Sebastian Vettel’s departure from Scuderia Ferrari next year has caused a domino effect in the driver market. The Italian team snapped up rising star Carlos Sainz, while Formula 1 veteran Daniel Ricciardo completes the driver line-up at McLaren starting next year, the two teams confirmed today.
Sainz will be joining Scuderia Ferrari on a two-year deal, joining Charles Leclerc to form the team’s youngest driver pairing in the last fifty years. Aged 25 years old, the Spaniard has completed 102 Grand Prix races over five seasons.
He finished sixth in the driver’s championship last year, his best ever result, in a year where he also made it to the podium for the first time – finishing third in the Brazil GP.
Scuderia 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’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 […] will be the best possible combination to help us reach the goals we have set ourselves.”
Ricciardo, meanwhile, has signed a “multi-year agreement” to race for the Woking-based McLaren Racing F1 Team starting next year. The 30-year-old Australian will be joined by Lando Norris, who will be in his third season of Formula 1.
McLaren F1 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.
“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,” he added.
Nicknamed the ‘Honey Badger’, Ricciardo started his F1 career in 2011 with HRT, before moving to Toro Rosso in 2012. The Australian was promoted to Red Bull in 2014, where he won seven races and finished third in the championship thrice in his five year stint with the team.
Ricciardo took a gamble by signing for Renault F1 in 2019 – the team was largely running at the back of the field since rejoining the sport as a works team in 2016. The campaign was largely unsuccessful, with a best finish of fourth, due to a string of unfortunate events and general lack of performance in the car.
All eyes are now on Renault while they fill up the empty driver seat alongside Esteban Ocon. Vettel’s future in Formula 1 is also still in doubt, as Ricciardo’s deal with McLaren closes yet another door for the German.