The rest of the 2017 grid looks set to lock into place in the coming days.
Brazil’s SporTV, headed by F1 commentator Lito Cavalcanti, claims that Esteban Ocon has now been signed up for the 2017 season by Force India.
That will be good news for Renault’s Kevin Magnussen, as the Mercedes and Renault-linked Frenchman Ocon had been strongly linked with the French works team.
But Cavalcanti claims that Brazilian Felipe Nasr had also been a strong candidate for the Force India seat.
“(Toto) Wolff made it clear to Force India that ‘I want Ocon for this job’,” he said, claiming the Silverstone based team will get a subsidy for its Mercedes engine debt by signing Ocon.
It is believed Nasr will now stay at Sauber, alongside his current teammate Marcus Ericsson.
“The television audience in Brazil is very large,” said Cavalcanti, “and this is significant for Bernie Ecclestone. So Nasr has all the support to get a spot.”
And if Magnussen stays at Renault, that also gives a boost to Esteban Gutierrez’s chances of staying at Haas for a second year.
“Fortunately, we have other options,” Gutierrez said, “which we are now considering strongly. I think it will be important to close something soon.”
Gutierrez married his partner Monica last weekend, the Mexican driver announced on Twitter.