The Formula 1 season went into the summer break with explosive news about Red Bull Racing replacing Frenchman Pierre Gasly with sister team Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon. While red Bull is no stranger to mid-season changes, it came as a surprise because just a week prior to the announcement the team suggested that Gasly’s seat was safe.

Similarly, F1 returned from the summer break in explosive fashion at the Belgian Grand Prix held at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit with multiple driver announcements being made heading into the race weekend sending F1 “silly season” in to overdrive. The ball got rolling with Mercedes’ announcement that they will retain Valtteri Bottas as Lewis Hamilton’s teammate for the 2020 season.

“I am very happy and proud to be part of the team for a fourth season and wish to thank every team member and the board of Mercedes for their trust and belief in me," Bottas said, as quoted on “My performances have been getting better and better each year, and this is a great way to kick start the second half of 2019."

“My overall target is to become Formula One world champion. I believe that on paper, and from my experience with the team, Mercedes is the best option for me to achieve that goal in 2020,” the Mercedes driver added.

Bottas’ confirmation at Mercedes meant that their reserve driver Esteban Ocon, who is highly rated in the paddock, was left looking for another seat and it did not take long for another team to pounce on his availability. Renault F1 team, who were close to signing Ocon last season but at the last minute opted for Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo, returned and the Frenchman will now share the second yellow car alongside the Australian in 2020 and 2021.

Ocon’s arrival at the Enstone-based team will see Nico Hulkenberg without a drive for the 2020 season. He admitted while talking to’s Will Buxton on Thursday that there have been “knocks” on his door from a couple of teams but revealed that he is not in a rush to make a decision.

Nico Hulkenburg
Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Renault Sport F1 looks on in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 29, 2019 in Spa, Belgium. Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

There is plenty of uncertainty all across the grid with just four teams confirming their driver lineups for the 2020 season. Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren will remain unchanged while Renault will welcome Esteban Ocon.

Haas Racing is said to be interested in Hulkenburg’s services if team principal Gunther Steiner decides they no longer want to employ Romain Grosjean, who has not been at his best in the last two seasons. He has even clashed with teammate Kevin Magnussen on more than one occasion but the positive for the Danish driver is that he has delivered impressive performances whenever they have been able to get the best out of the car.

SportPesa Racing Point F1 is another top midfield team that are yet to confirm their driver lineup. Lance Stroll’s seat with the team is likely to be safe considering his father – Lawrence Stroll – co-owns the team. They are yet to confirm Sergio Perez for the 2020 season and the Mexican’s performance in the second-half of the campaign is expected to decide his future with the team.