A swap of two Formula One superstars?

It could possibly happen between Mercedes and Red Bull.

A swap of two Formula One superstars?
The podium: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing, race winner; Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, third
(L to R): Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB10 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W05
(L to R): Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 in parc ferme
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team and Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing
(L to R): Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull Motorsport Consultant with Niki Lauda, Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman
(L to R): Niki Lauda, Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman with Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull Motorsport Consultant on the grid
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal with Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull Motorsport Consultant and Niki Lauda, Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman
The post qualifying FIA Press Conference: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing, second; Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, pole position
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB10 battle for position
Third place Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 and second place Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing

Two mega-teams swapping World Champions? Rare, yes. Impossible, no. We seem to be heading in a direction that might see Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton jump ship and swap rides in the somewhat near future. It's a bit of a stretch, I know.

You're not buying it? Well I'm sure, like the rest of us, you also thought Andre Lotterer wouldn't be racing in the Belgian GP this weekend either, right? This is Formula One where bizarre is the norm and normality is bizarre.

How we got here

Let me take you through how this deal has all unfolded. Sebastian Vettel is a four-time World Champion who is getting his you know what handed to him by his young teammate Daniel Ricciardo. The World Championship isn't even a distant dream for him with the impeccable performance Mercedes has been enjoying thus far.

In July, Dr. Helmut Marko told the media that Red Bull's rivals are targeting Vettel, more specifically, Mercedes. Around the same time, Hamilton assured Mercedes that he is not looking elsewhere. Niki Lauda was also adamant that the team hadn't talked with Vettel at any time.

If stars mean titles, then stars are something great

Sebastian Vettel

Lauda believed that the quadruple World Champion was just playing 'contract poker' when Vettel dropped the head-turning statement, "If stars mean titles, then stars are something great."

Marko however, told reporters that he felt Vettel was testing the waters and seeing what's out there, saying one day later, "Niki has three opinions: one in the morning, one at noon and one in the evening."

Hamilton's tone suddenly changed following the Hungarian GP when Mercedes told him to move over for his German teammate. A defiant Hamilton refused. On July 28th, it emerged that Hamilton had requested a 90 million Euro contract extension with the team, a price substantially larger than what his championship leading teammate got with his extension mind you. Following the team orders controversy in Budapest, Hamilton's defiance was backed by Red Bull's Christian Horner. And let's not forget what went down in Monaco...

Contract poker or something else?

Yes, it's possible all of them are lying through their teeth and that all this he said, she said is just a bunch of 'contract poker' as Niki calls it, but a swap between these two wouldn't be all that surprising really. Vettel isn't happy at Red Bull. The car doesn't agree with him, his teammate is constantly eclipsing him in races, and he's taken a lot of heat from critics for his inability to win with anything less than a perfect situation.

Hamilton is not happy at Mercedes either. He has a tense relationship with Robserg, who some, including Hamilton to a point, believe is being favored by the team due to their shared nationality. His disgust when losing to Rosberg is always visibly apparent on the podium and they've traded verbal jabs on numerous occasions in the past; not the kind of teammate situation any organization wants. When you have a situation where there's two number one drivers, clashes are imminent and unavoidable. Hamilton's car also seems to be less reliable than Rosberg's, which is most likely just bad luck, but the imaginative minds of those in and around the sport may lead Lewis to think otherwise.

Although the prospect of two German drivers in a German team seems interesting, from a marketing standpoint, it's not what you want when hoping to expand your brand internationally. It was also revealed earlier this year that Red Bull considered signing Hamilton as Vettel's new teammate this season, before settling on Ricciardo. Those negotiations fell apart however. 

This could very well be something, will probably end up being nothing, but maybe, just maybe...

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