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IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 18: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1, Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Pierre Gasly of France and Alpine F1 talk to the crowd on the fan stage prior to final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit on May 18, 2024 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405180071 // Usage for editorial use only //

Villeneuve: Perez new deal! What’s going on? Ocon axe no surprise

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 18: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1, Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Pierre Gasly of France and Alpine F1 talk to the crowd on the fan stage prior to final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit on May 18, 2024 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405180071 // Usage for editorial use only //

The 2025 Formula 1 Silly Season really ramped up this week, with news that Esteban Ocon and Alpine will part ways while Red Bull are keeping faith in Sergio Perez much to the confusion of Jacques Villeneuve.

While the Ocon parting seemed inevitable after his Monaco Grand Prix shenanigans, it still came as something of a shock. As was Red Bull handing Perez a two-year extension despite his alarming dip in form. Exacerbated in the aftermath of a forgettable weekend in Monte-Carlo for the Mexican veteran

The shock is the two-year deal he has inked. One year seemed sensible for the 34-year-old Mexican. A couple more is generous for Perez, and unbelievable according to Villeneuve: “He has had his worst season ever at Red Bull. Normally he would have an amazing first few races. But he hasn’t even had that this year.

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“So, he’s collapsed on top of that! He was already behind Max at the start of the season and now he’s dropped another half a second. That is ten cars on the grid. I don’t know what is going on,” admitted the 1997 F1 World Champion.

Villeneuve: So what market are Alpine trying to hit?

Perez, Ocon silly season villeneuve

As for the drama at Alpine, Villeneuve ventured: “It’s not surprising to see Esteban Ocon and Alpine part ways. There was no way Alpine could keep two French drivers with Ocon and Pierre Gasly. What’s the point? What’s in it for them?

“It’s a French team with two French drivers. So what market are they trying to hit? France only. It doesn’t make sense. There was always going to be one of them leaving. That was obvious. With that kind of move by Ocon at Monaco, he is not the driver you keep. He made the decision easy for the team,” reckoned Villeneuve.

Sources in the F1 paddock suggest Ocon is in talks with Haas to replace Kevin Magnussen at the tem next year. The American team are also likely to run Ferrari protege Oliver Bearman for their final year as a Maranello customer.

Nine seats on the 2025 F1 grid are up for grabs this Silly Season?

silly seasondrivers f1 2024 group photo formula 1

Regarding Ocon’s replacement, Villeneuve has no doubts: “It has to be Jack Doohan, who is their reserve driver. They have been spending millions preparing him, making him drive in the old car for three years now. The logic would be to put him in there.

“The market is very volatile now. Everyone is waiting to find out what happens to Sainz, what will happen at Williams, Mercedes and of course Haas. There is a lot of movement waiting,” predicted Villeneuve.

Of the 20 drivers on the current F1 grid, 11 of them will be on the grid next year. Nine seats are up for grabs in what has to be one of the most volatile F1 driver Silly Seasons in memory. In sharp contrast to last year, when no driver lost his job.

The end of this season is set to be very different. Watch this space. (Quotes supplied by the Media Team at Best Online Poker Sites)

Confirmed 2025 F1 driver line-ups

Team DriversContract End/ Candidates
Red Bull Verstappen
Perez
2028
2026
FerrariLeclerc
Hamilton
Several years
Multi-year
MercedesGeorge Russell
TBC
2025
Antonelli, Ocon, Vettel, Schumacher
McLarenLando Norris
Oscar Piastri
2027
2026
Aston MartinLance Stroll
Fernando Alonso
Indefinite
2026
AlpineTBC
TBC
Gasly, Doohan, Zhou, Schumacher,
WilliamsAlex Albon
TBC
2026
Sargeant, Bottas, Sainz, Antonelli
VCARBTBC
TBC
Ricciardo, Lawson
Tsunoda
HaasTBC
TBC
Ocon, Bottas
Bearman
Stake F1 Team SauberNico Hülkenberg
TBC
Multi-year
Zhou, Bottas, Sainz