The Student News Site of Trinity University


The Student News Site of Trinity University


The Student News Site of Trinity University


February opens frantic Formula One offseason

From shock firings to Hamilton’s stunning transfer, F1’s break has been anything but relaxing

The Formula One (F1) offseason is typically a time to relax and enjoy a quiet break before the action kicks off once again. However, with the first preseason test only a week away and the first race still two weeks out, the winter “break” may just be a precursor for a potentially chaotic season ahead.

Everything started in January when it was announced thatGuenther Steiner, long-time Team Principal of Haas F1 Team, would not be returning to the grid after team owner Gene Haas elected not to renew his contract. The Haas team officially entered the F1 grid in 2016, but Steiner has been a part of the project since its early days, being announced as Team Principal in 2014. Haas saw early success in their first race, with driver Romain Grosjean scoring points on debut in Australia. Since then, however, things have gone downhill for the American outfit, and the team has been considered a backmarker rather than race contenders over the last few seasons.

Steiner’s departure was a shock to many, as he became one of the most popular figures on the grid after his role in the hit Netflix documentary “Drive to Survive,” where his colorful language and personality endeared him to fans. In the weeks following the decision, it was revealed that Haas did not renew Steiner due to tensions within the organization. After a dismal campaign that earned the team last-place finish in the constructors championship, Steiner reportedly wanted Haas to invest more into the team. The billionaire Haas, however, reportedly wanted results without putting in the money to earn it.

The next bit of F1 news centered around an American team once again. After almost three years of debate, it was announced that Marco Andretti, one of the most legendary names in motorsports, would not be allowed entry into the 2025 or 2026 F1 season. Andretti, the grandson of racing royalty Mario Andretti, first announced his intention to create his own F1 team in October of 2021.

Despite the brand recognition it would bring to the sport, F1 teams and the FIA (the governing body of F1 and other racing series in Europe) kept placing hurdles in Andretti’s way. Instead of letting that stop him, Andretti continued checking off the boxes to join F1, pushing the planned entry date back to 2025 to accommodate for a planned engine regulations overhaul. He proved his ability to pay the $300 million entry fee and partnered with American conglomerate General Motors to provide the power units. All of this set the stage for what should have been the debut of Andretti-Cadillac in 2025. Yet, on the last day of January, F1 announced that all of it was for naught.

The official reason behind F1’s decision to deny Andretti entry was just as infuriating for fans as the denial in the first place. Even with the brand, the name and the money, F1 said that the team, “wouldn’t be competitive,” in their statement. The reactions from fans, pundits and drivers ranged from disappointment to anger, with many expressing their displeasure on social media.

“I’m devastated,” Mario Andretti wrote after the announcement on X, formerly Twitter. “I won’t say anything else because I can’t find any other words besides devastated.” The reactions by others, including drivers, were more combative.

“A racing series wants to expand into America, but won’t allow any more American teams in it,” three-time Australian V8 Supercars Champion and current IndyCar driver Scott McLaughlin wrote on X in response.

On Feb. 1, less than 24 hours after the Andretti news broke, the most shocking news of all broke: seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton would be leaving Mercedes at the end of 2024 and joining long-time rival Ferrari. Hamilton, who won six of his seven titles with the Silver Arrows, has been with Mercedes since 2012. The driver-team combo saw 82 wins over the last 11 years, but Hamilton hasn’t won a race since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, due in large part to the dominance of Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team.

Speaking of Red Bull, another bombshell dropped just a couple of days after the Hamilton news for a less-than-glamorous reason. Dutch publication De Telegraaf reported that Christian Horner, the team principal of the Red Bull organization since its first race in 2005, was under investigation for inappropriate workplace conduct. Early reports suggest that a female employee has accused Horner of “inappropriate, controlling behavior,” though no news has dropped regarding potential ramifications. Since 2005, Horner has overseen 370 races, 13 titles and 113 victories, meaning that the team will be losing a key senior figure should he be forced to resign.

After a relatively quiet end to the 2023 F1 season, the first six weeks of the year have thrown everything into chaos. From the shocking pseudo-firing of one of F1’s beloved team bosses to the shocking transfer of Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari, the 2024 offseason has given fans fireworks before the first race has even begun.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Caleb Reed
Caleb Reed, Sports Editor
Hey! I'm Caleb Reed, and I'm the new Sports Editor for the Trinitonian this year. I love all kinds of sports and I've got a passion for both commentary and journalism which is why I declared as a Communications Major last spring. I'm super excited to be in my Junior year here at Trinity, and I'm incredibly happy to be back on the staff for my third year.

Comments (0)

All Trinitonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *