Silly Season: Time To Drop The Tiresome Charade

It’s that silly season time of the year again when Carlos Sainz is linked to another team, speculative fantasists of the field roll out their latest auditions of audacity and Honda are linked with every team but McLaren.

It used to be mildly entertaining, but it’s the same old magicians with the same old hats pulling out the same old rabbits by waving the same old wand. One trick we long for would be for the teams of the F1 grid to troll the press one year, by being completely transparent with their dealings on a day-to-day basis when silly season rolls around again. What would we write about then?

We have one of the greatest rivalries of the modern era developing this season, Hamilton’s Mercedes against Vettel’s Ferrari. Two drivers with envious accolades and two teams drenched in history, embedded in the sport. Why emphasise this when the F1 fan will, in August and September, apparently find more appetite for a speculative piece on what Carlos Sainz is apparently thinking about his 2021 career route based on unconfirmed deals between Toro Rosso-Honda and McLaren-Renault.

It’s the political fringe of F1 in action, the love for behind-the-door business deals and the chess element of the sport. But silly season isn’t about driver character or accolades, or even racing in general. It’s about quenching that human curiosity to speculate, which we are all at times prone to doing.

Having unwillingly absorbed this onslaught of speculative silly season content for close to a decade, the penny finally drops that it’s just the same babble year-in year-out with a pretty poor strike rate of accuracy. “Silly season” makes it sound jovial, but it is more grating than anything. As one who considers himself a fan before an F1 writer, it is difficult to endure another period of trying to decode what Fernando Alonso is going to do, or trying to perform telepathy on Christian Horner. It sells, yes, but it becomes a bit annoying after a while.

So far this in this season, Kubica and Alonso  have been linked to Renault and Williams, Sainz has been linked everywhere, Ricciardo to Ferrari was on for a while, as was Vettel to Mercedes. Oh, and Verstappen’s heading to Mercedes in 2019. Pascal Wehrlein’s going to Force India too. Will anything materialise or will it all be put under lock and key until this time next year, when silly season starts all over again? We forgot, Lance Stroll is apparently going to Force India too. We have no idea where Ocon and Perez are going as we haven’t seen any make-believe reports on the current pink panthers just yet.

Silly season is well underway, welcome to the simulation of OK! Magazine reporting in the world of F1. Welcome to HEAT Magazine F1 Edition, “Daniil Kvyat announces shock pregnancy!”, “Alonso seen shopping and spending cash on Indycar high street!”, “The boyfriend who ate my children and stabbed me to death twice!” and you can follow the train of thought that pre-empts everything and gets it spectacularly wrong, pretty much anywhere.