2021 swap for Lewis and Max?
Could Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen swap teams for the 2021 Formula 1 season?
That’s the suggestion made by Italian motor sport journalist Giorgio Terruzzi who says that Ferrari’s decision to sign Charles Leclerc could have a big impact on Mercedes and Red Bull’s future plans.
Quoted by F1Sport.it, Terruzzi said on the Pit Talk F1 podcast: “There is valid reasoning that connects Ferrari with this exchange. The fact [is] that Ferrari do not want Hamilton nor Verstappen because it has made a choice on Leclerc.
“If you are convinced that you have a champion [elect] in the team already, supported by a lot of relevant data, you don’t want to add a driver who wishes no.1 status.”
Reacting to Terruzzi’s suggestion, The Judge 13 says: “Perhaps this exchange is inevitable.”
Wolff: Bottas would get a ‘soft landing’
If Valtteri Bottas loses his seat for 2020 he will be given a “soft landing” by Mercedes, RaceFans reports.
The Finn’s position at the Silver Arrows is under threat with Esteban Ocon a possible option for next season.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says whatever decision is made by the team for the 2020 line-up they will assist the driver who misses out.
Wolff said: “We have responsibility for the juniors and for the ones who are in the car with us right now. We’re not going to do anything that is going to make it harder for them.
“Whatever we decide we’ll consider what are the options for the driver to go elsewhere. If it’s for Esteban to progress [elsewhere], to make it back one day in a Mercedes; or if it’s for Valtteri to have a ‘soft landing’, because he deserves it.”
Gasly must get it together
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Pierre Gasly will be given the second half of the season to prove himself.
While team-mate Max Verstappen has impressed with race wins in Austria and Germany, French driver Gasly has struggled since stepping up from Toro Rosso.
Urging Gasly to “get it together”, Horner told Sky Sports: “He’s got the second half of the year to really get it together because then they’ll be a lot of pressure on what we do for next year.
“But we’re not looking at replacing him or switching drivers around, it’s really in his court now to get it together and build on some of the promise we have seen flashes of. He just needs to put it together more consistently.
“All we can do is provide him with the best car we can and provide him with the best support we can and try to work with him to eliminate some of the mistakes.”
2020 grid: confirmed drivers so far
The summer break marks the peak time in the F1 silly season with driver rumours, team fall-outs and contract negotiations hogging the headlines.
There’s been plenty of speculation about Valtteri Bottas’s future at Mercedes and Pierre Gasly’s fortunes at Red Bull. The prospects of Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean has also been a big talking point for fans, as has Nico Hulkenberg’s future at Renault.
Planet F1 has taken a look at which drivers have their spots for 2020 and which teams are still yet to confirm their line-ups.
- Lewis Hamilton (contract until the end of 2020)
- Valtteri Bottas (TBC)
- Sebastian Vettel (contract until 2021)
- Charles Leclerc (contract until 2022)
- Max Verstappen (contract until 2021)
- Pierre Gasly (TBC)
- Carlos Sainz (confirmed for 2020)
- Lando Norris (confirmed for 2020)
- Alexander Albon (TBC)
- Daniil Kvyat (TBC)
- Daniel Ricciardo (contract until 2021)
- Nico Hulkenberg (TBC)
- Kimi Raikkonen (contract until 2021)
- Antonio Giovinazzi (TBC)
- Sergio Perez (TBC)
- Lance Stroll (TBC)
- Romain Grosjean (TBC)
- Kevin Magnussen (TBC)
- George Russell (‘multi-year’ contract with Williams)
- Robert Kubica (TBC)