OCTOBER 23, 2020

2021 driver silly season explodes in Portugal

With Haas clearing the decks for 2021, the 'silly season' has exploded at the scene of Sunday's Portuguese GP.

George Russell, Russian GP 2020
© Williams Racing

With Haas clearing the decks for 2021, the 'silly season' has exploded at the scene of Sunday's Portuguese GP.

Haas' Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean appear unlikely to find new seats for next year, with the small American team rumoured to instead field an all-rookie lineup of Nikita Mazepin alongside Mick Schumacher.

Elsewhere, however, an explosion of musical chairs could be about to happen.

That is despite the fact that, contrary to speculation, Alfa Romeo looks set to keep both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi - even though it has been strongly rumoured that the latter Italian would leave the team.

"Antonio has more friends at Ferrari than people think," an insider is quoted by Auto Bild.

Sebastian Vettel is arriving at Racing Point (to be Aston Martin next year), which has put the strongly Mexican-backed Sergio Perez on the market.

Perez looks set to oust the less powerfully-backed George Russell at Williams, but the Mexican insisted his talks with "several teams" will remain "secret" for now.

Williams' Russell, meanwhile, said at Portimao: "I have a contract next year. After the arrival of the new owners, my situation has not changed.

"The new owners are at the track this weekend so I am sure that we will clarify everything, but as I said - I have no doubt that next year I will drive a Williams."

However, Russell acknowledged: "If the rumours start to take on more reality then of course I will turn to Mercedes, but at the moment I have no cause for concern."

Another rumour is linking a switch of French drivers at Renault, with Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly said to be in the running to replace Esteban Ocon.

"Red Bull will decide where I am next year, but I'm happy at Alpha Tauri," Gasly said on Thursday.

As for his current teammate Daniil Kvyat, however, Dr Helmut Marko said this week that Yuki Tsunoda looks very likely to make his Alpha Tauri debut in 2021.

"Let's just say that I have not received any new information on this topic," Russian Kvyat revealed. "I know that there are not so many empty seats, but for my part I can only give my best in the remaining races."