We are only halfway through the F1 season however, rumours are rife and theories in the grapevine are currently circulating.
Who’s leaving? Who’s staying?
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Each constructor has tough decisions to make and some of those hinges on choices some of the drivers will have to make. One blink and a ripple effect could drastically change the drivers market, so who will bat an eyelid first.
Vettel holds key
Last year’s transformation of the drivers market was dependent on Daniel Ricciardo’s decision to move from Red Bull to Renault. This year, Sebastian Vettel’s is that man.
He might decide to see out his contract, which expires in 2020, or even retire. If he does retire, that would free up a coveted seat and see Ferrari have a fresh driver lineup.
Bottas, Mercedes, Ocon
The pressure is on Valtteri Bottas to make a decision on whether he is staying or leaving however, Toto Wolf is playing his cards close to his chest regarding the renewal of Bottas’ contract beyond 2020.
Mercedes has not ruled out promoting junior driver Estaban Ocon, who has spent a year embedding himself in the team’s simulator duties. If Bottas stays, Ocon could be on the way out to another F1 team, maybe Haas, maybe Renault.
Renault and Hulkenberg
Hulkenberg is rumoured to be replaced by Frenchman, Esteban Ocon at Renault next season. Nico does seem confident of staying at Renault for fourth season and race alongside teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
Sergio Perez has been as safe and reliable as a belt on loose pants and is also expected to stay but is not expected to stay beyond the 2019.
Whenever interest has come the Spaniards way, Racing Point has always made it clear that they will never stand in the way of Perez should a better offer come his way, however Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer has stated his desire to keep the same lineup of Perez and Lance Stroll.
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