Ferrari confirm that Carlos Sainz Jr will join Charles Leclerc at the Scuderia for 2021 as Daniel Ricciardo swoops to take Sainz's seat at McLaren joining Lando Norris.
15th May 2020
Since the news that Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari will part ways after this season, there has been huge speculation as to who would take that coveted seat alongside Charles Leclerc from 2021 onwards.
Au revoir: Ricciardo leaves Renault for McLaren
With Carlos Sainz being eyed by Ferrari as Vettel's replacement, McLaren moved quickly to sign Daniel Ricciardo from Renault to take the Spaniard's seat. Ricciardo currently races for Renault but is coming to the end of a two-year deal and has decided that his future lies with McLaren instead.
Ricciardo left Red Bull in 2018 for Renault but last season did the prove the step forward the French manufacturer had hoped. Ricciardo spent all of the season fighting in the mid-field battling against McLaren for 4th place in which the British team took. The plan was for the team to be a place where they could score podiums and potential race wins come the new regulations in 2021. Due to Covid-19, these regulations have been pushed back and Ricciardo feels that McLaren are in a better place, especially with the addition of Mercedes engines, to challenge for wins and championships.
McLaren also confirmed that Lando Norris, who made his debut last year, will also continue with the team into 2021.
McLaren boss Zak Brown said: “Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando. This is good news for our team, partners and of course our fans."
Brown also paid tribute to Sainz saying: “I also want to pay tribute to Carlos for the excellent job he has been doing for McLaren in helping our performance recovery plan. He is a real team player and we wish him well for his future beyond McLaren.”
Sainz jumps at the chance to race in red
Following the news that he'd left McLaren, Sainz, who'd be red-hot favourite to replace Vettel, was finally confirmed as a Ferrari driver from 2021 on a two-year deal. The former Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren driver, Sainz finished "best of the rest" last year in 6th and has been chosen to partner Leclerc from 2021.
Leclerc, who will be 23 at the end of this year, and Sainz, who will be 26 come 2021, will form Ferrari's youngest driver pairing in recent history. It will also mark the first time that Ferrari do not have a world champion driving for them since 2007 - that's unless Leclerc wins the 2020 title when racing gets back underway.
Carlos said: "I am very happy that I will be driving for Scuderia Ferrari in 2021 and I'm excited about my future with the team."
Ferrari Team Principal, Mattia Binotto, said: "With five seasons already behind him, Carlos has proved to be very talented and has shown that he has the technical ability and the right attributes to make him an ideal fit with our family.
"We believe that a driver pairing with the talent and personality of Charles and Carlos, the youngest in the past fifty years of the Scuderia, will be the best possible combination to help us reach the goals we have set ourselves."
McLaren and Ferrari confirm their 2021 line-up
Both of these legendary teams are the first on the F1 grid to announce which two drivers will be driving for each team respectively.
Racing Point, which will become Aston Martin have Sergio Perez while Renault have Esteban Ocon. The other big name on the grid who's future is set is Max Verstappen who has been confirmed at Red Bull until 2023.