Here’s all the latest gossip and rumours in Formula 1 after the race in Singapore.
Pascal Wehrlein set for F1 return?
Mercedes & Pascal Wehrlein have announced that they are opting for divorce at the end of the current season. The German driver returned to DTM after his two years in F1 but, with Mercedes on the way out of that series, they’ve opted against continuing with Wehrlein as part of their program.
Now a free agent, Wehrlein is sniffing around for racing opportunities and one of them may be at Toro Rosso. With the Red Bull junior team yet to announce who will drive for them next year after the promotion of Pierre Gasly to the senior squad, it appears that former Red Bull affiliates Daniil Kvyat & Sebastien Buemi are possibilities as well as Wehrlein & McLaren refugee Stoffel Vandoorne. French publication L’Equipe report that Wehrlein is eyeing up a return to F1, while he may also be looking into Formula E.
With Mercedes increasing their involvement in Formula E, Wehrlein doesn’t appear to be a candidate for a seat at the new HWA team entry after the announcement of his departure from the Merc program. However, he could have an in at the Mahindra team. He is carrying out some testing at the Catalaf circuit as part of Mahindra’s pre-season preparations.
Kimi Raikkonen & Lewis Hamilton head for Thailand
Both Lewis Hamilton & Kimi Raikkonen flew straight to Thailand after the race in Singapore. Raikkonen made his way to the Impact Speed Park where he took part in a Singha Beer junior karting event, including a race in the park’s new Sodi Karts. He posed for pictures with the children taking part, as well as showing off his kart control skills. According to an enthusiastic Instagram post afterwards, ‘he won’.
— Kimi Räikkönen #7 (@FansOfKR) September 18, 2018
Hamilton was there for a training and promotional event with Puma Performance, where he was shown on Instagram kick-boxing and doing various exercises in the heat of Phuket.
McLaren & Alonso weighing up various options
There’s every rumour under the sun regarding both parties currently circulating. While we know for certain McLaren will be in F1 with Carlos Sainz & Lando Norris next year with Alonso leaving, there’s still a lot to sort out away from F1. According to SportBusiness Journal, CEO Zak Brown has told IndyCar CEO Mark Miles that McLaren continue to work hard to entering IndyCar fulltime in 2019. This is despite recent suggestions that McLaren had cooled off from the idea.
The question then is, would Alonso drive for McLaren in IndyCar? Having carried out a road test at Barber last week, Alonso was apparently not hugely enthusiastic about the cars due to their weight and comparative lack of speed.
Both Alonso and NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson have been releasing mysterious tweets in recent days, implying that they may be taking part in a promotional seat swap event. Is NASCAR a possibility? Alonso has said that he likes the idea of the Daytona 500, but he has also, ambiguously, retweeted an article about him being pursued by the Formula E series to join the all-electric championship. He certainly doesn’t seem to be short of options to find something to go alongside his WEC campaign with Toyota….