The Formula 1 "silly season" has begun and the fate of Max Verstappen is one hot topic. The Red Bull star is being linked to a move to Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas is in danger of being dropped by the team.

According to the Formula 1 website, both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen will be out of contract with their respective teams at the end of 2020. With Hamilton likely to bag another world championship this season, the team won't be too keen to let him go. This leaves Bottas in a more vulnerable position.

However, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is the first person to deny that Mercedes has made any formal inquiries about Verstappen.

"Toto has certainly not spoken to me about it. He speaks to almost every driver on the grid, so I would think if he has had a conversation it's been direct not through the team," he said.

Horner confirms that a potential Verstappen-Hamilton swap has not been discussed either. "The situation with Max is clear and as with other drivers there are always trigger points. But in terms of having those two in one team, I haven't heard from Lewis either that he wants to join next year," he said.

Max Verstappen
Red Bull Driver Max Verstappen

Even without the arrival of Verstappen, Bottas is in a precarious position. His contract expires at the end of the current season and he is currently 62 points behind Hamilton. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has already hinted that he might be released soon. In a statement, he clearly stated that the team is considering Force India driver Esteban Ocon.

"We have a responsibility for our juniors and for the ones who are in the car with us right now, and we're not going to do anything that's going to make it harder for them. So, whatever we decide… if it's for Esteban [to] progress, to make it back one day in a Mercedes, or if it's for Valtteri, [to] have a soft landing like you call it. Because he deserves it, he had great speed [in Hungary]," said Wolff.

In other silly season news, a Fernando Alonso comeback rumour has been floating around the paddock. At the Hungarian Grand Prix post-race press conference, drivers weighed in on the possibility with some of them clearly warmer to the idea than others.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel admitted that he never felt like Alonso ever liked him. Verstappen however, is keen to race against one of the sport's legends. "I think it was a bit of a shame I never had an opportunity fight against him in F1," he said.