Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Ferrari tipped to sign Sainz, Ricciardo expected to join McLaren

2021 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Carlos Sainz Jnr has emerged as the front-runner to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, RaceFans understands.

The 25-year-old’s departure from McLaren will create a vacancy at the team alongside Lando Norris. This is expected to be taken by Daniel Ricciardo, whose two-year deal to drive for Renault expires at the end of this year.

Announcements confirming the developments are expected within a matter of days.

The moves in the driver market for 2021 were prompted by Ferrari’s announcement that Sebastian Vettel will leave at the end of the season. Vettel, who is in his sixth season at Ferrari, has not confirmed his plans for next year.

Sainz will take Vettel’s place alongside Charles Leclerc, who signed a long-term deal with Ferrari in December, handing him a precious chance to drive for one of the three F1 teams which have won every race in the past six seasons.

He made his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2015 as a member of the Red Bull Junior Team. However Sainz was passed over promotion to Red Bull’s F1 team and split from them after a year on loan to Renault in 2018. He moved to McLaren, finishing last year sixth in the world championship.

Ricciardo also arrived in F1 with Red Bull, spent five years with their main team and won seven races. He left at the end of 2018 to join Renault, taking Sainz’s place, but a disappointing season saw the team slip from fourth to fifth in the constructors’ championship.

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

197 comments on “Ferrari tipped to sign Sainz, Ricciardo expected to join McLaren”

  1. Man danny ric and memelord is gonna be fun. Mclaren will miss sainz but all in all Danny is probs the better driver and mclaren could do with someone who has won in the v6 era.

    1. I think RIC is the perfect man to lead McLaren given Sainz won’t be there in 2021. And Carlos is the perfect man for Ferrari: fast, clean, smart, and one to knows how to work with his team. I’m very happy for Ferrari, to be honest. LEC and SAI are gonna get on well, I’m sure, even if Carlos is not going to act as a number two driver. They have plenty of time to excel, now they have to focus on the team.

      1. Ferrari contracts often stipulates the N2 status and the responsibilities and limitations associated with that. F1 top teams has discovered they need a N1 and a N2, and Ferrari is no exception, on the contrary, Ferrari has believed in that philosophy for years. Good luck to Sainz, the car will be developed to the like and style of Lecrec, and any edge will go Lecrec’s way. To me the winner of all these changes is Ricciardo.

  2. So Vettel to Renault or out the door?

    1. Well, it depends what happens with other drivers contacts. Who knows what Checo is doing beyond 2020. Maybe we’ll see Seb in an Aston Martin next year.
      Plus with the budget cap and Aston paying the team, Lawrence Strolls money won’t be needed so we could see Lance without a drive.

      1. Remember though that Aston Martin paying the team really means Lawrence Stroll paying the team. He’s the executive chair of Aston Martin, and his investment consortium owns a 25% stake in the company. Lance isn’t going anywhere.

    2. He’s done, I guess. He’ll retire gracefully and spend more time with his family.

        1. @f1725 Thanks for the link. Ted Kravitz did a nice summary on what’s happening.

      1. A few people in Italy are suggesting the same. Just to let you know.

      2. Good for him if he does that.

    3. Maybe Vettel will go to Mercedes? Especially if Bottas fails to deliver again this season. Red Bull seems to have closed the gap to them and if so they’ll need 2 superb drivers instead of just 1 to rack up enough constructor points.

      Plus that I have personal motives in the fact that I like seeing a German driver in a German team and that I am finding Bottas extremely boring and a sub-par racer. Seb has fine personality and is an overall great driver. Not as good as Lewis, but he can for sure give him a run for his money.

      There are just a few top cars in F1 and I like to see them driven by the best and most exciting drivers out there. Bottas has shown nothing to be driving a top seat. Of course, this is just my opinion.

      1. I don’t think Hammy would allow it

        1. Doubt hamilton would be scared to have vettel in merc at this point.

          1. Lewis surely didn’t have any problem dealing with Alonso, as a rookie at McLaren.

        2. In the past Hamilton has said he doesn’t have a veto on who the other driver is, and he’s always claimed that he isn’t worried about who the other driver is. Sebastian gets on well with Lewis, so I can’t see “tension between drivers” for Mercedes to exclude him. I don’t think there’d be much between him and Valtteri.

          1. Raymond Umbara
            13th May 2020, 22:33

            In all fairness. When has any driver ever said they have a veto, or a problem on any other driver?

          2. https://dai.ly/x7u0rmy
            F1 2020 Ted’s Notebook – 20.05

      2. I think both Vettel and Hamilton would risk too much in that arrangement. They don’t want a multiple WDC as a team mate.

        @spafrancorchamps in my opinion you are too harsh on Bottas. I don’t think it’s a failure if you beat everyone else on the grid except one man in a 21-race series. When it comes to personality, what matters most is how good of a team player you are and Bottas has proven his.

      3. Mercedes is a German Team in a very similar way that Manchester City are an Abu Bhabi team, or Chelsea are a Russian team. Like these 2 teams they are truelly international in their structure and they have a majority UK based workforce.
        Supporting a manufacturer seems odd to me but I can only speak for myself.

      4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        13th May 2020, 21:30

        Bottas failing to deliver? Vettel may have beaten him in 2017 and 2018, but he clearly looked better than Vettel last year and Bottas was 2nd in the WDC. I still think that Bottas even being like he is at the moment is enough for them to keep him. The line up just works perfectly.

      5. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        14th May 2020, 9:54

        I don’t believe any team on the grid, even Mercedes and Ferrari, have the financial capability to afford both Vettel and Hamilton at the same time. Vettel can say that finances played no part in his decision to leave Ferrari, but the fact remains that he is a 4-time world champion, and can demand the salary to match that status.

    4. Alonso return to Renault !?

      1. I hope not….

        Alonso was a great driver, but a horrible human being.

        1. Alonso is not a horrible human being, but an awful teammate/team member.

        2. And He cost them millions in brand damage.

        3. ^^^ The reason Alonso can’t get a good seat in F1 are because he burned all his bridges. Guy’s a talent behind the wheel, but *correctly* has no place in F1 anymore.

    5. I doubt Sebastian will want to go to Renault. It would be different if they had several wins to their name last season, but they didn’t. Red Bull? I don’t think so, he’d be opposite Max Verstappen, and if Sebastian had trouble with Daniel and Charles then he’ll find he’s got at least as much with Max.

      1. F1 2020 Ted’s Notebook – 27.05

  3. Vettel’s speech about priorities and family and the fact that he is leaving Ferrari without any apparent place to go makes me think he will anounce his retirment by the end of the year. And I really hope that Sainz gets the call to Ferrari and Riccardo moves to Mclaren, those would be great pairings for both teams!

    1. Wrong, he has more than 3 options if he wants to chose. So don’t cheat the people with comments like that. McLaren (replace Sainz), Renault (replace Ricciardo), Mercedes (replace Bottas, or Hamilton), RedBull (replace Albon). The other teams cannot pay the money. But he can go whenever he wants. Raikkonen went to Sauber, and Sauber isn’t the best team in the world, so …

      1. Look, nobody knows for sure what he means exactly with his “re-evaluating priorities in life” remark or if he has other options or not.

        Perhaps his sentence about re-evaluating priorities in life means he wants to retire or maybe it means he wants to buy a stake in Sauber to invest in his post-racing career, while for now continue racing alongside his friend Kimi for another year or two, valuing fun rather than chasing a championship. Maybe it means he doesn’t value winning a title in red like Schumacher as he did before but still wants to win a title elsewhere…etc. etc.

        We simply don’t know.

