Hamilton to Horner – An off-season of unprecedented turmoil in F1

Lewis Hamilton set to join Ferrari in 2025 (Credit: Twitter @F1)

If you are a fan of Formula 1, chances are that in the past few weeks you have had one too many startling news notifications on your mobile phones. “Silly season” is known for itsover-the-top and delusional rumours, but this time around, several seemed to come true. Making us feel as if we were living a fever dream. From a notable American motorsport team, Andretti-Cadillac, being rejected in its attempt to join the sport, to the ground-breaking Lewis Hamilton move to Ferrari – the past few weeks have been a whirlwind in F1.


On February 1, F1 fans and pundits alike were glued to their phone and laptop screens, incessantly refreshing their social-media homepages in anticipation of official confirmation regarding Hamilton’s highly speculated move to Ferrari. “Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari” rumours had cropped up every off-season since 2021, but this time around things were different as news broke that the Mercedes team had been told of Hamilton’s departure. Hours later, Ferrari officially announced the signing of one of the sport’s most prominent figures, marking the biggest and the most significant driver move in F1 history.


As Formula 1 expanded its presence in the American motorsport market by adding more US tracks to its calendar, fans were eagerly anticipating the acceptance of Andretti-Cadillac’s bid to establish a new Formula 1 team. With Andretti’s illustrious reputation in American motorsports and its widespread recognition among fans, expectations were high for the team’s potential entry into the prestigious F1 championship before 2026.

Andretti, although approved by F1’s governing body, FIA, was later turned down by the commercial-rights holder on the grounds that it believed the team would not be competitive or add value to the championship. F1 has left the option open for another application in 2028. Whether or not the rejection benefits the sport is still under question, as Andretti’s entry could have brought in the team’s huge fan base.


Over the years, Christian Horner, RedBull Racing principal and CEO, has built a reputation for his ruthlessness and emotional detachment when it comes to decision making for the team. But it seems like that very approach has landed Horner into trouble.

Horner is currently under investigation after a female Red Bull Racing employee made allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’. Although the team principal has denied the charges, parent company Red Bull has launched a probe into the allegations and has hired external legal help to carry out the investigation. Reports have surged that the allegations were made in reference to Horner’s ‘aggressive style of management’.


Other news that sent shockwaves across the F1 community was Guether Steiner’s departure from HAAS as team principal – a position that he had occupied since the very inception of the team.

According to Steiner, the news of him not being offered a contract extension was delivered on a short phone call by Gene Haas, the team’s founder. His exit stemmed from disagreements and tensions with the team owner, coupled with the team’s failure to adapt to the evolving landscape of the sport.


Following the indictment of Subramanian Iswaran, Singapore’s former Transport Minister, on 27 charges in a corruption probe, the government of Singapore recently declared its intention to re-evaluate the terms of contract for the Singapore GP.

Moreover, the investigation involves Ong Beng Seng, the billionaire hotel mogul who played a crucial role in bringing the inaugural Formula One night race to Singapore in 2008. Grace Fu, the Minister for Trade and Industry, addressed Parliament on Monday, stating, “Given the allegations of corruption, we are revisiting the terms of the (F1) agreement.”

Considering the recent events, the reassessment of the Singapore GP is aimed at ensuring that no Formula One contracts have been formulated to the detriment of the government.

As F1 continues to navigate these turbulent waters, one thing remains certain – the world’s premier racing series continues to captivate audiences with its blend of high-stakes competition and off-track intrigue. Especially considering all the recent developments, that will add to the anticipation of F1 fans before the lights turn green in March.

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