Only 10 races into the 2023 Formula 1 season and already Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has hastily rung the changes by electing to replace Nyck de Vries with Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri for the remainder of the year.

However, it’s not the first time Red Bull has taken the opportunity to switch drivers out midway through a campaign.

Here are five other occasions in F1 history where Red Bull’s cutthroat attitude has yielded a driver change at one of its two sides before a season has concluded.

Klien makes way for Doornbos (Red Bull – 2006)

Red Bull continued its F1 venture into 2006 fielding the same driver line-up as its debut campaign: multiple-time grand prix winner David Coulthard alongside Austrian Christian Klien to form, on paper, the perfect blend of experience and youthful exuberance.

While Coulthard was showcasing life remained in the elder statesman by progressively helping Red Bull’s points tally tick over, Klien was unable to build on the point he scored in the opening round.

Indeed, Klien would only register one further point in Germany and would retire from half of the 14 races he would compete in before he was handed his marching orders following the Italian Grand Prix.

Robert Doornbos, who had been Red Bull’s test and reserve driver after failing to find a drive for 2006, was promoted in Klien’s place.

But he, too, failed to light up the timing screens in his three-round outing, producing a best result of 12th on two occasions and he was subsequently demoted back to the role of test driver for the 2007 season.

Vettel replaces Speed (Toro Rosso – 2007)

When Red Bull purchased the Minardi team in order to provide opportunities in F1 for its multitude of young drivers, Scott Speed was chosen to represent the team branded Toro Rosso in its debut campaign in 2006.

But after failing to score a single point and a plethora of crashes, Speed was dropped only 10 races into 2007 in favour of Red Bull development driver Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel had already made his F1 debut by then, being parachuted into the BMW Sauber seat for the United States Grand Prix in place of the injured Robert Kubica.

07.10.2007 Shanghai, China, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Scuderia Toro Rosso, celebrates after finsishing 4th – Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Chinese Grand Prix, Sunday.

Having notched a solitary point that weekend, Vettel would replace Speed from Hungary onwards and would register a fourth-place finish in China before going on to take a sensational maiden victory in the wet at Monza the following year.

That would be enough to earn him a promotion to the senior Red Bull set-up for 2009, where the German progressed to spectacularly win four consecutive World Championships between 2010-2013.

Bourdais displaced by Alguersuari (Toro Rosso – 2009)

The flurry of changes at Red Bull’s junior squad continued in 2009 when Sebastien Bourdais was shown the exit door to usher through 17-year-old Jaime Alguersuari.

Bourdais had only managed four points finishes in his 27 starts since his switch from America, opening up the door for Alguersuari to become the youngest driver in F1 history at the time when he embarked on his debut at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.

Although no points would be scored through the remainder of that campaign and only five would follow across the entirety of his full rookie season in 2010, Alguersuari produced a respectable tally of 26 points in 19 races in 2011 to place 14th in the championship.

21.06.2009 Silverstone, England, Sebastian Bourdais (FRA), Scuderia Toro Rosso, damage to his car after making contact with Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), McLaren Mercedes – Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, British Grand Prix, Sunday Race.

However, along with team-mate Sebastian Buemi, Alguersuari was dropped at the end of that year to make way for an all-new driver pairing at Toro Rosso for 2012.

Aside from a brief stint in the all-electric Formula E category in 2014-15, the Spaniard officially retired from racing in October 2015 and has since become a DJ.

Kvyat demoted to hand Verstappen his big break (Red Bull/Toro Rosso – 2016)

Just under seven years would go by until another driver felt Marko’s wrath mid-season, sparking one of the most momentous driver transfers in the sport’s history.

When Sebastian Vettel decided he would be ending his alliance with Red Bull to pursue his Ferrari dream, Kvyat was handpicked over Jean-Eric Vergne to make the step up.

Amid a hugely disappointing year for Red Bull, Kvyat sustained a relatively impressive campaign to outscore respected team-mate Ricciardo over the course of 2015.

Despite scoring the team’s first podium of 2016 in China, causing the incident on the first lap of his home grand prix that took Vettel out of the race and ruined both Red Bull’s points-scoring hopes represented the ideal diversion Marko needed to promote young superstar Max Verstappen.

Daniil Kvyat (RUS), Scuderia Toro Rosso nd Max Verstappen (NL), Red Bull Racing 12.05.2016. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Preparation Day.

Kvyat’s misery was compounded by Verstappen taking victory on his Red Bull debut in Spain and the Dutchman’s exploits since have more than vindicated Marko’s ruthless handling of the situation.

Verstappen has accumulated 43 grand prix victories and is set to win his third successive championship this year. Meanwhile, with his confidence severely dented, Kvyat would struggle and be dropped altogether at the end of 2017, before returning to Toro Rosso in 2019.

A third-place finish in Germany would be the highlight of his comeback but Kvyat would again be cast aside come the end of 2020. He would later earn development and reserve driver gigs at Ferrari and Alpine respectively, but Kvyat was unable to manifest a full-time return to the grid.

Gasly and Albon complete a straight swap (Red Bull/Toro Rosso – 2019)

Fast forward three years and Red Bull were in the same predicament, this time involving Pierre Gasly moving aside for Alex Albon.

The surprise news that Ricciardo would be heading to pastures new for 2019 prompted Red Bull to immediately promote Gasly from Toro Rosso to partner Verstappen.

But it would prove to be a move that transpired too soon in the Frenchman’s career as he would only amass 63 points through the first half of the year compared to Verstappen’s tally of 181.

Alexander Albon (THA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR14 and Pierre Gasly (FRA) Red Bull Racing RB15 battle for position. 28.07.2019. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, German Grand Prix, Hockenheim, Germany, Race Day.

With Red Bull unwilling to re-sign Kvyat, Albon became the next to try and match up well against Verstappen, who had swiftly made the Milton-Keynes team his own.

While Albon would do enough to retain the drive for 2020, a disastrous campaign would see Red Bull swoop for Sergio Perez, who remains alongside Verstappen to this day.

Gasly, on the other hand, would rebuild his career strongly at Toro Rosso, scoring his first-ever F1 podium in Brazil, before taking a miraculous victory in 2020 with the side now rebranded to AlphaTauri.

After another two seasons with the Faenza-based constructor, Gasly moved to Alpine for this year, while Albon is currently in his second campaign with Williams.

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