Formula One Drivers who Swapped Teams Mid-Season – Essentially Sports

Red Bull

In Formula One, there have been occasions when some drivers elect to swap teams, or are forcibly swapped. Pierre Gasly is hardly the first driver to swap teams mid-season, and may not be the last.

In fact, his soon-to-be teammate, Daniil Kvyat is also another victim of a mid-season swap. However, in the early days, some swaps took place owing to external reasons. So, here are some Formula One drivers who swapped teams mid-season.

Giancarlo Fisichella

Force India
Giancarlo Fisichella

The 2009 Formula One season was a tough one for Ferrari and things got even worse when Felipe Massa had his horrific accident in Hungary. As it turned out, his replacement, Luca Badoer failed to get to grips with the car. Then at the Belgian Grand Prix, Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella stunned everyone when he grabbed pole position and went on to finish second. Without wasting a second, Ferrari pounced on the veteran and slotted him into the Scuderia.

Jarno Trulli

Jarno Trulli

Believe it or not, the Italian driver went through a mid-season swap twice, the first time was in 1997 when he switched from Minardi to Prost. In the first few races, he raised plenty of eyebrows, and later, when Olivier Panis got injured, Trulli was drafted.

Later, in the 2004 Formula One season, Trulli had a strong start and even won the Monaco Grand Prix. However, his relationship with Renault waned and he was soon carted off to Toyota, three races before the season ended.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jean Alesi

Frentzen unintentionally trigger the swap when he was sacked by Jordan ahead of his home race in the 2001 Formula One season. Then, there was speculation that a move for Alesi to Jordan was imminent. A race later, Prost dissolved their contract with the Frenchman, allowing him to return to Jordan. In response, Prost roped in a now-unemployed Frentzen, though both drivers did not last until the end of the season.

Mika Salo

The Finnish driver had a strange year in 1999, going from unemployed to a BAR seat and even to Ferrari. Salo was without a contract initially, but was called up by BAR to replace an injured Ricardo Zonta. After Zonta returned, it wasn’t long before Salo was called up one more time, this time to replace an injured Michael Schumacher at Ferrari. Incidentally, he had just got married a week earlier and Ferrari gave him the perfect wedding gift.

Roberto Moreno

Moreno actually drove for three different teams in a single season, back in 1991. He started his career in Benetton, but was forced to move over for an upcoming talent called Michael Schumacher. He then took over Michael’s vacated Jordan seat, but got replaced by Alessandro Zanardi. After being left without a drive again, he got some reprieve when a seat opened up at Minardi.

Max Verstappen and Daniil Kvyat

During the 2016 season, Daniil Kvyat turned in inconsistent performances for Red Bull and the last straw was the Russian Grand Prix. So, the Russian driver was promptly booted down to Toro Rosso and Max Verstappen was promoted in his stead. The Dutch driver repaid the faith by winning in his very first race for Red Bull.

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz Jr.
Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz was initially drafted to replace Jolyon Palmer for the 2018 Formula One season. However, Palmer was sacked early in 2017 and Sainz got the early swap, so Toro Rosso cycled between Pierre Gasly, Daniil Kvyat and Brendon Hartley that year.

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