Delving Into The F1 2020 Transfer Market
We’re two race weeks into the 2nd half of the 2019 Formula 1 season and while both the Championship battles are almost dead in the water with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton leading the Drivers’ Championship by a near unassailable 63-point lead against his team mate, Valterri Bottas, the F1 driver transfer market is buzzing as ever.
Last year, the Belgium Grand Prix grabbed headlines with the surprise move of Australian, Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull Racing to rivals, Renault F1 Team. This move came with a domino effect, toppling the whole grid and causing a massive shake up of drivers in the midfield. Although, this season is unlikely to bring the excitement of the 2018 driver transfers, F1 fans can gear up for an exciting few months before the start of the 2020 season. Here’s taking a look at how secure the seats at each team is and look at the possible replacements.
Lewis Hamilton (CONFIRMED)
Valterri Bottas (CONFIRMED)
Sebastian Vettel (CONFIRMED)
Charles Leclerc (CONFIRMED)
Max Verstappen (CONFIRMED)
The rookie has just had two races since his promotion to Red Bull from their sister team, Toro Rosso. Despite having impressed in both the races so far for Red Bull and having had a stellar first half of the season at the Scuderia Toro Rosso, his seat is far from confirmed. With Red Bull’s Helmut Marko stating that Alex got Pierre Gasly’s seat over former teammate Kvyat so that comparisons could be drawn between the three drivers in the Red Bull.
An outside chance for the 2nd driver seat, although highly unlikely, could be the German Nico Hulkenberg, who has recently lost his seat to Frenchman, Esteban Ocon. This could only happen if all the three candidates have extremely poor showings in the remaining seven races.
Daniel Ricciardo (CONFIRMED)
Nico Hulkenberg Out, Esteban Ocon In (CONFIRMED)
Nico Hulkenberg’s eviction from Renault came as quite a surprise to everyone as the German hadn’t performed poorly but had only performed worse than his teammate. In what has been an extremely poor season for Renault, Hulkenberg did his best being just 3 points behind his charismatic Australian counterpart, Daniel Ricciardo who could be argued to be one of the best drivers on the grid.
Esteban Ocon’s move to Renault was even more surprising considering he almost seemed destined for Valterri Bottas’ Mercedes seat. Ocon, who sat out the 2019 season after not securing a drive post leaving Force India (now, Racing Point) has been heralded to be the next big thing in F1 and could provide Renault with the perfect results to nudge them in the right direction.
Carlos Sainz (CONFIRMED)
Lando Norris (CONFIRMED)
RACING POINT F1
Lance Stroll (CONFIRMED)
Sergio Perez (CONFIRMED)
Daniil Kvyat has had a career of many ups and downs. A prime example of this is being promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull in 2015 to replace 4-time World Champion, Sebastian Vettel. The Russian impressed in the 2015 season but seriously disappointed in 2016, so much so that he was demoted back to Toro Rosso after just 4 races.
In 2017, he was also dropped by Toro Rosso, only for him to make a spectacular comeback in 2019 with them. 2020 could see the Russian being promoted back to partner with the man who replaced him at Red Bull in 2016, Max Verstappen.
Although, as is with the case with Alex Albon, he will have performed at his best competing with Albon and Gasly for the single Red Bull seat. With all that being said, his seat with Toro Rosso will remain safe even if he’s not promoted to the senior team.
Pierre Gasly has had a horrid campaign in 2019, after what seemed like a dream move for the former F2 champion. Gasly was promoted to Red Bull after having had a stellar campaign in 2018 with the Toro Rosso. Pierre failed to show up for the senior Red Bull outfit, being out-qualified and out-raced by teammate, Max Verstappen. The Frenchman was demoted back to Red Bull to give rookie Albon a crack at the Red Bull.
Yet again, he will be in a three-way battle between himself, Albon and Kvyat. Although, unlike Kvyat, his seat at Toro Rosso could be under threat from Red Bull academy graduate Dan Ticktum.
In what has been a disastrous season for Haas, the only American team in the sport has suffered not only on the track but also off it, as sponsor Rich Energy were being investigated. Finally, this led to a break up in relations between the American outfit and their sponsor. The Dane has gathered 18 of the team’s 26 points. K-Mag’s seat while not yet confirmed should not be under any threat provided that the Dane consistently outperforms his teammate.
Haas’ first ever point scorer has had a year very similar to the last. The Frenchman has consistently made several mistakes, not unlike last year. The Frenchman will be very lucky if he enters the 2020 season with his seat. As reports suggest, Renault outcast, Nico Hulkenberg could join his fierce rival, Kevin Magnussen as teammate next season. This is the most likely transfer of the season as other possible contenders such as Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne join Mercedes’ Formula E countertop.
The Iceman has had a very good season, contending consistently in the midfield. Raikkonen has gathered 31 of the Italian team’s 34 points. He will turn 40 in 2020, and unless he calls it a day, ‘Kimi’s’ Alfa seat is safe.
The Italian came to Alfa Romeo with a lot of hopes as an Italian driver joining an Italian team, but the dream has not gone to plan. Giovinazzi has scored only 3 points in the 14 races, being ahead of only Williams’ Kubica and Russell. He should be very likely to be given the boot ahead of the 2020 season.
The likely replacement candidate could be Marcus Ericsson, as he was called back to the team before the Belgian GP but was only selected as the reserve driver as Kimi had a niggle in his left thigh. Another possible candidate could be Haas’ Romain Grosjean who looks set to lose his Haas drive. Another candidate could be F2 driver Mick Schumacher, but it’s very unlikely considering he hasn’t performed too well in F2.
George Russell (CONFIRMED)
The Pole’s return to F1 could be described as something right out of a Hollywood movie. Kubica was something of a rising star in F1 back in the early 2010’s with magnificent drives all around during the 2010 and 2011 season, so much so that the Krakow-born driver had secured a pre-contract with Scuderia Ferrari. A high-speed crash ruined his chances as he was unable to drive.
He made a spectacular comeback in 2019, but that is where the fairytale ended as Kubica only gathered one point over 14 races. Although he is placed above his teammate due to the chaos of the German Grand Prix, he has constantly been outraced and out-qualified by teammate, George Russell. The two possible candidates could be Russian, Nikita Mazepin or Canadian, Nicholas Latifi as both of them bring in massive financial backings which the team needs without a doubt.