      2. Haha, you’re delusional if you think RBR would pair him with Max.

        You’re also nuts if you think Mercedes would upset the status quo while Lewis is still comfortably winning WDC’s and Bottas is doing an absolutely perfect job of picking up the pieces when Lewis drops the ball and securing enough points to grab the WCC.

        McLaren would be nuts to take the more expensive and less consistent Vettel over Ricciardo – who must be desperate to get out of that sorry excuse for a manufacture team.

        And Seb going to Renault wouldn’t be anything like Kiki going to Sauber…

  4. Hulk back to Renault?

    1. Besides Vettel who would be the best car development driver currently available for Renault?

      1. Vettel would be the best driver available in general

        1. Vettel would be the best driver, but will he want to go to Renault?
          Frankly, to leave Ferrari, one of the best teams on the grid at the moment and one of the most successful teams in all of F1 history, going anywhere except possibly Mercedes or Red Bull would be a huge backwards step.

          Yes, we saw how, recently, Hamilton and Ricciardo both left fairly dominant teams to join a smaller team in the hopes of building them up to a title-winning team. But, despite this being hugely risky, both drivers made the move at a far younger age than Vettel would be – can Vettel realistically be expected to stay in F1 long enough to turn Renault’s fortunes around, develop the car into a front runner and grab another title (i.e do what Ricciardo has failed to do?) before he retires? Very unlikely.

          So, will Vettel spend the final years of his career scrabbling about in the midfield, fighting for the chance of being “best of the rest” with a distant 7th place, a minute behind the car in front, with his only slight hopes of a podium being if some of the front-runners take each other out? I doubt it.

          Frankly, I see only one option for Vettel – retiring. He doesn’t seem to enjoy fame, and frankly he’s rich enough that I reckon he’ll do what I can only dream of doing – to retire completely in his early 30s and spend some quality time with his family.

          1. To be fair, it’s impossible to say what Ricciardo’s impact at Renault has been. Last year, clearly, he had no time to really have an impact on the development or direction of the car, and this year, we haven’t seen anything of it. Saying he “failed” because in one season he didn’t take a 4th place team and make it better isn’t particularly reasonable, IMO. If the same were the case this year, there’d be a better argument to be made.

      2. Maybe Kimi? Although by now he might not be interested staying in F1 with any other team than Sauber for its factory location.

    2. Gasly to Renault maybe if they want another French driver and if he wants to get out the Red Bull system should he feel he will be stuck at AlphaTauri

      1. That seems like a reasonable possibility, but would they want himover a more experienced driver, given that the other driver will also be relatively young and new to the team? one would think that a decent amount of experience might be desirable with the development tehy still have to do. Although all moot if Renault throw in the towel

  5. I would love to see Ricciardo at Ferrari.

    That being said McLaren with Mercedes engine shows promise (if not in the first year at least the second onwards).

    Sainz more than deserves the seat at Ferrari as well. Honestly …either move will be good for both drivers.

    1. Sainz more than deserves a ferrari seat

      Then Hulkenberg deserves 7 world titles…

      1. Speaking of the Hulk – back at Renault?

        1. @paeschli I doubt it.

        2. What has Hulk done in his career to deserve that? I understand why Sainz deserves the Ferrari seat. He is a young, hungry and mature driver who’s career is going up after in 2019 he got more points than two Red Bull drivers. He has always done good things in F1 but in 2019 he shone by himself like no other in the midfield.

          1. @heming49 Beating Sainz at Rebault?…

      2. Hulkenberg is not better than Sainz at all. He knew the car very well and it really suited his driving style –which is totally opposite to SAI’s. Do you think that Nico would have done anything better than Sainz last year at McLaren??

  6. I find it so surprising that Sainz is so heavily linked with this seat. No doubt he had a great season last year, but can he fill the gap that Vettel’s experience, feedback, and knowledge that aid car development will leave? Leclerc may also be a phenomenal talent, but he has only been around for a couple of years, is he ready yet to lead Ferrari, not just on track but behind the scenes as well?

    I don’t know. A LEC/SAI lineup just seems like an unnecessary risk to me, particularly when a proven quantity like Ricciardo is so eager and readily available. It would be so unlike Ferrari to go all-in with a pairing that, as of today, has two wins between them. As I say, it would be very surprising.

    1. I agree, surely Ferrari’s aim has to be to challenge for and win a World Championship? It’s been a loooooong time.

      Of those choices I’d plump for Danny Ric every time.

      1. It hasn’t been a long time, ferrari are always up there around top 2 or 3 teams.

        1. They haven’t really won a constructors championship since 2004. On paper they won in 2007 but only because the team points were removed because of spygate. The drivers came 1st and 2nd in the drivers championship – 219 total points to the Ferrari’s 213.
          Remember, second place is the first of the losers.

          1. they won the CC in 2008.

          2. @mrfill even if the constructors points were reinstated for the 2008 season, Ferrari still win. I suggest you do a little more research into that season.

            (Hint: Hungarian gp)

      2. Not me… it wouldn’t be a balanced team if you put RIC alongside Leclerc, as it wasn’t with Vettel there. Daniel would feel that’s his last opportunity and would break any order from the team or any team strategy because he desperately needs to win now. He’s over 30 and has spent a very difficult year at Renault. It’s just the opposite for Sainz!

    2. @jackysteeg I like Sainz, but I agree… in a way it reminds me of Sergio Perez being such a hot prospect after a terrific 2012 season, and we know how that ended at McLaren the following year.

      I guess Ferrari don’t want to spend money on a heavy roller like Ricc, because he’s the guy that makes the most sense. But his contract at Renault is enormous, it seems, and while he might cut his salary, it’s still no where near low enough, which Sainz’s contract seems to be…

      1. Didn’t the data comparing how drivers, ahem, drive around the circuits show that Sainz has been something like the best driver in F1, in at least one analysis? Guess we’ll see about that.

        The same was once said about Rosberg, yes, but then, if he’s as good as Rosberg, that’s still pretty good.

        1. Given he was beaten by Verstappen and Hulkenberg (!), that seems hard to believe

          1. @paeschli if you’re using the ‘beaten by…’ argument, you could then argue that Ricciardo was beaten by Vergne and Kvyat, then beat Verstappen in 2016/17. Would you then class Vergne and Kvyat as better than Ricciardo or Verstappen?

          2. @tflb I totally agree!! It can’t be any clearer!

          3. Kvyat outscored Ricciardo in 2015 and then got destroyed by Sainz. So what? Button scored more points than Alonso in 2015, Rosberg got more points than Hamilton in 2016. JEV got more points than Ricciardo in 2012. No driver ever has always beaten his teammate. Hulk is not a reference, he is a retired driver. Use Kvyat better as a comparison among RIC and SAI.

          4. @tflb well, it would see that Mark Russell appears to believe that such comparisons are valid when it suits him to argue that Sainz must be a great driver, but then argues that such comparisons cannot be valid when he dislikes the results.

          5. @tflb Kvyat got lucky in 2015, with Ricciardo having a lot of retirements thorugh no faults of his own.

            JEV and Ricciardo are pretty evenly matched. You can see that in JEV’s success in Formula E.

        2. That was f1metrics (the author has at times posted here) , and it has to be noted that well argued subsequent changes (improvements) to his model subsequently change that place @paeschli; If I recall correctly, that came about due to adding gaining experience and/or aging into account, un combination with how robust of a ‘chain’ /network of driver pairings connects a driver to their competitor (w. Red Bull drivers, often a lack of solidly quantified drivers, as you allude to @tflb). With Norris a bit of an unknown, I would guess that Sainz is still a bit hard to quantify, even w. a year against Hulk (which he lost).

