The 2017 Formula One Silly Season
With the season now coming to Monza, teams are now sorting things out to complete the line up in time before the pre season testings in February next year. With rumors all over the place, this could well be the biggest change in the driver's line up since the 2010 season. Here is the run down of the driver's market at this moment and what you might expect in the next few months.
Three teams have now confirmed their 2017 line up which are Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. Mercedes recently retained the German Nico Rosberg in a new deal which will see him running with the Silver Arrows until 2018 with the defending champion Lewis Hamilton who signed a new deal before the Monaco Grand Prix last year.
Kimi Raikkonen also resigned with the Prancing Horse for another season to run with Sebastian Vettel despite all the rumors of him being replaced in the lights of Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean or a young Charles Leclerc was also being considered for the second seat for the Maranello squad.
Red Bull duo Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will stay with the team for the 2017 season. It was originally reported that Red Bull was looking for ways to promote the Dutchman after his impressive season for Toro Rosso. After the Russian Grand Prix, Red Bull got the perfect excuse to promote Max while Kvyat was demoted to the sister team. The line up proves to be a big punch from the team with Max delivering the team's first win since Spa 2014 and both drivers continue to perform well in the next few races and thus both of their seats are safe for 2017.
Force India although "confirmed" their line up with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez partnering for their 4th season together. Perez though is on the radar for Renault and Williams. There are possibility that Perez might opt out of his contract, the second seat at Force India might be open for Pascal Wehrlein to jump from Manor in his journey to get the Mercedes drive in the future. With Alfonso Celis Jr. and Nikita Mazepin still in their development phase, the door is open for Pascal to take.
With Felipe Massa just announcing his retirement after this season a bit more than 24 hours ago, the second seat at Williams is heating up nicely. Valtteri Bottas is likely to resign with the team. Now the 2017 car is well in development from earlier this season, Bottas can assures himself that the 2017 season might see his comeback in contention in the top 5 of the championship. The second seat has been long rumored that Jenson Button will come back to his old team but not much have been known about the situation. In the situation that Button retires, the fight for the second seat might be a colossal one. Young Canadian sensation Lance Stroll on course to win the European F3 season this year, or Alex Lynn completing his second season in GP2; Williams might well goes for the long run. There have been talks between them with Sergio Perez, former test driver Felipe Nasr or Pascal Wehrlein again might well be in the mix for the second seat.
McLaren now having already confirmed Fernando Alonso, his team mate for the next season has been debated since last year. Young sensation Stoffel Vandoorne impressive performance in Bahrain and Button career now coming to an end. McLaren might use Williams open seat as to put Jenson Button in and promoting the young Belgian in the second seat at the Woking-based team after pretty much destroying last year GP2 season.
With Perez performance this year, it is no surprise that he is getting a lot of attentions from a lot of teams. Another name coming up in the rumors for Perez is Renault. Spanish giants BBVA and Telefonica Movistar are in talks to sponsor the French team, it's reasonable for the team to look deeply in the driver's market. Now that managing director Cyril Abiteboul wants a charismatic driver, there are a lot of options to choose. With Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer only signed a one year deal. Most likely Magnussen will stay with Renault for the long run, Palmer's seat is in doubt. Renault now also using Ocon performance to consider him for the 2017 drive. Other drivers also in the mix are GP2s Norman Nato, Oliver Rowland and Sergey Sirotkin bringing a large backing from SMP Racing.
Daniil Kvyat career in Formula One might comes to and end after his demotion from Red Bull to Toro Rosso earlier this season; and his season is now even worse with only two points to his names after the Russian Grand Prix and getting outperformed by Carlos Sainz Jr. Once considered as one of the biggest prospect in the sports, the Russian probably will lose his seat to Pierre Gasly who is in the lead of this year GP2 championship.
Haas also now in consideration for their line up next season. Until this point in the season, Haas has done fairly well with Grosjean producing good results, Esteban Gutierrez now finding his speed and now occasionally faster than the Frenchman in past few races. Grosjean most likely will resign with the team, Gutierrez should be worried with his seat as he still hasn't scored a point this season. Monegasque Charles Leclerc; the new Ferrari Academy "Jules Bianchi", who is now leading this year GP3 chamipnship, also tested in Silverstone this season is now well set for a seat next year. Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi might well also have a shot with Gene Haas also wanted an American in Formula One after the failure of Scott Speed back in Toro Rosso nearly a decade ago.
After Rio Haryanto being demoted from Manor, Rossi was the first one to be offered a drive from Manor to replace the Indonesian to partner Mercedes young gun Wehrlein but he declined and focus for next season. Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon getting more and more rumors to leave Manor, Rossi might well be back in Formula One and his performance keep on improving in the States, Rossi might stays back. Or else he might again fly the American flag back in Formula One. Ocon and Wherlein might stay with the team if there are no seats with Manor might well be considered now as a Mercedes B-Team. Development driver Jordan King also in the mix for next year seat as well or some chaps with a lot of money like Haryanto might also get the seat.
Lastly is Sauber, the Hinwill team has now endured their most eventful season yet. Now with new investors in the team, they are back in business. With the new investors linked to Marcus Ericsson sponsors, the Swede will likely be back in the squad. Felipe Nasr future is in doubt, although he is in talks to Williams, there are also chances of him losing his seat to Charles Leclerc if Ferrai Academy wanted to develop him early or same with Manor, some chaps with a bags full of money.
Now that we are still five months away from the first pre-season testings. Things might get messy in the coming few months with teams and drivers shuffling all over the place, and some of the information here might be different to what might happen in the coming few months. But without a doubt, the class of 2017 will have a huge shakeup to what we are seeing now.