Carlos Sainz Jr. is set to leave McLaren and join Ferrari as the replacement for Sebastian Vettel beginning in the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel announcing his impending departure from Ferrari got the driver carousel well into motion for the 2021 season.
Vettel’s announcement had been speculated for quite some time, and it was the first major piece of the puzzle in what had been slated to be a loaded Silly Season with just six drivers having entered the 2020 season under contract for 2021. Now that it has officially fallen into place, many other things are quickly coming into place right behind it.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. emerged as the frontrunner to replace the 32-year-old German at the Scuderia alongside Charles Leclerc next year, and now that has been confirmed as a two-year deal.
Here is what the 25-year-old Spaniard, who is in his second year with McLaren, had to say about the opportunity to drive for the Italian team.
Here is what Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto had to add, according to Formula 1.
“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’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.
“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.”
This confirmation comes shortly after it was confirmed that Sainz would not be returning to McLaren next year and that it would be Daniel Ricciardo leaving Renault to replace him alongside Lando Norris on a multi-year deal.
Ricciardo had been seen as the other major potential replacement for Vettel next year, and when Sainz emerged as the favorite, he had been rumored as his replacement.
The 2020 season, whenever it gets underway, is set to be Sainz’s sixth in Formula 1, as he began competing for Toro Rosso in 2015 as a Red Bull Racing Junior.
He made the move to Renault on loan from Red Bull with four races remaining in the 2017 season before spending the following season with Renault. He then officially cut ties with Red Bull Racing and left Renault for McLaren ahead of last year.
The only aspect of this particular driver movement situation that has not yet been confirmed is who will replace Daniel Ricciardo at Renault alongside Esteban Ocon next year. Ferrari and McLaren are officially the first two teams to confirm their entire driver lineups for the 2021 Formula 1 season.