Who is your favourite mid-season F1 replacement?

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    Who are you favourite drivers who came in mid-season to replace another driver? Over the years many drivers have come in and made an impression (or not!) part-way through the season. Here are a few that come to mind:

    Mario Andretti (1982, Ferrari, replaced Pironi) a podium at Monza on his first race back!
    Stefan Johansson (1985, Ferrari, replaced Arnoux) solid points and podium achiever from the start
    Jean Alesi (1989, Tyrrell, replaced Alboreto) ran as high as second in his first race
    Marc Surer (1985, Brabham, replaced Hesnault) great driver at last gets a decent car, ran second behind Mansell at Brands Hatch

    Then there’s Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard too …

    Any thoughts?


    I got into F1 very recently so VET 2007 (twice) couldn’t have been bad…

    KOB in 2009 (OK that wasn’t really mid-season, but still) was also quite good. I guess DRS ruined his career?


    Just adding two to think about, Kovalainen and D’Ambrosio resp. at Lotus in 2013 COTA – Interlagos and 2012 Monza? Ricciardo at HRT in 2011?


    This man. He gained a cult following on F1 Rejects that continues to this day.

    Honourable mentions:
    – Sakon “He of the dodgy neck” Yamamoto in literally every season he’s driven in.
    – Pedro de la Rosa doing a decent job at McLaren in 2005 and 2006, as well as his unexpected return to Sauber in 2011.
    – Luca Badoer at Ferrari in 2009. Got a lot of undeserved hate in my view.
    – Stéphane Sarrazin for a decent first (and sadly, only) race in Brazil 1999 before that spectacular accident.
    – Alex Wurz for the rare podium-without-standing-on-the-podium in Imola 2005.
    – Markus Winkelhock for, well I’m sure you know ;)
    – Robert Kubica, because finally BMW were rid of Villeneuve!
    – Jacques Villeneuve at Renault in 2004, because it’s kind of weird to think that he and Alonso were briefly in the same team…
    – Timo Glock at Jordan, because I keep forgetting that happened…
    – Alesi and Frentzen switching teams mid-season in 2001.

    And probably more that I can’t think of right now.


    @anto some great choices there; and of course Alex Wurz’ debut came as a mid-year replacement (for Berger at Benetton, scoring a podium in his third race.

    And a big shout out for Roberto Moreno: stood in for Nigel Mansell at Lotus as long ago as 1982; again for Pascal Fabre at AGS in 1987 (scoring a point in Australia) and yet again for Nannini at Benetton in 1990 (finishing second).

    As we all know, poor Moreno would be booted out of Benetton by another mid-year replacement, one Michael Schumacher!


    Jarno Trulli, who replaced Olivier Panis at Prost after the 1997 Canadian Grand Prix and was leading the Austrian Grand Prix just a few months later.

    Mika Salo, who replaced Michael Schumacher at Ferrari after the 1999 British Grand Prix and might have won the German Grand Prix if it wasn’t for Ferrari’s team orders.


    I always find it strange to think Martin Brundle drove for Williams at Spa 1988, he was their test driver at the time and Mansell had chicken pox.


    Mika Hakkinen replacing Michael Andretti at Mclaren in 1993

    Mika Salo replacing Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 1999

    (and it is just a coincidence that 2 Mikas replace 2 Michaels)


    In my time, starting from 2007, I agree that Kobayashi at Toyota in 2009 was one of the best in recent times even though he only did two races. It’s easy to forget now but his results in the main GP2 series were mediocre and had it not been for his impressive performances in those two races he would most likely never have made it into F1. I still wonder what Kobayashi would have achieved in the 2010 Toyota had they stayed in F1, I’m not sure it would have been as good as it was claimed to be, but it would still probably have been significantly better than that year’s very unreliable Sauber.

    I can’t remember 2006, but I think I’d have enjoyed seeing Kubica come in at BMW to replace Villeneuve as it saw a very promising talent replace a has-been that BMW never really wanted and felt obliged to retain due to the two-year deal he signed with Sauber prior to the takeover.

    Vitantonio Liuzzi replacing Fisichella at Force India for the final five races of 2009 was one of the better ones I can recall, in a year where a lot was made of how difficult it was for drivers to come in out of the cold into F1 cars (just look at Grosjean’s 2009 performances, not to mention Fisi’s struggles to adapt to the Ferrari), Liuzzi was on the pace straight away at Monza and could easily have made it a double points finish for the team – potentially the first such finish for over five years going back to the 2004 Canadian race when they were still Jordan (I will not count the 2005 US GP farce) – if his car hadn’t broken down.

    Of the ones I can remember, the worst IMO was Lotus Renault replacing Heidfeld with Bruno Senna – the grubby dismissal of the former left a bad taste in the mouth and after a good debut at Spa Senna achieved little, while the team came close to surrendering fifth in the champion due to his lack of results. Heidfeld hadn’t been brilliant, but I think he’d have done a better job in the remaining races.


    I was very impressed with Pedro de la Rosa in the 2005 Bahrain Grand Prix, where he got the chance after Montoya had an injury. De la Rosa finished 5th and set the fastest lap in the race, I believe. He had a long battle with Mark Webber and it was very entertaining to watch.


    Vettel replacing Scott Speed.


    André Lotterer at Caterham is probably my favourite of recent years where mid-season driver changes were and continue to be scarce and often a case of a race driver being replaced by the reserve driver like d’Ambrosio stepping in for Grosjean or Grosjean replacing Piquet. Lotterer was the most left-field driver change in ages, I think. I felt a mixture of excitement and disappointment when Caterham signed him. Excitement because I am a big fan of André, disappointment because he was replacing Kobayashi, who I had been a fan of since the very beginning. Needless to say he really did well to outperform Ericsson considering he hadn’t driven an F1 car since he tested for Jaguar, and even then the car he would’ve driven at that time was quite a different machine to what he drove last year at Spa. It really makes me think about what he might have achieved had Jaguar chosen him instead of Webber or Pizzonia for the race seat back in 2003.


    If I was being flippant, Taki Inoue replacing Mimo Schiattarella at Suzuka in 1994.

    If I was trying to make a valid contribution to the thread, Danny Ric replacing Narain Karthikeyan for the second half of 2011 at HRT.

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