      2. Well, Vettel received a handsome sum so any of the more obvious choices will be cheaper, including Ricciardo. And the bargaining position of Ferrari, the prospect of being again more to the front of the field than Renault, being out of contract at Renault (having to negotiate a new deal with a major drop in pay likely due to the current situation), the chance of Ocon becoming the favourite at Renault… having to be better than Vettel (which he once already did).. Well, I just convinced myself he has to do it :-)
        Less money than the current Renault contract will probably be acceptable..

      3. If nor Mercedes nor Ferrari wanted Ricciardo after the 2017 season… why would they want him now? To have a +30 years old driver with experience winning races they already had Vettel, who happens to know the team and has more titles than experience. Ferrari needed something different, someone with hunger, with youth and with no hurry to win, like Sainz, something that Ricciardo cannot offer.

        1. So Sainz is hungry but doesn’t care about winning? Seems odd, as they’re mutually exclusive qualities in most cases. And he had better not be in a hurry to win, because he’ll only get the chance to do so when Leclerc makes a mistake, given that he’ll be the number two in a team with a clear hierarchy and a number one that’s a few years younger than he is and looks poised to stay with Ferrari long-term.

          1. Obviously cares about winning, but has plenty of time to do it. Ricciardo would rush things and that would be bad for Ferrari. Sainz does by far less mistakes than Leclerc (and Ricciardo) so he would have plenty of options against him, and I believe he can be as fast as Charles, if not more.

      4. They have the best wallet in the paddock. It’s not a money question, that’s for sure. They’ve found the right guy: maybe low profile, but very high quality. Did you see the 2019 Brazilian GP? He’s become very good at overtakings, he’s aggressive but clean, he never speaks too loud. 2016 Brazilian GP was a very good example, too. He’s really good when it rains (it was the same in the 2018 Hungarian GP qualifying). When you have to wear the cavallino overall you have to be like this.

    3. Ricciardo’s experience, feedback, and knowledge made little difference to Renault’s campaigns. Having said that, I would love to see him at Ferrari. I feel he could push Hamilton harder than Vettel did.

      1. I wasn’t a fan of Red Bull Vettel, simply because it got boring when he kept winning (same w/ Hamilton these days – I like them as people, just don’t want them to keep winning all the time). But to say that Ricciardo can push Hamilton harder than a 4x WDC is ridiculous. Vettel + Ferrari wasn’t a championship winning combo, but still – Vettel deserves some level of respect for what he’s achieved.

    4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      13th May 2020, 13:03

      This is what I think. People will think I’ve been very negative towards Sainz, which is actually the case. I think his only very good season was last year. While it looked very good, the car was suddenly significantly better than the year before and he was against a rookie who matched him in qualifying. He made virtually no mistakes and seems a very good team leader, but he seasons before last had many mistakes and overall, I just don’t think he will be good enough for Ferrari to keep him long term.

      Still think Ricciardo is a more sensible option.

      1. He gave Verstappen a very good fight, I think you’re being a little unfair. However, it will be a shame if he leaves McLaren because he seemed to be having such a good time there and really building something. At Ferrari, I’m not sure how it will be quite the same.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th May 2020, 21:34

          We shouldn’t judge a drivers performence that seriously when they are both rookies. I personally think verstappen improved significantly more than Sainz. He was instantly pretty close to Ricciardo then soon started getting the better of him the following year. Sainz has mostly been against Kvyat in very poor form and then didn’t look spectacular at Renault. I think last year was the only truly solid season he’s had, but even then it is questionable as he’s against a rookie in a car that is far better than it was the year before.

          Still, I think he will do great at Mclaren, and I think he should prove that for at least another season before being confirmed to a team like Ferrari.

          1. in Renault he was faster than Hulk from the Spanish GP until plans for 2019 were announced. And to try to diminished what he did with Kvyat in 2016 and 2017 saying he was in “poor form” is an ugly way to show facts. You can say the same about Ricciardo beating Vettel in 2014 and Hulk in 2019. They were both ready to leave the teams, so that is not a real reference to measure how good Ricciardo is, right?

          2. @heming49 if you dismiss performances because a driver left the team, then that argument devalues the emphasis you want to put on Sainz’s own performances against Kvyat given that is exactly what happened to Kvyat in 2017.

            Either you have to accept that, by your own chain of logic, there is no value in the relative performance of Sainz against Kvyat and therefore it cannot be used to argue in his favour, or you have to accept that, if you want to use Sainz’s performance against Kvyat as an argument, you have to accept that it then allows people to draw a comparison between Sainz and Hulkenberg.

            Which one is it going to be then?

          3. ColdFly (@)
            14th May 2020, 9:13

            he was faster than Hulk from the Spanish GP until plans for 2019 were announced.

            Some people would call that ’an ugly way to show facts‘; pick only the data which support your believes ;)
            PS Sainz didn’t beat the Hulk until France and only a handful of races afterwards. Even selective race pickers will have trouble giving that season to Sainz.

      2. Were you not watching when as a rookie he outqualified Verstappen in 2015? When in 2016 and 2017 he destroyed a driver who just scored more points than Ricciardo in 2015? Car was ok last year, but he doubled Norris points. McLaren was nice in 2019 but Norris did not make it to the Top 10 in the standings and Sainz got more points than TWO Red Bull drivers.

        1. Norris was a rookie.

          1. Hamilton was a rookie in 2007. Norris is a F3 champion and a F2 vice-champion, don’t disrespect.

      3. @thegianthogweed

        I agree with you. I’m not saying that Sainz is a poor driver, but to be honest, Norris impressed me far more than him. A rookie Norris was quicker in qualifying than Sainz, and would have been a whole lot closer in the points to Sainz if it wasn’t for some awful luck on Sundays. In 2018 as well, Sainz didn’t impress as much as Hulkenberg did. I think Sainz is a solid midfield driver, but not any more impressive than a Bottas, Perez, Hulkenberg or Norris.

        1. Awful luck on Sundays? Sainz had 5 mechanical DNF and doubled Norris in points. Norris was P11 and Sainz P6 in the WDC for God’s sake. Norris was not even close to Sainz on Sundays, and he had not that bad luck. Bottas or Hulk impressive? OMG do you even watch D1?

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            14th May 2020, 11:38


            I may seem like I’m not a fan of Sainz, but it seems that when you read something slightly negative about Sainz, you then misread quite a lot of people’s comments.

            Mine for example earlier, where i say he was against “Kvyat” in poor form, you look to take that as me saying Sainz was in poor form. What I was meaning is that having Kvyat perform as badly as he was didn’t really didn’t reflect Sainz’s ability that much those seasons.

            You also seem to have your own ideas about how many times Sainz had a mechanical DNF last year.

            He had mechanical failures in Australia, Belgium and Italy. That is 3 compared to your suggestion of 5. The only other retirement he had was in Bahrain and that wasn’t mechanical. That was an incident between him and Verstappen. I think both played a part in this and it could have been avoidable.

            Norris had a mechanical non finish in China (thought related to the contact with Kvyat and he retired a little later), Canada, Germany and Mexico. If you include Spain where he was involved in a collision with Stroll (where some blame could be put on him), that makes 5 retirements. But for a fair comparison against Sainz, just including the mechanical retirements, Norris had 4 and Sainz had 3. Sainz had 2 less than you are stating and you are also implying Norris didn’t have particularly bad luck when it has clearly been worse than Sainz’s.

            You also don’t appear to taking in what @todfod said the way he meant it. He was stating that he thinks Sainz isn’t any more impressive that Bottas, Perez, Hulkenberg or Norris. He wasn’t saying specifically that Bottas and Hulkenberg are clearly impressive, which you seem to be over reacting too.

