Feb.9 - Nico Hulkenberg has been thrown into the suddenly-rampant Formula 1 driver "silly season", as he denied he is officially off the market for 2025.

Lewis Hamilton triggered the current chaos with his shock 2025 defection from Mercedes to Ferrari, leading to a frenzy among the many F1 drivers whose current deals with their teams expire later this year.

After an interview with Haas' Hulkenberg, a journalist for Sports Illustrated suggested the German had told him he is also under contract to the small American team for 2025.

He denies it.

"Don't believe everything," Hulkenberg, 36, said on X. "Someone took a joke a bit too serious."

The fact that Hulkenberg issued the clarification is a clear sign that he wants to be considered for a vacant 2025 seat elsewhere, having criticised Haas' failure to improve its uncompetitive car late last season.

Williams' Alex Albon is another driver caught up in the premature 2025 silly-season.

He said this week: "It's clear to me that when I look at the driver market, the teams want the same drivers for 2025 and 2026. That's what it looks like at the moment. We'll see."

Alpine's current pair have also gone public to remind the world of their expiring 2024 contracts - but also available for 2025 are Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and several others.

"I knew it was going to be a crazy (silly) season," Pierre Gasly said this week. "I didn't think it would start so soon - in January. But it's going to be like this all year. You're going to have a lot to write," he joked to journalists.

"I think the sooner you finalise your contract, the better it is for everything else," Gasly added.

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