It’s Sainz to Ferrari, Ricciardo to McLaren for the 2021 Formula 1 season

The driver’ market is currently more action-packed than the last few seasons of racing
by Sharleen Banzon | May 14, 2020
PHOTO: Steven Tee/McLaren Racing, Renault Sport

Just a couple of days after Sebastian Vettel confirmed his departure from Scuderia Ferrari come the end of 2020, two of the most coveted seats in Formula 1 have quickly been snapped up: Carlos Sainz Jr. will leave McLaren to take the departing German’s spot in the Italian outfit, while Daniel Ricciardo will move from Renault to McLaren.

The two, like Vettel, were graduates of Red Bull’s young driver program, which has produced some of the top-rated racers on the F1 grid today.

Sainz Jr., son of World Rally and Dakar Rally champion Carlos Sainz, is confirmed to have signed a two-year contract with Ferrari. He will team up with Charles Leclerc, who has a contract with the team until 2024.

“I’m pleased to announce that Carlos will join Scuderia Ferrari as from the 2021 championship,” said team principal Mattia Binotto. “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.

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“We’ve embarked on a new cycle with the aim of getting back to the top in Formula 1. It will be a long journey, not without its difficulties, especially given the current financial and regulatory situation, which is undergoing a sudden change and will require this challenge to be tackled in a different way to the recent past.

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“We believe that a driver pairing with the talent and personality of Charles and Carlos, the youngest in the past 50 years of the Scuderia, will be the best possible combination to help us reach the goals we have set ourselves.”

For his part, Sainz Jr. 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. I still have an important year ahead with McLaren Racing and I’m really looking forward to going racing again with them this season.”

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Ricciardo, meanwhile, has signed a “multi-year agreement” with McLaren to team up with Lando Norris.

“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,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.

“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.”

Team principal Andreas Seidl said: “Daniel is a proven race-winner and his experience, commitment and energy will be a valuable addition to McLaren and our mission to return to the front of the field. With Daniel and Lando as teammates, I believe we have two racers who will continue to excite our fans and help the team grow.

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“Carlos is a true professional, a pleasure to work with and we will continue to enjoy going racing with him this year. We all wish him good luck for the next stage in his career when he leaves McLaren.”

All eyes are now on reigning constructors’ champion Mercedes, as both its drivers have contracts that will expire at the end of 2020. Renault has yet to confirm Ricciardo’s replacement as well. Who do you think will get those seats?

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PHOTO: Steven Tee/McLaren Racing, Renault Sport
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