F1 SILLY SEA­SON, HOW IT STANDS

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Mercedes

This is es­sen­tially signed and sorted af­ter Nico Ros­berg re­cently put pen to pa­per on a fresh deal. Mean­ing both he and Lewis Hamil­ton can con­tinue to fall out un­til at least the end of 2018.

Red Bull

Max Ver­stap­pen re­port­edly signed a deal un­til 2019, and Red Bull is un­likely to let the ris­ing star go any­time soon. Daniel Ric­cia­rdo has a deal in place un­til 2018.

Fer­rari

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel will stay un­til at least the end of 2017, es­pe­cially with the few seats ahead of the Scud­e­ria al­ready hav­ing been filled. Kimi Raikko­nen’s new deal means he’ll play un­der­whelm­ing un­der­study for (yet) another year.

Mclaren

Should But­ton leave, Bel­gian star Stof­fel Van­doorne is a shoo-in for his seat. Van­doorne needs a chance in F1, and run­ning along­side Fer­nando Alonso (in un­til the end of next sea­son) would be the per­fect op­por­tu­nity.

Wil­liams

Felipe Massa is star­ing at the door re­port­edly, with a few op­tions tipped to re­place him – But­ton among them, as is Ser­gio Perez. Wil­liams also has Bri­ton Alex Lynn as devel­op­ment driver. Valt­teri Bot­tas will likely stay with no fron­trun­ning seat avail­able.

Force In­dia

Nico Hulken­berg has a con­tract, as does Perez, but the Mex­i­can’s weighty spon­sors ef­fec­tively con­trol his destiny and could buy him out for a move fur­ther up the grid. That could clear the way for some­body like Pascal Wehrlein, who could bring Mercedes back­ing, to get a seat more de­serv­ing of his tal­ents.

Toro Rosso

It all de­pends on whether Daniil Kvyat can drag him­self out of his cur­rent slump. If not French­man Pierre Gasly would be next off the Red Bull con­veyor belt. Car­los Sainz Jr looks to be go­ing nowhere.

Re­nault

Now here’s some in­trigue. Team head Cyril Abite­boul has made his de­sire to sign a “charis­matic leader” clear, and hasn’t ruled out ditch­ing Kevin Mag­nussen and/or Jolyon Palmer. In­ter­est in Perez is re­ported, but Bot­tas or even Mercedes young driver Este­ban Ocon could also be can­di­dates.

Haas

There’s been lit­tle word of Haas’s plans for next year, but star driver Ro­main Gros­jean will likely be re­tained. Este­ban Gu­tier­rez could go, es­pe­cially if you read into Amer­i­can Alexan­der Rossi’s re­cent com­ments that he has held talks with an F1 team over 2017.

Sauber

See­ing as the team has been bought out by Swiss in­vestors with links to his ma­jor Swedish spon­sor Te­tra Pak, it’s un­likely Mar­cus Eric­s­son will be go­ing any­where fast… like usual. Felipe Nasr is a solid sec­ond op­tion.

Manor

Este­ban Ocon is in ( see page 4), and Rio Haryanto is out, but still in, in a way, as he’s been of­fered a re­serve driver role – pre­sum­ably at a dis­count. For next year – who knows? Wehrlein ( right) ) needs to move up the grid but could set­tle for a sec­ond year gain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, Rossi is cur­rently the re­serve driver. Aside from that any­body with a weighty cheque­book is a can­di­date.

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