to Alpine. He has been publicly humiliated by team boss Zak Brown who revealed Ricciardo’s two year contract ending at the end of 2023 could be revoked early due to poor performance from the Australian.
Ericssons’ Gasley to Alpine is not a bad shout. Pierre was overlooked for another shot at the big Red Bull team when they appointed Sergio Perez in 2021. He must wonder if he is ever going to get a second chance to race with Max Verstappen and Alpine are a far better outfit than Gasley’s current team Alpha Tauri.
The likely outcome for Gasly is Ricciardo will get the seat and he’ll stay put.
Only certain teams take F1 rookie drivers and Ericsson’s suggestion that McLaren who are fighting for P4 in the championship would recruit F3/F2 champion Oscar Pisatri is far fetched.
If McLaren let Daniel Ricciardo go back to Alpine another reunion is on the cards. After being dropped by Haas, Kevin Magnussen has made a strong return this season and could be considered by the new McLaren management as a replacement for the ‘Honey Badger’.
Alpine are unlikely to pair Ocon with a rookie also as they are now are P4 in the constructors. So their promising academy driver Oscar Pisatri is unlikely to get Alonso’s seat. Rookie drivers often score few points in season 1 and Alpine cannot afford to be relegated from their current P4 in the constructors championship to P6 or P7.
Piastri is most likely to take the George Russell route into F1 and serve his time as a rookie with the Williams team when Nicholas Latiffi is dropped.
Magnussen leaving Haas for McLaren would most likely see the American owned team Haas F1 look at rookie Nick Defries who is set to drive the Mercedes AMG F1 car again in a practice 1 session. The FIA have mandated this season each car must run a ‘young driver’ and De Fries impressed when he substituted for Lewis Hamilton at the French GP.
The silly season was kicked off by Aston Martin ‘mugging’ Alpine in their recruitment of Fernando Alonso
Given most of the F1 drivers are ‘locked down’ in a contract until the end of 2023, the only reason we have a silly season this year is due to Vettel’s retirement which has opened up a host of possibilities amongst those out of contract this season.
Red Bull – Verstappen/Perez
Ferrari – Sainz/Leclerc
Mercedes – Hamilton/Russell
McLaren – Norris/Magnussen
Alpine – Ocon/Ricciardo
Alfa Romeo – Bottas/Zhou
Alpha Tauri – Gasley/Tsunoda
Haas – Schumacher/Defries
Williams – Albon/Piastri
Aston Martin – Alonso/Stroll