Aug.17 (GMM) F1 may be in its summer ‘shutdown’, but the rumour mill is still in overdrive.
It has been helped along with Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso’s announcements, with the next dominos now set to fall.
One of them is Sergio Perez, who will stay at Force India under new ownership.
“I just talked to Checo,” said Fox journalist Luis Manuel Lopez at an event in Mexico.
“He confirmed that there are only days left for his automatic extension at Force India.”
Perez himself confirmed: “It’s going to be a very attractive team in 2019.”
There is also the matter of Sainz’s teammate at McLaren, with the British team saying only that a decision will be made “in due course”.
The smart money is on rookie Lando Norris, with Stoffel Vandoorne linked in turn with a move to Sauber.
“The current period hurts Stoffel’s career and he doesn’t deserve it,” former test driver Bas Leinders told the Dutch publication Formule 1.
“Maybe it will be better next year. Maybe he has to go to another team,” he added.
Auto Motor und Sport journalist Tobias Gruner, however, said Esteban Ocon is another candidate to be Sainz’s McLaren teammate.
“McLaren is said to have reached out to the Frenchman,” he wrote.
Some believe Ocon is the favourite because McLaren may hand Norris to Toro Rosso in order to speed up James Key’s transition to the struggling team.
Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly is set to replace Ricciardo at Red Bull, with Kimi Raikkonen apparently now staying at Ferrari instead of being replaced by Charles Leclerc.