Formula One silly season moves quick. As we sit now, most of the top 2021 rides have been filled. The domino effect started on Wednesday when Ferrari announced that driver Sebastian Vettel wouldn’t be returning to the team next season.
On Thursday, Vettel’s replacement was already unveiled.
Ferrari named Carlos Sainz Jr. as the driver of their second car beginning in 2021. Sainz, 25,has plenty of Formula 1 experience already, having taken part in 102 World Championship Grands Prix, over five seasons. In 2019, he finished sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, his best ever result, in a year when he also made it to a podium position for the first time, finishing third in Brazil.
“I’m pleased to announce that Carlos (Sainz Jr.) will join Scuderia Ferrari as from the 2021 championship,” said Managing Director and Team Principal of Ferrari 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.
“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 will be his third team over the last four seasons though after racing for Renault in 2018, McLaren in 2019 and 2020 and now Ferrari for 2021 and 2022. He joins Charles LeClerc on the Pracing Horses.
“I am very happy that I will be driving for Scuderia Ferrari in 2021 and I’m excited about my future with the team,” said Sainz. “I still have an important year ahead with McLaren Racing and I’m really looking forward to going racing again with them this season.”
In turn, this left a ride open at McLaren. They took no time to fill that in signing Daniel Ricciardo who also will be driving for a third team in four seasons for 2021 too.
Ricciardo, 30, from Perth, Australia, will join Britain’s Lando Norris, 20, who will start his third season at McLaren in 2021.
“Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando (Norris),” McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said. “This is good news for our team, partners and of course our fans.
“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.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren F1, commented:
“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.
“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.”