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Offseason Blues: Silly Season in February?

Updated: Feb 12

It’s kind of tough to write articles about F1 during the offseason. I don’t want to post about what Charles ate for lunch in California or where and with whom George Russell was partying. You can probably find that content in the National Enquirer. I’m really only interested in major moves and big news, but the offseason really isn’t the time for that.

Oh wait, it is. With Lewis announcing his departure from Mercedes, effectively ending his bromance with Toto, there was an unusually high amount of chatter about teams and moves this offseason.

I’m not quite sure what Lewis’ intentions are. Ferrari is not nearly as sharp as Mercedes when it comes to race execution. Even if they have the faster car over one lap, they always seem to trip over themselves during the race. He doesn’t really have that many years left to build a team around him unless he’s swapping secrets with Fernando about the location of the fabled fountain of youth. He doesn’t have that much time if he’s going to mount a charge for his 8th world championship title, especially since it seems like Red Bull will continue their winning ways at least until the new engine regulations take effect in 2026. It’ll probably be up for grabs then. Will this move be another master stroke by Lewis like when he left McLaren for Mercedes or will it be a bust like we’ve seen happen to so many other drivers trying to catch lightning in a bottle?

The move by Lewis has created a lot of speculation in the drivers’ market. The obvious one, where will Carlos Sainz land. He has consistently improved and, in my opinion, outshone his younger teammate last year, being the only one to steal a race win away from Red Bull’s dominant RB-19. And, of course, there was the only other driver to steal a race win away from Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez. If I’m honest, his place in F1 is less secure than any of the other drivers driving for a top team. Historically, Reb Bull has been rather abrupt with their driver changes. They have even stated, with a straight face, that their lineup will remain the same for the entire season, only to swap drivers mid-season. So, there’s really no telling whether he will be in the other RB-20 for the entire season. I personally think that Liam Lawson earned a crack at it.

Fernando Alonso’s contract is also up for renewal at the end of this season. Could he make a surprise move to Mercedes? Will he continue to carry the Aston Martin team on his back for another few years? A move back to McLaren is out of the question. His options seem a little more limited than the other drivers.

Rumors are that Alex Albon appears to be Red Bull bound again. The two Frenchmen, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, are both up for renewal at the end of 2024 also. It’s actually easier to name the drivers in contract at the end of 2024 than the one’s out of contract. Including the ones I mentioned above, 14 of the 20 drivers on the grid will be looking for a new home come 2025. Thanks Lewis, for kicking off silly season a few months early.

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