            I still think Sainz has been very solid this year, but underwhelming in the other years (actually rather poor in 2017). As that year he caused more retirements than any other driver and one of his incidents in particular in Canada was downright dangerous. Don’t want to constantly be against him, but he certainly hasn’t always been great all the way though his F1 career. And I also can’t agree that he acted like a mature F1 driver after some of these incidents either. His comments in Bahrain when he hit Stroll were “He hit me. Ehhh ****** stroll hit me. He didn’t see me coming on the inside. He just turned into me like if I was not there.” Again, I don’t want to be against Sainz, but you implying that since 2015 that he hasn’t made any mistakes, acts much older than he is and doesn’t complain, then what I have put sort of shows this hasn’t always been the case. There are a lot of other occasions I can think of where Sainz has been rather unreasonable on the radio, but I don’t want to make the list too long.

            If you look at the ratings on this site that all have a good description over the past few years, I don’t think Sainz has been quite as impressive as you make him out to be. Also, pretty much every year, almost all of the drivers Todfod mentioned have been ahead of Sainz in the driver rankings.

            I also think that you rate Sainz closer to verstappen performance wise than the vast majority too. Sainz was rated 12th on this site in 2015, Verstappen was 6th.


            2016 was a pretty solid season for Sainz and this time he did beat these other drivers in the rankings. He was 6th:


            He was 10th in 2017 and while I think he was worse than this myself, the 4 drivers Todfod mentioned were rated higher than him again.


            In 2018, he was 13th and I again think he was underwhelming at Renault. The same list of drivers were rated ahead of him again.


            As I state myself, 2019 was a very good season from Sainz. He was rated 3rd:


            The reason why I’m going into this much detail is that you are making it look like he’s been incredible from the start of his career. To me, he hasn’t managed to have more than one very good season and follow on from that. He seems to be a bit up and down. I hope he can do his best at Ferrari, but based on being pretty much matched in qualifying by a rookie, I think he’s possibly going to be as much as half a second behind Leclerc in qualifying. He could well turn out to be a good number two driver though. I personally think he should have stayed with McLaren as he looked a great team leader there.

    5. You did not understand Sainz’ value. It is not about 2019. 2019 was absolutely amazing, but just a confirmation of what he has done since 2015. He can be as fast as anyone in the grid, but he does not make any mistake, he does not complain, he does not raises his voice. He is as mature as a 35 years old, but he is only 25. Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren’s engineers have always said that Sainz gives amazing feedback and has deep knowledge of the car. Sainz will do the same in Ferrari, as he speaks fluent Italian as well.

      You are saying that LEC/SAI is an unnecessary risk. Funny seeing how many times LEC/VET collided in 2019. Sainz showed with Verstappen that he respects teams orders in any condition. something Ricciardo would not do, because the 2021 would be his last train to be world champion.

  7. If this is true, they really are putting all their eggs in one basket with Leclerc because I don’t see Sainz as anything other than a supporting driver. That is a lot of pressure for someone so young and relatively inexperienced. But then I suppose this is true of Verstappen at Red Bull, except that Red Bull doesn’t have the same following that Ferrari have. I hope the kid will be able to handle it but I’m doubtful.

    1. Yes that must be their thinking, but still a bad move considering Sainz is more disruptive as seen from his stint at Toro Rosso with Verstappen.

      The positive is that the Sainz hypetrain will finally come to a crashing halt..

      1. The positive is that the Sainz hypetrain will finally come to a crashing halt..

        I can’t wait for this to happen @balue It’s like the people 5 years ago saying Bottas would be an improvement over Rosberg …

      2. @balue How was Sainz disruptive at Toro Rosso? (Honest question, I cannot remember) My impression was the problems were caused by Verstappen disobeying the team, and his thuggish and pushy father.

        1. @tflb Yes it was Verstappen’s team order refusal that likely started it, but Sainz’ reaction and following moods was part of why the relationship got close to being a feud. I believe it became so bad Verstappen later insisted Sainz could never join him at Red Bull.

          The point here is that Ferrari would want Sainz to be a wingman, Bottas style, but that’s surely not going to happen judging from history and also his inflated ego judging from his bragging. Ricciardo would surely be much better at keeping the all-important team spirit at Ferrari. IMO it would be a mistake to pass Ricciardo over Sainz, but then Ferrari’s strategy calls are usually a disaster, especially without Marchionne.

          1. I agree with you Ferrari is heavily committed with Leclerc and probably doesn’t want to give him much concern over an internal battle.
            They probably expect Carlos to play a solid, second-fiddle point-scoring role for the team, while Ricciardo may be “too quick” for their tastes.
            It may be a costly mistake, though, because if Sainz proves to be unable to meet the expectations, what chance they would have in the future?

          2. Verstappen started disrespecting the team and the Sainz reaction you talk about was staying calm and kept obeying team orders while the Verstappens try to say bad things about him with the help of the Dutch press. Verstappen did not want Sainz in RB because he saw in 2015 that Sainz can be faster than him, so he rather has another driver who he can beat, like did easily with Ricciardo. Or Gasly, or Albon. Funny how you say Sainz would be a good wingman when Ricciardo was actually Max’s wingman in 2018 and run away from that. There is no way Ricciardo was going to Ferrari to be a number 2 again. Sainz, on the other hand, is young and has more experience than Leclerc and makes faaaaaaar less mistakes, so he can be a true challenge, not like Vettel.

        2. @tflb for what it is worth, back in 2018 Dieter stated on this very site that “Relations between the Sainz and Verstappen camps during their year-and-a-bit alongside each other at Toro Rosso were not exactly cordial.” when discussing potential options to replace Ricciardo at Red Bull, and that Marko didn’t want a Sainz-Verstappen line up at Red Bull for that reason. https://www.racefans.net/2018/08/03/why-sainz-ricciardo-red-bull-f1-drive-2019-season/

          Marko did also make some rather sharp comments about Sainz in mid 2017 after Sainz said that he was either going to drive for the Red Bull works team or cut his ties with Red Bull. Marko’s response was to respond by saying that Sainz Jr shouldn’t be “biting the hand that fed him”, that he “should focus on his driving” as he didn’t run the team and that the rumours that Sainz Sr was feeding to the press in the hope that it would advance his son’s career were a disruptive influence.

          Tost, similarly, was also critical of Sainz around that time, complaining about a lack of “loyalty” towards the team from Sainz given that he was still under contract to Toro Rosso when he made those remarks.

          Now, it is true that some of those complaints were more about Sainz Sr than Sainz Jr, but given that the father is heavily involved in the career of his son, it does seem that there have been a few allegations that the two of them can be a disruptive influence.

          1. Do you not know Marko already? Those accusations against Sainz Sr are very severe and far from the truth. It is nonsense because if he would be “feeding the press” or playing political games, Renault, McLaren, or Ferrari (three of the biggest teams in F1 history) would not want Sainz, right? RB tried to protect Verstappen because having Sainz there was a big threat for their driver, so they said what they needed to, but Sainz has proven that being quiet offtrack he can speak by his driving and eventually will have a better car for 2021 than Max. Tables have turned.

          2. Sounds like Sainz has this Spanish personality trait similar to Alonso. If so that will not do his career much good in the long run. He was fine last year but he was new to a team that was on the way back up the grid with a rookie driver. Let’s see what happens when under pressure with a top team like Ferrari and a top driver.

          3. @anon Yes I’d forgotten about that, but don’t know how as it was quite something. Maybe Ferrari has forgotten too. If Ferrari wants a team player and a good no. 2, they’re in for a surprise, but maybe they don’t? It would anyway be a departure from their normal MO.

            Still don’t understand how Sainz could even be considered when Ricciardo is available, but maybe Daniel is holding out for the Mercedes drive and not wanting to be locked in to a long term contract in case Hamilton pulls the plug after 2021? It would be a big gamble, but who knows, it might pay off.

          4. Max and Sainz had no problems with each other (from Max is own mouth) as most of those problems were coming from their supportteams while Sainz Sr took the lead herein the most. So i think Marko had a point here.

