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THREE shocking driver signings in F1 History

THREE shocking driver signings in F1 History

F1 News

THREE shocking driver signings in F1 History

THREE shocking driver signings in F1 History
GPFans Writer

Every sport has its own surprises, and Formula 1 is no exception. From unexpected victories to title races that go down to the wire, there's always something going on in this high-octane thrill ride.

Well, perhaps this season has been a little underwhelming, but that's solely due to the brilliance of one man.

Ever since he wrapped up his maiden world championship in controversial fashion at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Max Verstappen has been in a league of his own. Last season, he romped to a second consecutive title in record-breaking fashion. And this season, he has somehow managed to improve on last year's herculean exploits.

So far this term, Super Max has won ten of the opening 12 races. has pretty much wrapped up a third straight crown barely halfway into the season. And if that wasn't enough, the next Grand Prix on the calendar comes from the Netherlands and the Circuit Zandvoort, a race he's never lost.

In fact, such has been his dominance this season, that top Canada sports betting sites aren't even offering odds on him winning the world championship, despite the title not mathematically being wrapped up. The best futures market they can offer is the "without Verstappen" market, a market that his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez is the current -400 to win. However, it isn't just Verstappen that has been in the headlines so far this term.

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso made waves last season when he swapped Alpine for Aston Martin in one of the most shocking switches in recent memory. The French team he was leaving had an impressive campaign last season, while his new team had been propping up the grid. The decision however has turned out to be an inspired one, and the Spaniard has already been on the podium six times, more than anyone could have anticipated.

Alonso's success got us thinking about what other shocking switches have there been over the years. Well, let's take a look. And spoiler alert, the 42-year-old playboy features on our list once more.

READ MORE: Alonso reveals 'SHOCKING' advice that launched stunning F1 career

Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes

When Lewis Hamilton announced in 2012 that he would be leaving McLaren, the team that had given him his debut and helped him win his first world championship, to join Mercedes, many were stunned. At the time, the Woking-based outfit was considered one of the fastest teams in the paddock, while the Silver Arrows were struggling to keep up with the big guns and were locked in a midfield battle. The decision was so shocking that Jeremy Clarkson asked Hamilton to his face on the TV show Top Gear: "Isn't that a bit like transferring from Manchester United to West Ham?"

But Hamilton saw something in the Mercedes team that others didn't. He noticed that the German team was investing heavily in the future, particularly for the regulation changes culminating in the 2014 season. The decision proved to be an inspired one, and the Silver Arrows led Hamilton to six more world championships, tying him level with Michael Schumacher for the most world championships of all time.

Fernando Alonso to McLaren

In 2007, Fernando Alonso was the top star in Formula One. He had just seen off-title fights with Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher to win back-to-back world championships with Renault. Despite that though, he sides with the French team's biggest rivals at the time, McLaren.

This was a big deal, not just because Alonso was one of the most successful drivers at the time, but because it meant he would be paired with another incredible talent: a young rookie by the name of Lewis Hamilton. Fans were excited to see the dynamic between the two drivers and who would be given preferential treatment as the team's lead driver, but things quickly went wrong. The two drivers clashed both on the track and in the paddock, with Alonso accusing the team of favoring Hamilton.

The scandal blew up into a major controversy, resulting in Alonso turning whistleblower on his own team for the infamous 'Spygate' scandal. McLaren was handed a massive fine and docked points and to make matters worse, both their drivers would miss out on the title, eventually being pipped to the crown by Ferrari's Räikkönen in a three-way title fight at the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz to Ferrari

In 2020, it was announced that Carlos Sainz would be joining Ferrari. While on paper this switch may not seem that shocking, it was indeed a stunner for a number of reasons. The first of those was that Sainz had only been with McLaren for a year, and many expected him to stay so that the team could be built around him. The Scuderia had just finished their worst year in F1 since 1980 while the McLaren team he was leaving had had an impressive campaign.

But the main reason why the decision was a shock was the timing of it. Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel still had a year remaining on his Ferrari contract and the team were effectively telling him that they were choosing teammate Charles Leclerc over him, a decision that would rub the German up the wrong way. Throughout the course of their one remaining season together, Leclerc and Vettel clashed on tracks a number of times, and it was a massive relief for the team when the season was finally over and Sainz could get to work.

READ MORE: Alonso makes STUNNING claim in threat to Verstappen and Hamilton

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