8 Craziest Driver Changes In F1

Formula One is one of the most competitive sports on this planet — so it's easy to see why some drivers swapped or dropped.

Formula One is one of the most competitive sports on this planet. Not only do you need to start as a young child, but you must also have very very deep pockets. In fact, Formula One is also one of the most expensive sports on the planet.

With all this in mind, it's easy to see why so many drivers are either dropped or swapped during, or after, a season. In recent years, there have been a lot of examples of drivers falling to the wayside. However, it isn't always for lack of skill, but for lack of funds. So, even though there are countless examples, these eight are the craziest to many...

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8 Vettel To Ferrari

After winning four back-to-back world championships with the more than capable Red Bull from 2010 to 2013, Sebastian Vettel made a questionable move. After struggling in 2014 against his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, Vettel had had enough. As a result he moved to Scuderia Ferrari.

Since leaving Red Bull for the scarlet red, Vettel has failed to pick up another championship. He has won races and qualified on pole many times since the change, however, it's not enough. With Ferrari's issues in 2019 and the emergence of new talent, Vettel may even retire soon if this championship drought persists.

7 Raikkonen To Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen, A.K.A. "The Iceman," is not known for many words. Instead, he lets his actions talk for himself. And these actions are powerful ones indeed. Such as winning a championship, becoming the first Ferrari driver to win in ages, and obliterating the competition. Sometimes, though, his actions are unexpected, like his transfer to Alfa Romeo.

Before the beginning of the 2019 season, experts speculated that Kimi would take his chips and go home. After all, he is the last Ferrari driver to win a championship for the team and is consistently good on-track. Although, Raikkonen still has the burning desire to drive and, as such, has given Charles Leclerc an opportunity to win while he hangs out and relaxes with Alfa.

6 Kvyat To Toro Rosso

Sometimes an underperforming driver can be negated to second position in the team or even booted mid season. This is exactly what happened to Daniil Kvyat, a Russian Formula One driver who failed to meet expectations at Red Bull. As a result of his failures, he was moved to Red Bull's sister team: Toro Rosso.

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This was definitely a step backwards for Kvyat, especially since Red Bull were Championship contenders, while Toro Rosso frequently stays in the back/mid-field. Perhaps Kvyat was not ready for the big-leagues during this time period. He even managed to get booted from Toro Rosso towards the end of 2017 before being accepted to the team once again for the 2019 season.

Things seem to be turning around for Daniil Kvyat, though. After his podium in Germany and success with Toro Rosso this year, it's surprising that Red Bull took his teammate over him. It seems that Helmut Marko doesn't like being wrong twice...

5 Verstappen To Red Bull

After Daniil Kvyat's disgrace and subsequent removal to Toro Rosso in 2016, he was swapped with the then Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen. At the time of his change, he had only had a single season in Formula One, but showed promise. Some criticized this decision as foolhardy since Verstappen was so young and so inexperienced. However, Max would soon prove them wrong.

Since Verstappen's move to Red Bull, he's been one of their most successful drivers. So far, this 2019 season, he is the only driver outside of Mercedes to have scored a win. Not just one win either, but two. Now, it looks as though Verstappen could secure second place in the driver's championship. Hopefully, this comes to fruition, but, with Mercedes' dominance, its hard to say for sure.

4 Gasly To Toro Rosso

Unlike Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly is the complete opposite story. Starting young, like Max, he began his Formula One career in 2018 with Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso. In Bahrain, he even managed to secure a comfortable fourth place; somewhere that nobody expects a Toro Rosso to be. As such, with Ricciardo's sudden change to Renault, Gasly seemed to be the perfect candidate to fill his seat.

Once again, though, Gasly differs from Verstappen in many things. Especially in terms of on-track performance. Gasly failed to keep up with his teammate, Max, and only managed to score fourth place as his highest finishing result. Due to this inconsistency and constant mistakes, Gasly pulled a 'Kvyat' and was demoted to Toro Rosso.

As of yet, Gasly has not been on-track for his old team this season. Although, with less pressure, he might be able to succeed and earn his place back with the big boys.

3 Schumacher To Ferrari

Believe it or not, there was a time where Ferrari didn't even come to mind when discussing potential championship contenders. To be more specific, the late '90s, where Benetton had rained supreme for the 1995 season with Michael Schumacher behind the wheel. To everyone's shock, though, Schumacher decided to go to Ferrari for the following year. A team that, for all intensive purposes, was nowhere near what Benetton was during it's heyday.

This decision was a well-founded one, however. Especially since Schumacher went on to secure a mind-blowing five more championships; securing his role as the most successful driver in the history of the sport. Of course, no normal man could have predicted this eventuality. However, Michael Schumacher is not just a "normal man," but a legend.

2 Hamilton To Mercedes

Like Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton made some strange decisions to the outside viewer. After winning his world championship in 2008 and several years of front-running at McLaren F1, he made a shock switch to Mercedes. Like Ferrari in the '90s, nobody expected Mercedes to be winning races anytime soon. They were a relatively new team with little experience and not as high of a budget as it's competitors. Although, Hamilton saw past all of this.

After Hamilton's move to Mercedes, McLaren started to decline, while Mercedes began to climb. They've climbed so high, in fact, that they currently wipe the floor with their competitors. To add to this, Hamilton is on the cusp of his sixth championship this year.

Talk about a good decision for the future!

1 Ricciardo To Renault

Perhaps the most shocking choice in Formula One in recent history (regarding driver changes) is Daniel Ricciardo's switch from the front-running Red Bull to the mid-field Renault. Before his transfer, Ricciardo mentioned how badly he wanted to be in contention for the championship, but this move seems to be in the wrong decision.

Maybe he's pulling a Schumacher; seeing great value in an underperforming team and investing in their future success. Only time will tell if he's right. Although, his recent performances and D.N.F.'s (Did Not Finish) don't bode too well for him or the team.

Regardless of all that, Ricciardo is by no means dumb. So the choice he made likely has a reason behind it. One that we cannot see just yet.

Sources: Motor Sports, Car Throttle, Wtf1

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