      3. And why? I think he will rise to the challenge, he’s fast and intelligent, and both of them are important attributes in a top team. A lack of money is not the problem at Ferrari; it’s the most appealing team in the world… do you think they’ve gone mad or something. They have read the messages SAI’s been sending throughout the years! I’m sure he’s gonna perform at a very high level, as he did in McLaren. He’s becoming a better driver every year. I cannot be the only to see that… oh, I’m not… Binotto too.

      4. Yeah whatever. Funny thing is that the two biggest teams in F1 history are fighting over Sainz like Red Bull and Renault did during 2016 and 2017 and you try to make him look bad. Maybe you are missing something mate. That or you seem to understand more about drivers than Ferrari.

    2. So, 5 years, 100 GP and three different teams is not enough experience for you. So you were obviously against Hamilton going to McLaren in 2007, Vettel to Red Bull in 2009 or Ricciardo in 2014, or Verstappen in 2016 or Leclerc going to Ferrari in 2019? Sainz showed in 2015 against Verstappen that he can be faster than top driver because he is one, as simple as that. Leclerc will not have an easy time with him in the team, Ferrari is going after Sainz because they want the championship. If they wanted a number 2 driver they’d have stuck with Kimi or Seb.

  8. Please God make McLaren-Mercedes the great team they once were so that Danny Ric and Norris can fight for wins and championships…

    PS: Ferrari are going for a clear No.1 / No.2 match up with Leclerc and Sainz

    1. Lord hear our prayer @black

    2. I am not sure that Leclerc is going to be directly the number 2 driver, give the young man a chance!

  9. The only thing that justifies picking Carlos Sainz jr over Ricciardo for me, is that in Ferrari they are very confident that they have the fastest car for upcoming seasons and Sainz will be a wingman à la Bottas for Leclerc. A good strategy that only Mercedes AMG can afford.
    The other thing is maybe the people that choose the drivers in Ferrari follow closely RaceFans annual drivers ranking :)

    1. If they were confident they had the fastest car @tifoso1989 then would Vettel have left?

      1. @fletch
        I have been sarcastic with regard to Ferrari having the fastest car, on the other hand Vettel need a car at his like so that he can thrive. Last year’s car was a race winning car and Vettel struggled with it and was gifted the win on Singapore thanks to Ferrari strategy.

    2. @tifoso1989
      A good strategy only if Leclerc proves to be a reliable first driver, quick on EVERY track and condition.
      Ricciardo knows how to win.
      It may be a costly mistake for Ferrari to let him go.

    3. The other way around, as they are getting destroyed by Merc and know they don’t have the car, Ferrari needs better drivers to try to make it up. Drivers that have hunger and are young enough to not be rushing things because of their age, something that would happen with an obsessed Ricciardo who only talks about thinking of a WDC.

      1. @heming49
        Sainz – with all my respects – doesn’t belong to the elite F1 drivers group that can actually make the difference. The guy is a bit overrated and seems to believe in his own hype. He’s somehow a fast Paul Di Resta despite the fact he still didn’t achieve anything in F1.

        Ricciardo is indeed a race winner and more existing driver in general who is actually very good race craft wise and unique with his late breaking overtaking manoeuvres trademark. He’s the best “thief” in the pack after Alonso has retired.

        BTW I don’t know why you are trying to make Dan look like a 70 year old man. F1 drivers normally reach their peak around the age of 30. Hamilton & Alonso are prime examples of how drivers can improve after turning 30. Certainly nothing has changed with their natural ability and skills, however they become more mature and efficient with the strategy, wheel to wheel, tyre management, overtaking…

        As @balue said

        the positive is that the Sainz hypetrain will finally come to a crashing halt..

        I myself would expect him to be at least 6 tenths slower than Leclerc for the first part of the season.

        1. I am sorry to hear that you came here to give your opinion and you don’t even watch F1. Paul Di Resta LOL. The thing is that the two most successful teams in F1 history are fighting over Sainz like Renault and RB did in 2016/17 and you think he is not an elite driver. Maybe you are missing something mate. Ricciardo was good at race craft before mid-2018, since then he has not done anything special whereas Sainz shined every weekend of 2019. Maybe Ricciardo is at his peak bc being 30, you are right, the thing is that it is better to have a 25 yo than a 30, especially if you need 3-4 more years to win championships.

  10. There’s a helluva lot of assumption going on here.

    I cannot see anyone other than Hamilton in the Ferrari seat, on a 2yr deal before he calls it quits.
    After that, Sianz may get a look in, but that depends on what happens with Giovinazzi & possibly Mick Schumacher.

    Ferrari already have Leclerc, why would they opt for another “young” driver when they can have an experienced driver with 6(7) titles?
    And with their young driver programme feeding talent through, why would they consider a young driver from outside that programme? At best they need a 2 year window to assess Schumacher … and they won’t want to risk losing him if they can’t give him a seat when he’s knocking at the door.

    Driving for Ferrari will be an unticked box for Lewis too … an opportunity he’d jump at given half a chance. He’d probably want that even more than yet another title, especially if he gets #7 in 2020.
    And he gives Ferrari the shorter term deal it is probably looking for alongside Leclerc’s 5yr deal.
    Plus Lewis is out of contract at the end of 2020 anyway.

    1. If you’re not seeing anyone other you should visit the optometrist ;-)
      More serious: he is in the best position to beat all records. It is the team with the proven track record, he has a good idea about the competitiveness of the new car (looking proper fast in testing), the team even got him a rear gunner in the other seat. All while being paid handsomely. The red team didn’t look that good in testing (understatement). That is just suspicion, but very plausible because if their car would be a winner, would Vettel have left? I strongly doubt that. Ferrari have a track record of stuffing solid chances of winning and he will join a very very eager teammate who has a record of letting the elbows out with his team’mate’ (I agree 2 were to blame, but still).

      I cannot see him going there under these circumstances.

    2. Elkann approched Hamilton and he refused.
      He is committed to challenge outright records and Mercedes is his best option to do so + Ferrari is already linked with a long time bond to Leclerc.

  11. I’ll believe these once they become official. If and when that happens.

  12. This might be great news for McLaren.

  13. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    13th May 2020, 13:04

    Loved Sainz at Mclaren but not that sad to see him go. Great racer who i’d love to see do well.

    Norris and Ricciardo is a dream pairing for me, both on and off the track. I think if Mclaren produce a good car, then they’ll be at the sharp end of the grid for sure.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      13th May 2020, 15:25

      It’s an absolute dream pairing for McLaren’s marketing department!

      1. Paul (@frankjaeger)
        13th May 2020, 23:31

        My thoughts exactly

  14. On a completely another scenario… Vettel looks like he’ll probably retire at the end of the year.
    But he is just 32 years old, sure no youngster but far from too old for F1. Hamilton whose at his peak is 35, Alonso whose name just keeps popping up every time a vacant seat appears is 38, Kimi before the end of this season will be 41!!

    I mean i wouldn’t completely rule out that in 2-3 years time, after he has thought more about life in/out of F1 and when the drivers market has shifted once again, he’ll make a surprising comeback in say Hamilton’s or Verstappen’s seat if someone of them retires/moves to another team. It’s not unprecedented after all… Kimi did it, Schumacher did it.

    1. dammit autocorrect, who is*

    2. @black But, Kimi did it in his early(ish)-30s, so not entirely comparable here.

      1. @jerejj Barely. Kimi returned when he was 32 and continues to race up to this day, 40 years old. Vettel could return in 3 years when he’ll be 35, and he’ll still be the same age Hamilton is right now. And Hamilton at 35 years old is undoubtedly the man to beat and it’s expected he’ll continue for another 2-3 years.

