SAINZ Carlos

F1 Rumor: F1 ‘silly season’ still churning before Spanish GP

(GMM) Even in the break between the Canadian and Spanish grands prix, the driver rumor-mill Silly Season is still churning.

One rumor, reported by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, is that Alpine has not ruled out ejecting Esteban Ocon before the end of the season.

With Ocon definitely set to leave after the 2024 finale, the last two grands prix have been highly troubled for the French driver’s relationship with the team.

“It would be ideal for Jack Doohan to gain some practical race experience before 2025,” said correspondent Tobias Gruner.

However, he thinks Ocon’s contract is actually watertight, amid related speculation that the only way Alpine could get out of the deal is if the 27-year-old continued to breach team instructions.

Team boss Bruno Famin, however, said after the latest troubles in Montreal: “There are no serious disagreements in the team.

“Esteban has the right to count on full support for the best result because the best result for Esteban is the possibility of the best result for the team.”

In more Silly Season speculation, Australian team reserve and rookie Doohan, 21, is the favorite to replace Ocon, but also rumored is that likely Sauber refugee Guanyu Zhou’s sponsors are offering a potential employer for the Chinese driver a huge $35 million for 2025.

That sort of offering may also endanger Ocon’s likely next destination, with Zhou’s Chinese backers said to be in talks with Haas as well.

As for the biggest player on the 2025 driver market, departing Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr., sport.de claims the Spaniard really is set to sign a 4-year contract at Williams.

The deal would reportedly allow him to quit after 2026, if Williams doesn’t hit certain performance markers at the start of the new regulations period.

“Toto Wolff originally planned to transfer Kimi Antonelli to its customer team Williams,” reports sport.de, “but every indication is that Sainz has now signed there.

“The Spaniard apparently has no interest in Sauber-Audi.”

So with Sainz signing at Williams, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff apparently had no other option than to pair Antonelli, 17, with George Russell at the works team next year.

Sport1 explained that a clause in Antonelli’s contract with the Mercedes junior program and his manager Wolff promised the young Italian a full F1 seat by 2025.

Last Updated June 13, 2024

2025 AutoRacing1.com F1 Silly Season Table
Team Engine No. Driver Nat. Rating Comments
Audi Sauber Ferrari 27 Nico Hulkenberg Germany Fact Signed
31 Esteban Ocon France Speculation If Sainz signs with Williams
55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Spain Speculation Likely going to Williams
Alpine F1 Team Renault 10 Pierre Gasly France Strong Expected back
24 Guanyu Zhou China Speculation Brings $35 million
61 Jack Doohan Australia Strong Waiting to replace Ocon
Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes 14 Fernando Alonso Spain Fact Signed thru 2026
18 Lance Stroll Canada Fact Daddy owns the team
Ferrari Ferrari 16 Charles Leclerc Monaco Fact Signed thru 2028
44 Lewis Hamilton England Fact Signed thru 2026
Moneygram Haas F1 Team Ferrari 31 Esteban Ocon France Speculation Could replace Kevin Magnussen
24 Guanyu Zhou China Strong Brings $35 million
38 Oliver Bearman England Fact Signed
McLaren F1 Team Mercedes 4 Lando Norris England Fact Signed
81 Oscar Piastri Australia Fact Signed
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes 12 Kimi Antonelli Italy Strong Expected to replace Hamilton
63 George Russell England Fact Signed thru 2025
Red Bull Racing Honda 1 Max Verstappen Netherlands Fact Signed thru 2028
11 Sergio Perez Mexico Fact Signed thru 2026
Visa Cash App RB Honda 22 Yuki Tsunoda Japan Fact Signed thru 2025
40 Liam Lawson Australia Strong Expected to replace struggling Ricciardo
Williams Racing Mercedes 23 Alex Albon Thailand Fact Signed
55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Spain Strong Expected to replace Sargeant
77 Valtteri Bottas Finland Speculation Could replace Sargeant

 

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