Formula 1: The irony of Carlos Sainz Jr.’s Ferrari move

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Formula 1 (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Formula 1 (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) /

Carlos Sainz Jr. is set to compete for Ferrari in the 2021 Formula 1 season after signing a multi-year deal last year, and his move mirrors that of another Spaniard.

Before the 2020 Formula 1 season even managed to get underway amid the global coronavirus pandemic, driver moves were already taking place for the 2021 campaign.

Now the 2021 campaign is nearly upon us, with the first of 23 scheduled races, the Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled to take place at Bahrain International Circuit this Sunday, March 28.

Among the drivers who were on the move for the 2021 season well before the delayed and shortened 2020 season managed to begin in early July was Carlos Sainz Jr.

Driving for McLaren at the time, Sainz signed a multi-year deal to replace four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari.

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Daniel Ricciardo replaced Sainz at McLaren from Renault. Vettel went on to sign a deal to replace Sergio Perez at Racing Point, now known as Aston Martin. Perez ended up replacing Alexander Albon at Red Bull.

As a result, the 26-year-old Spaniard’s career path looks almost identical to that of another Spaniard star: two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. The 39-year-old began competing in the sport back in 2001, doing so for Minardi. In 2006, Minardi became Toro Rosso, and in 2015, Sainz made his Formula 1 debut for Toro Rosso.

Alonso did not compete in 2002, but he returned in 2003 for the first of four seasons with Renault. Sainz’s second stop was also Renault, where he landed with four races remaining in the 2017 season and stayed through the end of the 2018 campaign.

Next up for Alonso? McLaren in 2007. Next up for Sainz? McLaren in 2019 and 2020.

The next new team for both drivers? Ferrari.

The only difference is that Alonso spent another stint at Renault (2008 to 2009) after his first McLaren stint before he made the move to Ferrari, where he competed from 2010 to 2014 prior to making his way back to McLaren. He “retired” from Formula 1 following another four-year stint with the Woking-based team.

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After two years away from the sport, he is set to return in 2021, doing so with Alpine, the team formerly known as Renault, as the replacement for Sainz’s replacement — Ricciardo.