  15. Hope this is true – Sainz deserves a shot at a game-winning car. Ricciardo? He’s had his chances and I think showed himself to be very good but not quite at the top level. If he didn’t have a media-friendly attitude would people here rate him so highly? I don’t think so. Still, if he goes to McLaren it’ll be good for both him and the team – seems like a much more relaxed environment at McLaren now, hopefully they can keep up their progress.

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      13th May 2020, 20:02

      @tflb Ricciardo utterly destroyed Vettel in 2014. Vettel finished only 3 races in front of Ricciardo!

      Sainz beat a rookie. Quite often by barging past him with force at the start.

      Sainz was incredibly toxic at STR. That would not be good for Leclerc and seeing how Ferrari went all out on their believe that Leclerc is their hero, I doubt they want someone who could ruin the situation.

      1. @f1osaurus Yes I know he destroyed Vettel, but then I never rated Vettel so not really surprised. But before then he never particularly shone against Vergne, and after that was not as superior to Kvyat as he was to Vettel and was outshone by Verstappen. I’m not saying he’s not a really good driver, but I’ve seen what he can do in a race-winning car, and I think Sainz deserves the opportunity to do the same, and it is my personal belief he will be better.

        Not sure about the whole ‘Sainz being toxic’ thing – have never seen anything convincing about toxicity at STR. In his shoes, having worked well with his teammate earlier in the season only to have him them refuse to cooperate when the tables were turned, I’d have been annoyed as well… From everything I heard about STR that year it was serial criminal and convicted thug Jos Verstappen who was the toxic influence. Anyway, Sainz proved last year that he can have a friendly competitive rivalry within a team – Mclaren seemed like a happy place to be.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          14th May 2020, 9:40

          @tflb Ricciardo was on par with Verstappen. Only the last few races (after Red Bull said they would be 1200% behind Verstappen) did Ricciardo start losing to him more consistently. In fact he hardly finished a race after that announcement, because his car kept breaking down. Clearly showing they didn’t support his side of the garage at all anymore.’

          Ricciardo had just as many wins and poles as Verstappen.

          It was quit clear Sainz could not deal with Verstappen being the better driver and constantly getting the spotlight. This resulted in plenty of temper tantrums behind the scenes. True also from Jos, but mostly from Sainz’s side (including his family).

          It’s one of the reasons Marko wanted them to be apart.

      2. Stop living in the past. Ricciardo did a good season SIX years ago with a driver that was leaving the team. Then got beaten by Kvyat and Max and only overcame a now retired driver. Sainz beat Verstappen, Kvyat himself and now the F3 champion and F2 vice-champion, not a rookie. Sainz was the opposite of toxic when Verstappens (plural) were in STR and RB.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          14th May 2020, 9:33

          @heming49 Stop looking only at the scoreboard. Ricciardo did not get beaten by Kvyat. Kvyat scored more points, but Ricciard was clearly a better driver by miles. Just more technical issues and indeed perhaps too much risk taking, which made sense since they couldn;t win anything with playing safe anyway

          Ricciardo beat Verstappen for 2 and a half season. Then only when Red Bull decided to put themselves behind Verstappen completely did Riccardo start losing out. Massively impacted by technical issues too.

          Sainz was ridiculously toxic. If you pretend otherwise you are clearly just trolling.

  16. Ferrari: Sainz
    Mc laren: Ricciardo
    Renault: Hulkenberg/Gasley/Vandoorne/de Vries
    Alpha tauri: Dan Ticktum/ Sergio Sete Camara

    1. @Abrams25 I doubt about Vandoorne and Hulkenberg, while Ticktum in Alpha Tauri definitely isn’t going to happen, LOL.

      1. I would enjoy seeing Vandoorne at Renault. He deserves another chance.

    2. W (@vishnusxdx)
      13th May 2020, 15:41

      Vandoorne wil not give up that sweet Mercedes factory seat in F:E, for as long as Mercedes will be a factory team.

  17. First of all, it seems as if people’s dream of getting a Norris-Ricciardo partnership has finally come true. Without a doubt going to be the most entertaining partnership (maybe on-track, but definitely off-track). However, if I was Ferrari, I would be slightly worried about Sainz’s performances in qualifying. Last season, he drew 10-10 with a rookie with a lower average grid position, and since it’s going to be Lando’s 2nd season in F1, I would probably expect him to edge it this season. We’ve seen how much of a step up drivers generally make in qualifying from their 1st to 2nd year. Vettel, Perez, Verstappen, Ocon (2nd full season), Leclerc etc. improved considerably on Saturdays from their 1st to 2nd year. And how would it look if Ferrari were to sign the slower McLaren driver?

  18. My 2021 grid predictions:

    Mercedes: Hamilton & Russell
    Ferrari: Leclerc & Sainz
    Red Bull: Verstappen & Albon
    McLaren: Ricciardo & Norris
    Renault: Ocon & Bottas
    Racing Point: Perez & Stroll
    Alfa Romeo: Hulkenberg & Giovinazzi
    Alpha Tauri: Kvyat & Sette Camara
    Haas: Magnussen & Grosjean
    Williams: Latifi & Aitken

    1. Correction: Alpha Tauri: Kvyat & Gasly

      Originally had Gasly moving to Renault perhaps.

    2. @mashiat I expect Mercedes to keep on keeping the current line-up once again.

      1. @jere I do too, but I’m being optimistic. Russell may not fare much better than Bottas, but it would be nice to have a change.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          14th May 2020, 11:57


          But you haven’t seen this season start yet! We could be in for a change, you never know. Some may be against me for this, But Hamilton is very unlikely to be getting better now. I think Bottas still has room for slight improvements, and If anything, Hamilton may not perform quite as impressively as he has done in the past few years. So if anything, I expect there could be a chance that it will be closer between them this year.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        13th May 2020, 17:58

        It all depends if Mercedes pander to Hamilton, who I’m sure wants a driver he knows he can easily beat in the 2nd car or whether they think about their own future. As things stand they don’t have a long-term replacement for Hamilton. If they view Russell as that person, they need to get him in the car sooner rather than later.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          13th May 2020, 20:04

          @petebaldwin What nonsense again. Hamilton dealt with Alonso and Rosberg. He wouldn’t relish another toxic driver like that as a team mate perhaps, but Russel is far from toxic.

    3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      13th May 2020, 14:29

      I see Robert Shwartzman taking a seat at Alfa

      1. @fullcoursecaution I was contemplating it, but Ferrari might want him to stay in F2 for 2 seasons (unless he wins the WDC) and have a simulator role first.

    4. Plausible, but I see Kimi going for a final season with Alfa Romeo as they wait for Schumacher Jr. next year. Or at least that seems much more likely than Hulkenberg again, though I’ve noticed he’s a fan favorite in these predictions.

  19. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    13th May 2020, 13:46

    Still don’t see why either Ricciardo or Sainz would want that seat when it’s obvious that Ferrari are prioritising Leclerc. I imagine both of them want to win races and ideally titles but knowing you’re going into a team that’s already heavily skewed one way to push out a multiple world champion… I dunno. Like going to Red Bull or Mercedes and expecting to have 100% equal treatment compared to Hamilton or Verstappen, knowing full well the team is going to back them harder than whoever’s in the other seat. Whoever ends up in that seat there’s going to be a lot of ‘Leclerc is faster than you’ going on.

    1. @rocketpanda Mercedes has given equal treatment to both drivers, though. Bottas just hasn’t (yet) been able to match his teammate over a season.

      1. @jerejj Bottas is out of a contract after this season as well. And if Ferrari wants an affordable, clear nr. 2 driver who can pick up a win or two, then Bottas is the proven quantity over Sainz for me.

