Two unnamed teams are reportedly set to convene a driver swap as early as the mid-season break, according to reports on a number of F1 websites.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been having a woeful time this season, consistently getting outpaced not only by rivals across the track, but by his own teammate George Russell.
It has led some fans to believe that he may be involved in the shock driver swap.
Hamilton was forced to complete his race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix outside the points and was even lapped by 2021 rival Max Verstappen in the process.
Mid-season swap deal on the cards
Reputed F1 journalist Alberta Fabrega has claimed to having insider information that something major is about to happen in the sport.
“I am not surprised by those who leave, but I am surprised by those who arrive. Well, it is a change of drivers between teams.”
Former F1 driver Mika Hakkinen had claimed that Hamilton will be weighing his options and may even quit the sport altogether. however, the seven-time world champion refuted this completely.
However, there is also speculation over the future of some other big names in the sport.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo is another name that has got thrown around, with a rumour that he could swap seats with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
Gasly showed his class last year alongside Yuki Tsunoda and with Ricciardo failing to do justice to his huge salary at McLaren, this rumour might hold some truth to it.
This season has also been a struggle for Ricciardo, who has only 11 points in the first 4 races. It may also help Ricciardo, since he has a history with Red Bull, who own AlphaTauri. Gasly, meanwhile, didn’t convince the bosses at Red Bull, and it might be in his best interest to fashion a move away from the team altogether.
Which other drivers could make a swap?
Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel is another name that has got thrown around with respect to this particular rumour.
Although he did manage a points finish in Imola, it is fair to say that he has not established his credentials at Aston Martin. In all fairness, he also doesn’t have the best car at his disposal, and many have predicted that he will retire from the sport soon enough.
In light of that, a rumour linking him with a switch to Williams till the end of the season and a promotion for Alex Albon to Aston Martin has been doing the rounds. However, it does not seem very likely.
However, if the driver in question is not currently on the grid, it may perhaps be likeliest that Vettel will make way, with many insisting that he will lose motivation to stay in the sport on the back of some disappointing years at Ferrari and Aston Martin.
If the swap reference is indeed for someone not currently on the grid, the prospect of F2 champion Oscar Piastri replacing Williams’ Nicholas Latifi could also be a possibility.
Who do you think will be involved in the swap? Let us know in the comments!