Silly season: Ocon to replace Bottas and Gasly out at Red Bull

09-08-2019 16:52
by Joseph Tyrrell
Silly season: Ocon to replace Bottas and Gasly out at Red Bull

With the Formula 1 summer break upon us the rumour mill is rife with the biggest stories in the world of motorsport. Today we look at potential changes at Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari as the 'Silly Season' gets underway!

Are Bottas' Mercedes days numbered?

It is fair to say Valtteri Bottas has had a mixed season for Mercedes. After starting the year with 2 victories in Australia and Baku, it looked as if Bottas was a serious contender to Lewis Hamilton's throne. However, he hasn't won a single race since which has seen him slip 62 points behind his teammate in the Drivers' Championship.

After two disastrous races at the German (DNF) and Hungarian Grand Prix (P8) it looks as if the Finn's spell at the top team could be about to come to an end. Bottas has always been on a one-year rolling deal meaning it would be relatively simple for the Silver Arrows to let him go. It also looks as if the former-Williams driver is resigned to losing his place after admitting "you need to have plan B, possibly plan C" in Formula 1.

Read the full story here...

Mercedes wouldn't be short of options either. They have Esteban Ocon waiting desperately in the wings for a drive after a year out of the sport. The Frenchman spent two seasons with Force India as part of his multi-year contract with Mercedes. However, he was left without a seat for 2019 after Lance Stroll was brought in to the team and Sergio Perez kept his seat, forcing Ocon to settle for Mercedes' reserve driver.

George Russell is also another option to replace Bottas but this one looks more unlikely with the rookie tied down to Williams. Russell has impressed this season with the limited resources at his disposal but Claire Williams was defiant when it came to keeping Russell at the team.

Read the full story...

Pierre Gasly out, Fernando Alonso or Nico Hulkenberg in?

Pierre Gasly is another driver who doesn't seem as if he'll be dining at the top table of Formula 1 next season and he could even be set for the chop this season. The Red Bull driver has failed to compete with his rivals at Mercedes, Ferrari and even his teammate Max Verstappen this season. 

His form has seen him achieve a season-high of P4 at the British Grand Prix but he failed to make it out of Q2 until the Chinese Grand Prix and is facing a battle from Carlos Sainz to hold on to P6 in the Drivers' Championship. Gasly is well and truly under pressure and constant rumours surrounding his future will not help his case.

One name that unsurprisingly that keeps cropping up is Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard is constantly fuelling the fire surrounding a return to the pinnacle of motorsport and it appears the current crop of drivers are doing the same. At the recent post-Hungary press conference Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were asked whether Alonso would be welcome to battle for the Formula 1 World Championship. Of course, they were more than welcoming, with Hamilton going as far to suggest Alonso would make a good teammate for Verstappen. Read the full story here...

Another name that has popped up in the rumour mill is Nico Hulkenberg. The German has also been linked with a switch to Haas but could it be time for The Hulk's time for a shot at a top team? The German was linked with a move to Red Bull earlier in the year but Helmut Marko and Gasly himself shut the rumour down. Read the full story here...

To add the Gasly's problems both Toro Rosso drivers, Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat have impressed at times this season, with the latter standing on the podium in Germany, whilst Gasly retired.

Will Sebastian Vettel stay at the Scuderia beyond 2019?

2019 has been pretty rough for Sebastian Vettel and rumours about the German retiring have been aplenty this season. Vettel at times appears as if he has fallen out of love with the sport he has won four-times as he struggles to keep up with Mercedes and battle with the youth of Charles Leclerc. Vettel is yet to win a race this season as are Ferrari and rumours have suggested that the German could call it a day. 

However, in recent months rumours have cooled, despite Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso (again) linked with his seat and in June he admitted Ferrari "are in a good situation". Read the full story here...

It would make sense for Vettel to stick at it for another year and wait and see what the 2021 regulations have to offer and whether it could give Ferrari a better chance of a Formula 1 World Championship. The Scuderia have consistently shown their faith in the four-time World Champion and with the Vettel name Ferrari are much more of an enticing product.  The Maranello team won't want Seb to leave! Read the full story here...

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