        Heck, even Perez is a more proven quantity then Sainz to be a stable, consistent, clear nr. 2 and we know he gets podiums when the opportunity arises in a Force India, so in a Ferrari, he will be able to win the odd race as well.

        Sainz did beat Verstappen in qualifying and equalled him on Sundays, yes, but they were both rookies then. He wasn’t too impressive at Renault imho and then had a very good year at McLaren, but he also had a rookie teammate. To me, Carlos just has not yet proven to be Ferrari worthy yet. Then again, I guess the proof is in the pudding.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        13th May 2020, 18:03

        They’ve given him equal treatment but Mercedes have been very deliberate about signing a driver who isn’t as good as Hamilton to keep them naturally separated on track. If Bottas quit the sport today, I imagine Mercedes would bring in Russell. If Hamilton quit the sport today, there is no chance they’d go with a lineup of Russell and Bottas.

      3. @jerejj

        Mercedes has given equal treatment to both drivers

        Keep telling that to yourself. Giving equal treatment to both drivers means that no team orders would interfere whenever they are racing each other. How many times have we seen Bottas gave up his position to Hamilton or being sacrificed to slow down the competition in order for Hamilton to under cut.
        Mercedes have all the rights on using Bottas (a driver with no personality and zero ambition) as a wing-man and giving Hamilton the n°1 status, however they should be more honest about it. It’s not a crime to prioritize a driver over another one especially if the gap between the two is so big like it’s the case with Hamilton and Bottas.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          13th May 2020, 20:10

          @tifoso1989 “How many times have we seen Bottas gave up his position”

          Hardly ever! I would say only twice and then only when Bottas was already out of contention anyway.

          And they did this once more in Hungary. That was so Hamilton could attempt an overtake, but after that was proven impossible, Hamilton gave the position back!!! With great risk to his own position with Verstappen close behind Bottas. So if anything that was proof that they are treating them absolutely equal.

          They let Hamilton fight for the position for almost the whole season. He had to fight Bottas (hard) in Silverstone and in Austria (they wouldn’t even allow Hamilton an attacking strategy choice), they even let Bottas get ahead of Hamilton in Monza.

          Clearly nonsense to pretend that they treat Bottas like Ferrari treated Leclerc (until it was clear that Leclerc was the better driver) and Raikkonen. Both Leclerc and Raikkonen had to give up positions even from the start of the season and almost always had their strategy compromised to aid Vettel.

        2. @tifoso1989 Only when he was already considerably behind in points, which is normal in any team.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            14th May 2020, 12:05


            Bahrain 2017 was obviously at the start of the season and Bottas was forced to let Hamilton by. Even in Russia last year, Hamilton was so far ahead championship wise that it was simply irrelevant for them to let Hamilton through as it will have helped Hamilton less than Bottas staying there would have helped himself. And by doing that team order, Bottas was 5th in the championship, not 3rd. They only normally effect Bottas’s races if it will clearly benefit Hamilton and the teams total points that weekend. But the two I mention really were not needed.

          2. @thegianthogweed Hamilton was ahead of him throughout last year’s Russian GP, never behind, so no need to do anything there.

          3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            14th May 2020, 13:41

            Sorry for that, I meant 2018. That certainly was a race Bottas should have been allowed to win.

    2. That is the one reason I see Sainz as a likelier/better choice than Riccardo, who already gad that at Red Bull; I guess Sainz too at STR, and a doubt is how hw too let that get out of hand enough that Verstappen didn’t want him in RB, but he is still young enough to make it more of a chance and less the risk in going to Ferrari.

      1. Leclerc is a much different animal than Max and Ferrari know it. I can’t see either of Sainz or Ric being particularly bad team-mates – disobeying team orders when they’re made – or crashing into each other without reason (Baku dummy = spat) but I could see Ricciardo taking grid slots, points and wins off Leclerc more often than Sainz.

  20. Alonso to Renault then.

    1. @vjanik He had his time in F1.

      1. So did Schumi

        1. @vjanik Fair point.

          1. If one guy makes a horrible mistake, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for another guy to do the same…

  21. wow the renault project has failed before I could even begin to bother

  22. Strange decision. I thought Ricciardo is a shoe-in for this. He has gone toe-to-toe with Max for almost 3 full years and held his own for at least 2.5 years out of them. He is probably one of the fairest when it comes to wheel-to-wheel racing (with team-mates as well as other drivers), equal to only Hamilton in that aspect.

    Comparing him to his direct competition,
    1) Ricciardo bettered Hulkenburg in their 1st year (while having 2 more retirements), Sainz couldn’t better Hulkenburg inspite of having 5 extra finishes in 2018!!
    2) In 2019, Ricciardo beat Hulkeburg 14-7 in qualifying. In 2019, Sainz was tied with a rookie 10-10 in qualifying.

    How much higher is Ricciardo really charging compared to other drivers? His move to Renault made sense, it made him the best Renault engined driver and in the factory team. He is now thinking of Mclaren, back to customer team? That move will work out only if Mercedes leaves the sport and Lewis retires. May be he knows something!!

    1. Ricciardo isn’t a clear nr. 2 to Leclerc and wouldn’t want to accept a nr. 2 status I reckon. He’s also very expensive and getting a bit old.

      1. Agree all points (except age) about Ricciardo.

        But does Ferrari think they need a clear no.2. If so, that is a very wrong choice to make. Leclerc is good, but he is not that good. Ferrari needs a strong driver in the other cockpit (similar to Massa-Raikkonen time) who will give his best, stay clean throughout the season and won’t mind giving support to the other driver towards the end of the season

    2. The Hulk comparison makes no sense at all. Compare them with a driver that actually has a drive in the F1 grid for 2020, like Kvyat. Kvyat got more points than Danny Ric and then got destroyed by Sainz. You are right when you say how good Ricciardo is in wheel-to-wheel. Well, he was. I’ve not seen him shining in a F1 track since mid-2018 more or less. I’ve seen him made silly mistakes like Baku 2018 or Australia or Mexico 2019, something that Ferrari can’t afford and that Sainz did not make in 5 years of F1.

  23. I feel disappointed for Daniel because I am not sure he is ever going to get a seat back in a top team now. I can see why Ferrari appear to be choosing Sainz but personally I think he has always been a bit overrated. I imagine it is down to what they will need to pay him and their view that he might be more willing to play second fiddle to Leclerc. He seems to be their new chosen team leader.

    I think it would be a mistake for Ferrari not to go with Daniel as I think he would have given them the best chance of winning the Constructors championship. As for Daniel himself I guess he might go to McLaren. However, I cannot see that this is going to improve the future greatly for him. They are going to swap engine supplier next year but I expect this will mean they are not going to become any more competitive, relatively for a couple of years. He could stay at Renault but that’s not working out too well so far and I doubt their long term commitment to F1 as a team.

    If Daniel does leave Renault I could see Vettel going there. This seems to be his only real option or McLaren of course if Daniel stays.

    1. @phil-f1-21 I’m pretty excited by the possibility of Danny going to McLaren. More so than I am about him staying at Renault. I think MCL are a team moving in the right direction with the right amount of commitment to winning. Additionally I see him and Lando getting on extremely well, at least until they find themselves fighting for podiums. With the long term spending limits that will come into play I think that will only accelerate MCL move back to competing for wins. I hope it happens.

  24. Electroball76
    13th May 2020, 14:44

    So really, Leclerc is replacing Vettel, and Sainz is replacing Kimi.
    It’s an exciting young paring.

  25. Vettel to Mercedes in place of Bottas, and Bottas to Renault alongside Ocon would be a dream. We get a few years of two of our previous generation’s juggernauts duking it out while trying to keep the up and comers at bay in the outgoing Mercedes team. Toto Wolf gets both his two upstarts in a factory team, Ricciardo gets a Mercedes engine. Everybody’s happy. Please let this happen.

