Monday, 4 August 2014

Silly Season all year round

"Silly Season" is a term given to a time when rumours and speculation get rather out of hand for any given subject. However, in more recent times, thanks to social media and the internet in general, this seems to never stop.

Let's take one example, Formula 1. Formula 1 has a silly season every year when drivers are constantly linked to moves away from their current teams to pastures new. One such team who has had lots of links to drivers is McLaren. It's fair to say that the Woking based team has not had the best of years recently but with the return of Ron Dennis and a reuniting partnership with Honda for next year, The driver who has been talked about as leaving is Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion talked of retirement after his dad John passed away earlier this year but insists that he is not going to retire any time soon. After telling the press that he needs to focus more, Ron Dennis himself may be looking elsewhere for someone to get the team back at the front of the F1 field. Two of the surprising drivers linked are Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, team-mates from the infamous 2007 season.

It's unlikely that they would ever be team-mates again but one of them returning to McLaren, debatable. With Lewis, he left the team because he wanted more freedom and he wasn't happy after a retirement at Singapore, where ironically, a Mercedes-Benz component failed on the car. After that, he was talked into joining the Mercedes team by Niki Lauda. 

As for the eyebrow-endowed Spaniard, it's no secret that Alonso and Dennis' relationship deteriorated during that Hollywood-movie-worthy 2007 season. Where Alonso believed that the team preferred Hamilton. This all came to a point when Alonso blackmailed Dennis about the sensitive information from Ferrari about their car. It was Dennis himself who turned in McLaren to the FIA and got the immense fine and expulsion from the 2007 Constructor's Championship. Would Fernando Alonso go back to McLaren after that? Who knows. One thing is for sure, if Kimi Raikkonen can go back to Ferrari after he was thrown out then anything is possible. 

Two more names in the hat are Williams' Valtteri Bottas and reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, who isn't having the best of times right now at Red Bull with his team mate Daniel Ricciardo smiling his way to being the best non-Mercedes as Vettel retires every other race. For Vettel to leave Red Bull it would be because he feels he needs a new challenge, and he'd get that at McLaren but he'd also get it at Ferrari, where he's been heavily linked to in the past. Vettel has said that he'd like to one emulate his hero Michael Schumacher and drive a red Ferrari but has also said that his favourite ever F1 car is a McLaren, the 1993 MP4/8 to be specific. 

As for Bottas, well his hero is Mika Hakkinen, who happens to be his manager. He drove for McLaren rather successfully. And it's not just him, plenty of Finnish drivers end up at McLaren at some point in their career and I'd imagine that driving for them one day would also appeal to Bottas. 

It's all conjecture without any real backup. I mean, Romain Grosjean has also been linked to McLaren because his manager is Eric Boullier, McLaren's Racing Director. That doesn't always mean that he'll get a drive there. I mean, Mark Webber's manager was Flavio Briatore and he never drove for Renault back in the 2000s.

The thing is, without any real sources to back it up, rumours are just that, rumours. Someone might go to McLaren or they might stick with Button and Magnussen. Who knows? I don't but maybe Eddie Jordan does.