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      13th May 2020, 20:11

      @im-a-kobe Vettel had the better car in 2018 and he was completely blown away by Hamilton. I doubt Vettel would be able to beat Bottas. He couldn’t even beat a rookie like Leclerc.

  26. After Mercedes bad experience with 7x out-of-retirement Schumacher, I doubt they will pay large amounts to Vettel.

    But I would enjoy to see the developments of a HAM/VET pairing at Mercedes, for sure. I can see Bottas to Renault if Wolff gives him a signal to do so.

    The RIC/SAI, If confirmed, leaves Renault without a engine customer and without a pilot. If you watched Drive to Survive 2018 season you know what I am talking about. Horner X Abiteboul…

    1. Ricciardo entered F1 with HRT.

    2. Bad experience with Schumacher, who are you trying to cheat my friend?? Mercedes evolution since they signed Schumacher was stratospheric, and become the world champions, we already know. So hey! yes was a failure, they won all the championships since then!! He brought wins to Mercedes, fame, and a base for the future. So yes a total failure f. cl.wn

      1. alex, Ross Brawn has stated that quite a bit of the success that the team had came because Mercedes spent several years building the team back up after the team had to cut most of its staff in 2009 in order to keep Brawn running for as long as it did.

        Schumacher’s own personal physician, Dr Johannes Peil, also confirmed back in 2010 that Schumacher had permanent damage to his neck after he crashed his motorbike. In his own words, he stated that Schumacher had “serious rotation movement problems between the head and neck” and that he was trying to implement a regime of “muscular compensation”, where he was trying to help the muscles around the permanently damaged area to develop to try and compensate for the damage that had been caused.

        In fact, in many ways Schumacher was lucky to even be alive, considering that Peil confirmed that Schumacher suffered pretty extreme injuries – a basal skull fracture that would have killed most people and damage to his 7th vertebrae, along with cranial bleeding due to one artery being severed and a second badly damaged and severe concussion. Mark Hughes also reported that he had received reports that reported that those movement issues were also linked to permanent damage to Schumacher’s nervous system, and that there had also been damage to his inner ear.

        At the very least, the injuries that Peil reported in relation to the muscular damage to Schumacher’s neck indicates that Schumacher was physically impaired when he was at Mercedes, and therefore physically incapable of the sort of performance that he could have managed before that accident. In that respect, Mercedes were not getting the full value they could have out of Schumacher given that he was physically impaired and therefore had a permanently lowered performance envelope.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          13th May 2020, 20:12

          Excuses excuses

          1. @f1osaurus I don’t really understand what point you are trying to make there.

            The point to alex was that his rambling post about how wonderful Schumacher was for Mercedes should really be tempered against the fact that Schumacher really wasn’t operating as best he could because he had suffered from quite significant injuries (much more significant than was admitted at the time).

            As an aside, going “Excuses excuses” comes across as rather petty and immature. To put it bluntly, when you look at the more detailed medical report that was given at the time, or the (pretty horrific) photographic evidence from the track of the violence with which Schumacher landed on his head and the length of time he was receiving intensive medical treatment at the side of the track, your comment comes across as mocking somebody for nearly being killed in a fatal accident and suffering from permanent skeletal muscular damage afterwards.

    3. It’s another big can of worms to open but I think people give Schumacher’s return insufficient respect. He came up short against the man who won a title over Hamilton and who beat everyone else he came up against, and in a car with very problematic characteristics, eating up tires after a few laps, etc. But as to the main point, there is no reason to think that Vettel is past his prime, by comparison to others or otherwise. I don’t know where this idea that drivers lose their edge in F! at age X comes from. From Mansell to Fangio and more F1 history is replete with outstanding old-timers.

      1. Thanks anon for the details on that bike crash. I remember it was somewhat serious but not at that level.

  27. And just when we were about to ‘confirm’ the Ricciardo to McLaren move with Vettel graciously retiring…
    Auto Bild Motorsport reports that Vettel will sign for McLaren after he agreed with Seidl for a 1+1 year contract ‘to build his own team there’, with Sainz going to Ferrari…


    1. McLaren or retirement for Vettel, I guess. I do not see him going to Renault. Maybe a seat swap with Hamilton, but minimal chance of that happening.

    2. I wonder how he’s going to fare in Dakar.

      1. Hah, first he’d have to do WEC and Indianapolis.


      I don’t mind Vettel but certainly don’t want him in McLaren!

    4. Auto Bild have backtracked and now say Vettel will wait for Mercedes or retire.

  28. Glad to see that so many can’t miss an opportunity to cry over what Lewis and Mercedes have done, are doing or will be doing in the future. Maybe as an experiment RF should post an article espousing the virtues of space travel just to see how creative the comments can get.

  29. For me Ferrari should get try to get Hamilton the swing of power between Ferrari and Mercedes will be enormous, also Leclerc is 12 years younger so there will not much overlapping in their careers.
    Second choice would be Perez. There is a tenacity in him and is never afraid to get his elbows out. Fast, experienced and there is always the motivation of a grand prix victory which Ferrari will most certainly provide.
    As for the 2 likely contenders I would prefer Ricciardo over Sainz and the only reason it is not a top choice is that Hamilton is the best way to destibilise Merc and Perez would be a better match with Leclerc.

  30. Bottle out, Vettel in.

    1. Oops, Bottas out.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        13th May 2020, 20:14

        Why? Vettel isn’t any better than Bottas. Bottas at least generally makes it to the end of the race without driving into someone.

  31. I would love to see Rosberg jump into that Ferrari and renew his rivalry with Hamilton. I know it won’t happen, but if this were the movie it would be perfect. He can’t seem to stay away from the paddock despite his claim he needed to become a full time family man, so let him suit up.

  32. As a Ferrari fan I’m disappointed if this is true. The only driver I want to see replace Seb is Danny Ric.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Sainz and think he has flown under the radar for a lot of his F1 career but DR is both proven and marketable.

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      13th May 2020, 20:19

      @asanator I know right. Why can’t they see the enormous potential of Ricciardo. He utterly trashed Vettel in 2014. Not just a little bit like Leclerc, but Ricciardo had total domination over Vettel all season long.

      Besides. Leclerc really needs someone with experience. He clearly needed Vettel around to teach him where he needed to improve. He’s still not able to extract both a good Q3 lap and then also a good race pace from his car. I doubt Sainz can give him that. I doubt Sainz will give Leclerc anything. Or perhaps trouble. Like the toxic situation he had with Verstappen when he was so jealous of Verstappen’s glory.

  33. Vettel’s humor will be missed duringvthr drivers interviews.

  34. Right decision, and the one I was expecting from the beginning. I told you last week, Carlos is the one! He’s clever, young, fast and a very good team worker. Sorry for RIC, but he left RBR and he lost an important part of his credibility…

  35. ha ha, i hope RIC joins mclaren. would love to see cyril run renault to wins now.. he has no one to drive the car to victory even in the even that it is capable of winning… lol

    karma b…

    1. https://dai.ly/x7tvtcq
      Ted said it’s possible

  36. I’m guessing the Ferrari / Vettel split and lack of a mutual vision was Ferrari telling Vettel he would no longer be treated as the clear #1, or they would not put that into a new contract. Given Leclerc’s potential.

    I’m seeing Vettel retire to focus on his family. He has nothing left to achieve that can still be achieved, as Hamilton will likely surpass Schumacher, not Vettel.

    I’m hoping Ricciardo goes to McLaren and not Vettel, although that means when I go to Melbourne in my McLaren kit people will assume that’s because I’m an Aussie, not a McLaren fan. That mixed with Verstappen fans means a lot of orange in Melbourne 2021!

Comments are closed.